Making memories…

I am currently on holiday with my little girls and with it being the last holiday before my eldest daughter starts school, I am focused even more than ever on cherishing every minute and making memories as a family. Of course, there will be plenty more opportunities to do this throughout their childhood, this feels like a momentous moment before one of my eldest’s first big milestones in life.

For my girls, this week marks more cherished moments together as well as a family. I love nothing more than seeing the smiles on their faces, hearing them giggling and seeing how carefree and happy they are. They are both still so innocent and that is priceless.

Sometimes I wish I could record every moment of their lives so that I could remember every moment because it goes so fast. They are both growing up so quickly and becoming unique individuals.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just press pause sometimes to hold on to the here and now?!

Being away gives us the chance to fully embrace time together without all the distractions of everyday life from the phone calls to the washing up, washing, shopping, cooking, cleaning…the list goes on.

I know I say ‘in a minute’ or ‘Mummy’s busy’ far too often to my girls when I am trying to prepare tea and put the washing out and wash up all at the same time or similar daily chores.

However, I can’t beat myself up about it because I also know how much quality time my girls do get with me. Not a night goes by without me reading them a bedtime story, singing to them, and giving them oodles of cuddles and love.

You can’t put a price on the love you feel as a mother and being able to have time away with them is incredibly special.

Despite taking some photo’s, I’ve not taken 1000’s because it’s also been nice to not have to carry my phone with me all the time and instead of taking photos to capture our holiday and memories, having the memories just for myself.

Making memories with those that you love and treasure …is incredibly precious. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg or involve anything extravagant, just spending time doing something fun together is all that matters.

Some of the best memories so far this week have included going on adventures without clock watching and being able to fully embrace those moments, whilst having both girls holding my hands, knowing that it won’t be that long in the scheme of things before they won’t want to hold my hand anymore.

Having people in your life that you can laugh with, be silly with, have fun with and share a hug with are those that matter most!

I can’t remember the last time I was able to take the girls away on my own for a week, it was definitely pre-Covid!

So far, it has been amazing, we have made lots of memories and I am looking forward to more holidays with the most precious little people in my world!

Birthday fairy!

This week has been a busy one, full of adventures, running around like a headless chicken and trying to keep my Mary Poppins persona always going! (As I write this I am smiling and wondering if I maybe expect too much from myself?!)

My youngest daughter turned 3 last week, I do not know how that happened! She will always be my baby (mind you, both my girls are) but she is quickly turning into a little girl with a personality full of love, life, cheekiness, feistiness, and giggles! As you may know from reading an earlier post, at times I have struggled with my youngest daughter but not anymore. Of course, there are times when she can be challenging (as with all children) but now I find it easier as I recognise that she takes after her Mummy! I certainly do not want her to lose that feistiness, stubbornness, or zest for life! She is certainly far braver than I am, but I love that about her – although having said that, when we went to Sundown Adventureland as part of her birthday, I was surprised that she was not too keen on the rides especially the water ride that sprayed water on you – whereas Mummy loved it and would have happily gone on it again! Saying that, my eldest (and myself) loved the Christmas ride and after much persuasion we managed to convince my youngest to let us have a second ride!

Both my daughters believe in the birthday fairy (which I am aware, may be hard to keep up for the entirety of their childhood!) which is lovely although not always easy as surprise surprise…. I am the birthday fairy! Shhhh…don’t tell anyone!! So, the birthday fairy buys presents and wraps them up, this year she also made both girls a princess dress (because I do not have enough to do!!), organise and prepare party games including pass the parcels which includes a small sweet/chocolate in every layer, and source party food in secret and a cake. Then the night before when the girls are in bed, she has to secretly bring down the presents and decorate the house with banners and balloons. This year she had a bit of a cold so instead of blowing up 58,000 balloons she used a hand pump, by the time she had pumped them all up she felt as though her arm was going to fall off or that she would wake up with one arm looking like Popeye!!

It is wonderful to see children’s imagination and seeing the world through their eyes is amazing.

It made me smile when we woke up on her birthday and I said happy birthday and she said, ‘Happy birthday Mummy’. She knew it was her birthday though and she was very excited but the thing she likes most to begin with was playing with all the balloons – never mind the presents! It was her sister that wanted her to open the presents rather than play with balloons. However, she soon got into it and unlike last year when she soon tired of unwrapping presents this year, she happily ripped the paper off them and enjoyed playing with her presents. It was far too hot to play musical statues, but she still managed to convince my mum to do the leg dance to How Will You Know by Whitney Houston!

Then we spent an amazing day with my best friend and her little girls at the seaside and they all happily played in the sea for hours. I loved seeing them all so happy and my little one was more than happy to get covered in sand and found it funny when the sea decided to invade our picnic which meant we all got wet!! It was safe to say that we probably brought more sand home with us than at the beach and we were finding sand everywhere! We made so many happy memories and it was much needed to be able to relax, giggle and feel myself without judgement. We sat and put the world to rights and gave each other a much-needed boost as we both can be a little harsh on ourselves. (One example is that I aim to post 2 blogs every week but having spent the week running around and not having a minute to myself as well as feeling a little run down I decided I should not beat myself up because I hadn’t managed to do that this week).

I felt a little emotional on her birthday, partly because it was so hot, and we could not do an awful lot as we were all struggling and also reminiscing about how many people appeared to care when she was born and in the first few months of her life but that most of them have disappeared. Of course, I blamed myself for that as I do not have a big family or a lot of friends and my girls are so amazing, they deserve all the love in the world. However, on reflection I know that it is not quantity that matters its quality and that those people who have disappeared must be false and therefore not worthy of being in their lives. There are too many false people in the world as it is, and I would much rather my girls be surrounded with genuine people who love and care about them no matter what.

As I write this, I am still surrounded by balloons which of course I will not get rid of until the weekend as I grew up with birthdays being celebrated for a week (meaning that we kept cards, banners, balloons up etc).

Sometimes I wish I could press a pause button so that they stopped growing up for a bit as it goes so fast, having said that, everyday is a new adventure with them.

‘Wine flu’

I know I am a lightweight when it comes to alcohol and that after a drink or two I am a little merry and tipsy, which usually results in me becoming giggly and sometimes flirtatious! I don’t often drink and when I do, it’s often just the one (so I’m definitely a cheap date!). 

However, last weekend I finally had the opportunity to celebrate passing my first year of my counselling training, and I was treated to a bottle of bubbly! The last time I drank champagne was on my 21st birthday, so it’s been a year or two!!!! It’s fair to say it went down very easily! The trouble is I’d not eaten a great deal, so it probably went to my head even more quickly than usual.

It felt really good to finally celebrate, though, as things haven’t been easy and at times it’s been hard to remain positive. For the first time since the first lockdown I went away for a couple of nights to the beach with my daughters and my Mum and had high hopes of us having a wonderful time as a family and the girls enjoying going to a farm and doing lots of things they’ve not had chance to do in over a year. However, unfortunately my youngest daughter had a sickness bug, and so I didn’t see any of the beach and instead spent the two days stuck in the hotel room. I didn’t even make it down for breakfast or get to paddle in the sea. 

Of course my priority was my daughter, but on the first morning after my Mum went out with my eldest daughter, I remember sitting on the bed crying like a baby whilst my youngest daughter slept in between being sick. I admit that I felt sorry for myself. Not only for missing out on making memories as a family but also having paid for a holiday which is a big deal for me. Then I felt bad for feeling sorry for myself when I reminded myself that there were people far worse off than me and that at least my Mum was able to take my eldest daughter out and that we’re getting to spend some quality time together and that at least I had a window with a view. 

I was also grateful for having my mum with me during the night as, although I would have managed, she helped me cope with looking after my daughter who was sick every hour and at one point I ended up having a funny turn which I think was down to pure exhaustion. On the bright side, I didn’t have to wash all the sheets and towels…although I felt bad about the cleaners having to wash them and left the room as best I could. The 48 hours of sickness felt like a lifetime, and it’s horrible feeling so helpless when your child is ill. Fortunately she’s absolutely fine now. 

Both of my girls have had their fair share of bugs since returning to childcare/pre-school, but from what I can gather a lot of children have as it’s the first time most have mixed in months. Then when we went to stay with family who we’d not seen in months my eldest had an ear infection which was horrible and this led to another weekend of sleepless nights and not being able to make the most of our time away. 

I love my children with all my heart, and they are most definitely my world. They give me strength and hope. They make me so incredibly happy every day, and they are without a doubt my greatest achievement. But I don’t think people admit or talk enough about how bloody hard it is to be a parent, let alone a single parent. I’m so lucky that my daughters are so well-behaved and easy going, but that doesn’t necessarily take away from how hard it can be. 

Being a single mum is a 24/7 job with no breaks. People have joked about work being easier, but I know of parents who’ve chosen to go back to work, not for the one by but for a break!! And that’s OK. At work, you get to have adult conversations and talk about things other than CBeebies or hearing the word ‘Mummy’ every second. You get to wear clothes that don’t resemble a decorators outfit from all the food, paint, snot smears etc. 

You have a reason to brush your hair and wear make up and can actually go to the toilet in peace!!! How amazing is that?! It’s a luxury that so many people take for granted! What I’d give to be able to go to the toilet, lock the door and have a few minutes peace! Instead, even if I manage to sneak off I’ll soon hear footsteps followed by ‘Mummy’ and then I have company. I read an article recently about a mum who locks themselves in the bathroom, so they can have a shower in peace, meanwhile their little one is constantly knocking at the door and shouting for them whilst they stand in the shower crying…crying because they feel guilty and also because it’s so incredibly hard. 

No matter how good children are, it is still hard work. There’s no time for yourself, and all other parents seem to want to talk about us children things. You overhear parents talking and it is sooo dull! It’s like a competition over whose child has eaten more vegetables or whose child was toilet trained the quickest… I can’t think of anything worse! I adore my girls, and I’m so proud of them, but I don’t want to sit with a group of strangers talking about that or to feel I have to compete or have my children judged. 

In fact, don’t get me started with potty training! I remember feeling so pressured and judged with my eldest that I was getting stressed about it! The best advice I was given was that they will do it when they are ready, and it’s so true! What I found most interesting is that children have very little control over their life, but that going to the toilet is pretty much one of the only things they can control. Does it really matter how old they are when they are potty-trained? Does it affect their lives? No! I’m 34, and I can’t tell you when I started using the toilet, and quite frankly I don’t care.

Sometimes I crave to feel like me and not just a Mummy, despite how much I love being a full time mummy. To feel like I can wear clothes that aren’t just for playing around in and have a reason to make an effort. Admittedly, if Mastermind did a category on CBeebies I’m certain I’d score highly!! However, I also need a bit of me time, we all do. 

I’ve learned that in order to be the best that I can be for my girls that I also need to think of myself and take care of myself, which is something I still find hard. Especially when it comes to spending money on myself, as I feel it should all go on them (which it pretty much does).

Starting my counselling training has given me something to focus on that is for myself as well as my girls, and as the world returns to some sort of normality I hope to be able to dip my toe back into life outside of being a mum. Like a lot of parents, I have been mainly stuck at home with my children for more than a year, yes there have been so many amazing experiences, but it’s also been tough. 

So, I nursed my ‘wine flu’ by snuggling on the sofa watching the men’s final of Wimbledon whilst telling myself I wouldn’t get hungover again! (Only time will tell!)