Feeling a Sense of Achievement as a SAHM

Hubs and I were sorting some bits out recently and ticking things off our very long to do list. After making a couple of big purchases I was feeling very pleased and Hubs said “you like spending money don’t you?” To which (a little affronted as generally no I don’t like spending money at all) I replied “No, I just like achieving something and doing something we have wanted to for ages.” It got me thinking about that feeling of achievement and the difference between when you are working to when you are a SAHM.

When you are working, obviously depending on what job you do, there are real targets and you are always working towards something and I guess that sense of achievement is either there, or it is what you are striving for. Be it sales targets, personal development goals or just working hard so you know you can afford to do a specific thing, there is a definite sense of achievement for a job well done.

Reward charts for SAHM's? Hmm maybe not!!

Reward charts for SAHM’s? Hmm maybe not!!

As a SAHM, or SAHD for that matter, it is a lot harder to define. I may feel a sense of achievement when I clean something but it never lasts long as I turn around and it looks as though I may as well have not bothered! Then there are the times where I am focussing on the kids. What have I achieved other than building the perfect den or managing to keep the house relatively paint free while the kids are going loopy with finger paints? I guess that is why people often ask “what do you do all day?” It isn’t necessarily quantifiable or describable. It doesn’t sound like it amounts to much and I often feel as if I haven’t achieved anything, like I should have been doing something more worthwhile than playing.

Now I know what I am doing is worthwhile. What I am achieving, or hoping to achieve is well rounded, happy kids. But that isn’t easy to see on a daily, weekly, monthly even yearly basis. The fruits of my labours and sense of achievement will hopefully come as I watch them grow into adults and can think “I did that.”

But I think that can be one of the more challenging aspects of being a stay at home parent. Which I guess is why I love ticking things off our list of jobs. I crave a more definable achievement. I guess that is why many of us blog, it gives us a place to record our achievements, a community to share with. We encourage each other and remind each other why we do it. That’s not the only reason for blogging obviously as otherwise only stay at home parents would blog and that is of course not the case. I also think it is why many of us are constantly trying to come up with bigger and better playtime ideas for our kids, so we can feel like we have accomplished something or done something worthy.

It may also be why many of us struggle and aim to be the “perfect” parent. Perhaps because we need a goal to aim for? I am obviously writing this from the perspective of a SAHM but with working parents who get that sense of achievement from work… how does it work for you guys? Is it easier? As you get a sense of achievement at work do you put less pressure on yourself at home? Or is it worse because you are used to a sense of achievement at work and you put even more pressure on yourself at home?

I also worry about what will happen when I do eventually return to the world of work. I know that I won’t be content at home full time when the kids are at school. I will be bored with cooking and cleaning (domestic goddess I am not) and I know I will need something else. But I also know I will want to be around before and after school and in the holidays, at the very least while they are at primary school, so what will I do then? And how will I react going back to the world of work? I hope I embrace the challenge but I do feel nervous about going back to work after what will be a very long break. Am I up to it? Or will I feel like a failure, so out of the loop after focussing on my children for so long.

I have a few ideas for what I will want to do, and one in particular. It is just an idea and I am not ready to talk about it publicly yet. It is something I am very interested in but have no experience so would take a lot of study and potentially volunteering and I guess that may gradually ease me in to the world of work. But the thought of working full time again in the future does make me nervous. I can’t really put my finger on why other than the vague feeling that I somehow won’t be good enough. How will I adapt back to a focussed achievement driven world of work after living as a stay at home parent for so long? Only time will tell I suppose and hopefully my experiences at home with the children will help me to be successful in the future.

This post has ambled a little and moved away from what I originally thought I was writing but that is just the way my brain went. Are you a stay at home parent? Will you return to work one day? What are your feelings about it? Do you feel a sense of achievement as a stay at home parent?

And then the fun began...MummascribblesMaternityMondays

Burning Questions

I really enjoyed reading Helen’s post, over at All the Beautiful Things with her burning questions, and ever since I have been coming up with a few of my own. So instead of leaving her the longest comment ever I thought I would steal her idea share them with you here. Hope that’s ok Helen? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that :).

So here they are. My burning questions, things that I will probably never find an answer to, but that are fun to rant about nonetheless!

Where do the laundry capsules go? I hate these things and with every bottle of washing liquid we get one of these… but after one wash they seem to get eaten or go to a mystery world only inhabited by these capsules and miscellaneous socks….. We actually moved onto tablets for a while but the bottles were on offer so we are back with these again for now, driving me potty!

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Sticking with the laundry, why does the fancy digital timer on the washing machine say it takes 1hr 3 but an hr 3 later still says there is around 15 mins to go…. is it a set time or not? I would say maybe it depends on the load but I don’t think it’s that clever as it does it on every wash… Just be honest with me, if it is going to take 1hr 20, just say so!

WP_20150613_10_00_32_ProWhat is the point of crumbs? What purpose do they serve other than to annoy us and make us clean more? I swear I can hoover steam and re-hoover the entire floor only to turn round and crumbs have spontaneously appeared on my immaculate floor. And is it possible to get a slice of bread out without covering the worktop in crumbs? Not in our house apparently!

Dust is another one, what is the point of it? In general I don’t like pointless things. There are many things in this world that I don’t like, but generally I can respect the fact that as part of the grand scheme of things they have a purpose. As an example, spiders. I can’t stand them, but I know that without them we would be overrun with flies etc so can understand that they do serve a purpose, so, no rant about spiders. Flies, on the other hand, what is their purpose? Without them we wouldn’t need spiders… you can see where I am going with this.

In the same vein, Wasps. What is the point in them? Bees make honey, but more importantly, as any “The Bee Movie” fan will know, they make all the plants and trees grow. I do know it is not that clear cut but my point is, Bees, have a purpose. Wasps? Other than to ruin perfectly happy summers days and sting us? I can’t think of one.

If anyone can tell me the point of any of these things by the way, please feel free to do so. I fully acknowledge that I am not the master of all knowledge and am happy to accept that these things have a purpose. It may in fact make me less annoyed to find that they do have a purpose (as with spiders). Anyone? Please?

Another question, why do I lie in the middle of the night torturing myself with horrible scenarios like intruders and dog attacks, trying to think about ways I would protect my kids. is it just a Mum thing, or am I weird? Do you do that?

Like butter wouldn't melt... but is it really an act??

Like butter wouldn’t melt… but is it really an act??

Why is it that whenever I have a fun activity planned with Monkey for during LM’s nap, that that will be the morning when LM refuses to nap and won’t settle. Does she know? It also happens the other way round, when we are going out so don’t mind if she has a shorter nap, she sleeps for hours. I don’t generally prescribe to the idea that babies have got it in for us but sometimes….

Going back a bit, to the subject of crumbs, is there any such thing in the world as a useful bread bin? One that can fit two loaves of bread in (brown and white) not 1 1/2. One that doesn’t spew crumbs everywhere when you open it, or have such a heavy lid that you never actually bother to put the bread into it, meaning that there is bread all over the worktop rather than, you know. In. The. Breadbin?

Why, on the Kids setting of Netflix, is there no option to Play from the beginning? It just resumes, even when you are on the credits. There is a play from the beginning option on the other profiles but not the kids one…. why?

Why does inspiration for blog posts come when I am with the kids, then I can’t remember it later when I have time to blog? You can be sure I will remember it again either in the early hours of the morning or when driving or at some other completely useless time and then I will forget it again!

Why does our baby girl seem to think this is the best position to drink her milk. Love her, but, seriously? Weirdo child.

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I am sure I could go on and on but will leave it there for now. What are your burning questions?

My WOTW this week is questions.

The Reading ResidenceLife with Baby Kicksbrummymummyof2
Mama and MoreAnd then the fun began...

Making some positive changes

Positive changesRegular readers will know that I didn’t have the best week last week… by a long shot. I was feeling lower than I have felt in a long time and couldn’t see what my next step should be I felt I was sinking fast but a bit of a breakdown including much crying, and a very cathartic blog post… and I feel much better.

Friday was a pivotal moment. I got so angry with Monkey about not eating his lunch and really flew off the handle, which just isn’t like me at all. Hubs came home in the midst of this and took Monkey to playgroup, at which point I sat and sobbed as I felt awful. I didn’t like my behaviour at all and I think I knew I couldn’t allow myself to be like that all of the time.

I think it was a bit of a shock for hubs too seeing just how upset and angry I was and he really realised how much I have been struggling recently. Since then my mood has gradually improved and all I can say is that I don’t feel the same. I feel lighter and much more positive.

I have to give a huge thank you at this point to all of you wonderfully supportive readers out there. You have to take a lot of credit for helping me put things in perspective. I am so so grateful for the support of the blogging community and I don’t know where I would be without my blog. The tips, advice and just moral support I received from everyone has buoyed my confidence and helped me move on from the hole I was in.

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Struggling to find a balance

In many ways this week hasn’t been terrible, but in all honesty it hasn’t been great either. I really feel like I am struggling at the moment. Like a hamster in a wheel I am running as fast as I can but I don’t feel like I am getting anywhere. Do you ever feel like that?

I feel like I am spreading myself so thin with looking after both kids, trying to keep on top of everything at home and then with the blog. This ends up with me feeling like I am not doing any of those things very well which makes me feel even worse as I am trying so hard but I am coming up short in all areas.

balance

Sometimes things are ok but all it takes is for one area to get a bit harder and the rest all falls apart.

LM has been really difficult lately and we have realised that it is the return of her reflux issues that is the cause of this. I have no idea why it has returned but she has been so irritable, unhappy and barely napping which has been exhausting. She was arching her back and then she started throwing up, quite frequently. As ever with babies it is guess work as to what is bothering them. Teeth? Tummy? But I had a feeling it was reflux before the throwing up and that convinced me.

So we are back using the infant Gaviscon again and have an appointment with a Dr in a day or two. The Gaviscon is helping but that comes with it’s own challeges as it is a faff getting that into every feed and it is also already slowing down her bowel movements so we will see what the way forward is in a few days.

WP_20150511_08_39_22_ProThe problem really is that I have had to put so much energy into LM that I feel like all the other areas are suffering like crazy. Monkey is sat watching TV or playing on the tablet far too much for my liking, but the alternative is him running around like a loony, climbing on me, questioning me every 5 seconds while I am trying to deal with a whining, wriggling, crying baby, or while I am trying to do some cleaning or put on some washing or just achieve something.

Of course it is not all the time, there are times he is happy playing with his toys by himself. But I hate how much he is in front of the screen and I feel like I am failing him. One of the reasons I am a SAHM is so I can do things with him, help him learn and develop and he is not doing that as much just sat playing on the Cars game on the tablet or watching cbeebies.

Now the Gaviscon is helping LM and she is sleeping more than half an hour at a time again I am trying to refocus my energies on Monkey. To spend a bit more time playing and learning with him. Yesterday we did some painting with different textures and playing with letters and words so that was good but right now he is sat on the tablet as I write this. (Not the whole post, I can never get a post written in one sitting at the mo!)

Because my blog is another area that I just don’t feel I am doing that well with at the moment. On the one hand I feel that it isn’t important so I shouldn’t worry and that there are much more important things I should be doing. But my blog is for me, it is the one thing that is mine and so it is important. I don’t want to give it up as I feel I have a lot to say, but I also don’t feel I can dedicate the time I want to dedicate to it.

I am struggling to find the time to read and comment on as many other posts as I want to. I haven’t replied to any emails from PRs or people who want to contribute in ages. I could spend time on that instead of writing, but I need  to write. I need to share things as it helps me get things off my chest and makes me feel like what I am going through has a purpose. But as a result I am letting opportunities pass me by, because I don’t have the time or energy to devote to doing a good job at any of them.

WP_20150428_11_09_54_ProI also feel like I am failing LM with weaning. I know many people are big fans of baby-led weaning and I wanted to try more of that this time around but honestly there is so much of BLW that I don’t understand, and I have no idea when I am supposed to find the time to learn it, so we are sticking with purees. But even then I feel like I am failing. I want to be doing so much more and introducing her to different textures of finger food as well as making more homemade purees. But I don’t know when I am supposed to have the time to do any of it.

Monkey has always been a fussy eater and I worry that because I can’t find the time to devote to it that LM is going to be fussy too, and that that is going to be my fault. (Pause to sit and sob)

Hubs and I have been trying to do a bit better with the housework too. When the kids are in bed, instead of loading the dishwasher and then just collapsing we are trying to do any washing up that needs doing (instead of leaving it to the next morning) and actually tidy up toys and anything else that needs tidying. We both feel better when the house is tidy so it is a good thing… But also at the end of the witching hour when the kids are both in bed, we are both knackered to be honest and just want to sit.

I don’t know what the solution to any of this is. Hubs is doing as much as he can as he has a demanding job and as soon as he comes in he is pounced on by Monkey and/or handed the baby so I can get on with dinner and it is then full on until bedtime. Mornings are taken in turns to get ready while the other looks after the kids and get bottles made and do jobs then he leaves for work.

I also want to try and do some more exercise but the “when” question is there again. I know people say you have to make time for things but the only way I can make time at the moment would either be by:

a) Not spending any time relaxing in the evening with hubs, which I think is important for my sanity and for our relationship, and is only around an hour a day. Plus it is the only time we actually get to talk about birthdays and holidays and anything else that needs planning or discussion.

b) Sleeping less. But as I am shattered in general I am not sure how less sleep will help anyone?

So I am struggling. Struggling to find a way to balance everything that I need/want to do. For a while I have just been getting on with things and getting more and more snappy and irritable. A conversation with a friend this morning led to me finally admitting just how much I am struggling and breaking down and having a good cry and finally telling hubs everything that is on my mind.

Friends and family are very kind and tell me I am doing a fab job and that I am doing what I need to to cope and that I am not failing. But I just can’t stop feeling like I am failing. At everything. Writing this has been cathertic and I feel lighter for getting it out in the open, but it hasn’t solved anything.

Maybe I am expecting too much for myself or putting too much pressure on myself but that’s just who I am. I always want to try my best and I don’t know how to expect less from myself.

How do you balance everything? Does it get easier as the kids get older?

The Reading Residence MaternityMondaysPost Comment Love

Am I living a Groundhog Day?

At the moment I feeling like my life is like Groundhog Day. I am living the same thing over and over and over every day. Does anyone else ever feel like that? Please be warned that this is quite a moany and definitely rambling post so be warned and feel free to stop reading at any time!

Monkey’s chatter at the moment, is very cute and lovely… but it is also incessant. He just never stops and just jabbers away constantly. When he was younger and was a bit delayed in his speech people used to say to me that there would come a time when I wished he was quiet. Oh how right they were!

It doesn’t help that LM stresses me out a lot at the moment with her teething and lack of sleeping. When she is screaming, moaning or unhappy my tolerance levels for any noise reach zero and I can’t even have a conversation with hubs while she is crying without getting stressed. Monkey’s chattering at these times drives me completely potty and I do sometimes tell him to just be quiet. I feel like an awful parent but my brain just can’t take it! He generally doesn’t listen to me anyway and carries on jabbering away. Occasionally there is a couple of seconds pause, or he whisper shouts instead of normal shouting but mostly he just carries on at normal or shouts even louder to spite me!

He is also massively contrary at the moment. It is worse when he is tired or not feeling himself (we still seem to have a cold continually in our house with at least one of us snotty and grouchy at all times!) when it reaches extreme proportions but he is contrary a lot of the rest of the time too. Reverse psychology is in constant use and even that backfires a lot. Here is an example of a conversation this morning. Me in purple, Monkey in blue

Eat your breakfast please. It’s not breakfast, it’s dinner. (Sigh) Fine, then eat your dinner please. It’s not dinner it’s breakfast. Fine. Just eat it. I don’t want to. Ok then shall Mummy eat it? No I wanted it!

If only that one conversation actually meant that he then ate his breakfast without further chatter and debate! It’s not only food over. We have the same conversations over TV, clothes, activities. Even when he was helping Daddy make biscuits at the weekend ( an activity he loves) he was deliberately arguing against every suggestion Daddy made. Would you like to roll the dough? No I don’t want to. Right I’ll do it then. No I wanted it! …Oh I don’t want to! I have to admit it was a little gratifying when Daddy got stressed out by this as it made me feel like less of a terrible impatient Mother when I get annoyed by it on a daily basis!

WP_20150324_09_57_34_ProIt’s not just Monkey related though. The laundry is doing my head in at the moment. The step up from 3 of us to 4 of us seems to have trebled our washing (I think Muslins take up a huge proportion of that) and it just feels relentless and never ending. No matter how much laundry I seem to do the washing baskets seem to be constantly full! It doesn’t help that LM refuses to sleep when the washing machine is on so it has to be timed to be on when she is awake, and we daren’t put it on at night at risk of it disturbing her. Our sleep is too precious! Then there is the tumble dryer which again is on all the time – a constant ( well I was going to say hum but it is a lot louder than that) rumble(?) in the background which also drives me crazy.

I went on a bit of a subconscious laundry strike last week. I just couldn’t face it and ignored it (which is very unlike me) and well that certainly backfired as of course the piles reached epic proportions! Hubs said later in the week he wished I had said something to him as he could have tried to do it instead, but with it being a subconscious strike, in that I didn’t consciously decide to stop…. I just didn’t do it for a few days.. I hadn’t thought to mention it. Plus mentioning it would have meant actually admitting to myself that I was doing it and would have forced me to stop being so daft and just do some blimming laundry.

Then there’s the constant amount of crumbs on the floor and the never ending hoovering and sweeping that needs doing. (Even seconds after hoovering every inch of the downstairs I see a new crumb or get one stuck to my foot. I swear they reproduce or grow out of thin air!) And the washing up, and cleaning the table, and cleaning bathrooms and windows. Plus of course the formula preparation and the cleaning and sterilising and all of that rigmarole that needs doing every day. Loading and unloading the dishwasher… the list of housework goes on.

Oh and all the nappy changes…. I really wish Monkey was ready for being potty trained. Not that I am looking forward to actually doing the training, I am very much looking forward to him using the toilet rather than needing changes. Changing two of them all day every day makes it feel never ending . He is nearly ready I think and we are laying a lot of the groundwork, but I really don’t want to rush him as I know from friend’s experiences that that only ever makes things harder. In the meantime, all the hand washing and hand sanitiser from the constant nappy changing are making my hands so dry and horrible. I now wear rubber gloves for washing up and leaning, but they aren’t really so good for bottom wiping or bathy time!

My Mother in law said something the other week (about a totally different subject) that really stuck with me. If you can’t change your situation then you have to change your attitude about it. I can’t stop the amount of laundry that needs doing, or stop Monkey being contrary (hopefully he will grow out of that one day) and we have a while to go with nappies as LM is only 5 mths old. So I need to try and change my attitude. As ever with this kind of thing that is a heck of a lot easier said than done but I need to try as I am a bit of a misery guts at the moment.

A lot of it is down to LM’s randomness and continuing lack of routine (despite our best efforts we still have a mix of good days and bad) which makes me grumpy and I haven’t worked out how to manage my time best, when I don’t know what time I am going to have. I am trying to accept that she doesn’t have a routine and not expect to get things done, as that stresses me out when I don’t achieve things. But then I am still getting stressed because I never achieve anything and can’t even plan how to achieve the things I want to because of our lack in routine! It’s a bit of a vicious cycle.

I keep trying to remember how lucky we are, both kids sleep from 7pm at night and she goes through til 530am which is early but not terrible. Monkey sleeps til nearer 7 and he still naps a few days a week, for a good 3 hours at a time so I know how lucky I am with that. I also know that all of this is only temporary but I don’t like feeling like I am wishing away this time. I also realise that as an SAHM at least I don’t have to worry about all of this as well as being at work… but I also get no break from the monotony.

I made a choice to become a SAHM and I don’t regret it as I have loved watching Monkey grow and learn, and I know I will love doing the same with LM too. But it isn’t always easy and I guess that’s my point.. if I have one at all! I told you it was a rambly post! IBut I do feel better for having a bit of a vent so if you have made it this far, thank you for reading :).

And then the fun began...

Two Years as a SAHM…

It’s Monkey’s birthday this week, which also means I have been a SAHM for 2 years. Technically not really as I was obviously on maternity leave to start with and I didn’t 100% decide not to return to work until my time was nearly up. But I have been at home with Monkey for 2 years so I am classing all of that time as SAHM time.

And you know what, I think I’ve come a long way from where I’ve started. I by no means have the whole domestic goddess SAHM thing down, but I think I’ve adjusted pretty well to life away from work. To life revolving around nappies, food, soft play, toys and tidying. With a bit of cooking and baking fun thrown in. (If you would like to read more about how I made my decision to be a SAHM, you can do so here. I have nothing against working mums at all, this is just about my decision.)

Here’s what I have learnt is necessary to survive over the last couple of years.

1 – GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. Sorry to shout but seriously for me the most important thing is to get out of the house. Even if just a walk around the local area. Even if just a walk around a supermarket if it is wet out! A change of scene can work wonders and unless I have some amazing activity planned (and even then to be honest) I try and get out of the house every day. Even if only for a little while. Honestly, it keeps me sane. Most of the time this involves play dates or seeing grandparents or going to a baby group.

2 – Routine. This may just be a me thing as I am a planner by nature, but without the structure of going to work every day and doing things at certain times,  it’s easy to feel a little lost. Obviously there are different opinions about routines for kids, I’m not going to get into that too much but routines work for Monkey and they work for me. We are both happier when we are on routine. I’m not talking strict, down to the minute rules, but a vague plan of rough times, and certain things on certain days. Again I know some people would find this too constricting, but for me, it really, really helps.

3 – It’s not easy and that’s ok. I spent a lot of time early on worrying about trying to be supermum, which I’m not, and actually I don’t think anyone really is. I sometimes feel that being a SAHM isn’t just about looking after your little one, as you suddenly feel that because you’re at home all the time, that you should also take the responsibility for having a spotless house. Unfortunately, at least when little one is a baby or a toddler, it is fricking hard work, if not impossible to keep the house spotless while entertaining/feeding them, and staying sane. It’s ok if your house often looks like a bomb site, but it’s also ok to try and keep it tidy. Or do a bit of both depending on how knackered you are!

4 – Mummy friends are so important. I’m lucky that a few friends from work had children a little before me, and we have gotten really close over the last couple of years. It is fab to unburden yourself with people who know what you are talking about. They don’t have to be SAHMs too, mine are all working mums, but they are still mums! They remind me I am not alone and when I am struggling with something it is so great to hear their experiences and share ideas! They may not always be able to help, but at least they can lend an ear. If you don’t have many mummy friends, it is worth trying to befriend some at baby/ toddler group of some kind. I’ve written before about finding confidence as a Mum/SAHM but it is important sometimes to break out of your comfort zone and get that support from other mums.

Blogging and the world of social media is also fab for this and I have loved connecting with so many other lovely, wonderful and supportive mums out there – and I wish I had joined this awesome community earlier!!

5 – Get some me time. It’s easy to feel guilty about taking some time for yourself, but when you are a SAHM and your whole life basically revolves around the house and your child, it is so important to take some time for yourself. I’m not saying it is less important for working mummies, and I can only talk about my experience, as a SAHM. I go for ages with no me time as weekends are filled with family time, or catching up on housework while Monkey has some daddy time, but it’s inevitable that after a while I become a grumpy mummy! And it’s because I need some time to myself. It doesn’t need to be a lot of time – just a wander round the shops sans-child, with just my own thoughts, or some good music for company is really restorative. As is sitting quietly watching a film. I suppose it’s just having the ability, even for a little while, to do what YOU want. Not what needs doing, not what anyone else wants to do, or what you think someone else will enjoy. What you want that you know you will enjoy, without worrying whether anyone else is enjoying it too!

On the whole, once I figured out the above survival methods, I have loved being a SAHM. It can be hard sometimes, and it can be boring sometimes. Not particularly the time spent having fun with Monkey, but the endless cleaning and tidying, and the quiet times. It doesn’t have the same mental stimulation that working did, if I’m honest. But, then that’s why I blog! And spend time trying to come up with fun activities for Monkey.

I have loved that I’ve been the one with him all time time. I’ve been the one who helped him learn to walk, and who heard his first words. I know all of his quirky habits and how much he loves numbers. I know him inside out and love the connection we have. He has a lovely relationship with his daddy of course, and he’s a toddler so he can be frustrating at times but on the whole I do find spending my time with him very very rewarding and I love being his mummy.

Now that he’s getting older I have thought once or twice about returning to work. With a new baby on the way it’s a bit of a moot point really and I’m not sure what I would do if we weren’t planning on another child, but I may have thought about something part time by now. Though returning to work would be a bit of a change again after this much time at home! As it is though I am happy at home and looking forward to at least a few more years as a SAHM.

To finish off the post I thought I’d pop in a few shots of Monkey and I together over the past 2 years…

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Battling boredom and keeping busy

As I have written before, being a stay at home mum is the right decision for me at the moment, because I am lucky enough that we can afford it, and because I like being the one to teach Monkey and to watch him grow. Even though I am confident that it is the right decision for me, it isn’t always easy and some days are definitely more difficult than others. Boredom is one of weirdly hard things about it. We live by a routine as it is the best way for Monkey to be happy and healthy and therefore the best thing for me. But  as with any routine, this can lead to monotony. Particularly as Monkey gets older and needs my constant attention a lot less.

Playtime with friends

Playtime with friends

With the grandparents

With the grandparents

 

I’ve known for a while that one of the key things to do as a stay at home mum is to get out of the house every day. To get some adult company where possible, to help Monkey burn off some energy, to get a change of scene, you get the idea. This helps with boredom somewhat as it keeps us busy. We go with friends and other kiddies to parks when the weather is good, and indoor soft play places/cafes with play areas etc, when the weather is not so good. We visit relatives and have relatives round. We go to the shops, shopping centres, garden centres (he particularly likes fish and pet areas) or sometimes just for a walk round the block.

Playtime with friends

Out for a walk

 

 

 

 

 

 

This does help a lot but doesn’t really solve anything, and on days where we have nothing planned and the weather isn’t great for getting out…. I can get quite moody and irritable. I just don’t always know what to do with him to burn off some energy and keep him going. We could obviously always go to a garden centre or shopping centre, but I am also not a huge fan of wandering aimlessly with no purpose so if I don’t need (or can’t afford) to buy anything then I don’t like going. So that is when I come up with all sorts of playtime ideas, but even those don’t keep him occupied for that long.

Yummy Red Velvet Cake

Yummy Red Velvet Cake

 

Having fun with crochet

Having fun with crochet

Even when we do keep busy  together, it’s not usually very mentally stimulating. I can absolutely understand why some mums want to go back to work, because they need something else for themselves. I understand that completely and because of this I do question my decision at times, though for me all of the reasons I chose to stay at home, outweigh this one thing. But I do also recognise that I need some mental stimulation. This is why I crochet and do other crafty bits. It’s why I bake and cook to challenge myself (when I am not on a diet at least haha). I think a lot about home improvements and do all the household budgets, manage hubby’s business account. I also read a lot and I do most of the housework too but that doesn’t stimulate my mind! haha

 

If we didn’t know we wanted baby number 2 within the next year or so, I think I would be looking to go back to work now, but as it is there isn’t any point trying to find a job at the moment so I will just have to keep busy and find new ways of battling boredom until number 2 comes along, and then we will just wait and see how I feel after that. I think about studying something or even doing some work from home part time, but again I am not sure that I am ready to commit to anything like that when I know we hope to have another baby at some point, as I am sure I will have much less opportunity to get bored with 2 little ones in the house! At least until number 2 is a bit older.

Any other stay at home mums get bored sometimes? How do you keep yourself going?

The rough with the smooth… and good samaritans

We had a pretty miserable day yesterday and Monkey was not happy no matter what we seemed to do. We had so much whining (which I am afraid to say really grates my nerves) and it all built up to a huge battle of wills at lunchtime. He has been getting fussier and fussier with food again over the last few weeks, I won’t go into too much detail here I have written about mealtime battles before and am writing a longer blog about dealing with food issues so it is all in one place, rather than boring you all with endless blogs about the same thing!

But anyway, yesterday lunchtime was a screaming, wailing nightmare with him refusing to eat his falafel, which I know he loves. We ended up taking him out just to get out of the house, hoping for a change of scene to help. Eventually, after realising he really wasn’t going to get anything else, he took a tiny bite out of the tupperware pot I had transferred it to, and then scoffed the lot because oh yes I really like this. Grrrr Why we had to have half an hour of screaming before this I do not know.

He was really fussy all afternoon after his nap too, though we were definitely being stricter with his food intake yesterday, and he scoffed all of his dinner (yay) but then by bathtime and bedtime he was a real misery guts again. By the time he was in bed both hubby and I had had enough.

This morning he woke up much happier and actually coped pretty well as I carted him around various shops. Unfortunately I had a disaster as I lost my purse this morning, it was in my coat pocket and all I can think is that when I was putting Monkey in the car to come home it must have fallen out as when I got home I could not find it anywhere. I was devastated at the thought of having to go through all of the hassle of cancelling cards and getting a new driving licence etc. So after his snack we dashed back to the last place I knew I had it and checked with the shops and with the security guard who patrols the car park, nothing, I was gutted.

We came home again as my parents were coming round, opened the front door and ouila! My purse was staring up at me! Some lovely lovely good samaritan found it, saw my address on my driving licence and brought it back for me! I was amazed and just couldn’t believe it! She had put her name and number on a little piece of paper so after I had calmed down from the stress of it I gave her a call and thanked her profusely.

The funny thing is that it was like a turning point in my day. After yesterday, and with the miserable weather and with the purse drama I had been feeling so low. But pretty soon after we go home my parents arrived and from then on we have had the loveliest day! Monkey was on top form and back to his old self again, having so much fun with his Nanny and Grandpops it really warms my heart. He then ate his lunch with no fuss whatsoever (yay!) and went out for a play with his grandparents as it stopped raining for a little while. This meant that I got a load of jobs done in the house which made me feel better. I think there is really something in the whole, tidy house, tidy mind thing.

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Anyway then home for a bit more of a play and then down for his nap. He was lovely all afternoon and we popped over to his other grandparents house for a brief visit to return a collection of things we had at our house (including Granny’s umbrella, which she must have been missing!). He had a lovely lovely play with them and then he came home for tea and he ate so well! He still spat a few things out and was a bit silly (he has recently discovered sticking his tongue out and one of his favourite things today has been blowing raspberries), but on the whole he ate really well and and tried everything.

We had a lovely bathtime and he was so cute reading stories with his daddy both before and after and well I had to write this blog post because honestly I could not feel more different to how I did yesterday. There are always ups and downs in life, and especially I am finding, as a parent, but the stark contrast of today and yesterday really hit me. Be thankful for the good days and just get through the bad days as they won’t all be that hard!

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Rough patch!

Pfffff. Deflated is how I feel right now, been a really tricky couple of weeks. Monkey is going through a reeeally fussy patch and is so grumpy these days. He is getting so frustrated with things so easily and we have definitely got the start of tantrums when he doesn’t get his own way, or when mummy has to leave his side for a few mins! I get that this is really just to do with his age and I guess what’s making it worse is the fact that I am so shattered at the moment.

The reason that I am so shattered is that my hubby isn’t very well. It’s nothing serious or life threatening but his IBS is causing him a lot of pain at the moment and he is having to spend quite a bit of time in the loo, in a lot of pain, poor thing. I feel awful for him and he’s trying to carry on, but he just can’t. He’s working through it but when he is at home he’s tired and in pain. Which means he can’t help me as much as usual with Monkey.

I’ve always been a bit in awe of single mums and I know that when you have to cope, you just do because there is no alternative but I can’t imagine doing this on my own. One of my closest friends is a single mum and I know she struggles but I’m so in awe of her too as she really does an amazing job. The last week or so has given a bit more of an insight into what it could be like as from 6.30am when monkey wakes up, till he goes to bed at 7.15pm it’s pretty much just me at the mo. Like I say, hubby is trying to keep doing his usual pre-bedtime bathy and helping with the bedtime routine, but he can’t bend down or move around as quickly as monkey wants.

And the honest truth, I am really struggling with it. I really rely on hubby’s help first thing in the morning and when he gets in from work in the evening. For an hour or so at each end of the day I get to do some jobs or sit and read the news or stand in the shower while daddy is in charge. The last week or so I haven’t been able to do this as much and of course I am coping but it is wearing me down. Last weekend was a bad weekend as monkey was poorly too and I don’t physically have enough energy to be sympathetic and caring to both of them so unfortunately daddy has to be on the back burner while I look after monkey.

Monkey has been better this week, no more temperatures or crying through the night but he’s still not right and is so fussy and is dozy in the mornings (which I hate because it messes up our routine and I rely on our routine to get out and about to see people, get jobs done and generally stay sane!) and generally just keeping me on my toes! We have the bank holiday weekend this weekend and normally I would be jumping for joy as I have hubby for three whole days to help with Monkey and house chores and just lovely to have family time. But this week I am not looking forward to it at all because I’m worried that hubby is going to be poorly again, and I’m already low and again I’ll cope, but I won’t enjoy it.

I feel so selfish too as he’s the one who is poorly and he’s the one in pain, and of course I want him to get better so he isn’t in pain anymore, but I mainly want him to get better so he can help me! He went to the doctors yesterday and I was really hoping they would give him something to help but they basically said to keep taking what he’s taking, do what he’s doing and he’ll get through it. Great. Feel like such a rubbish wife that I am so concerned about myself but I can’t seem to help it. I’m just so tired and worn down, I have a huge mouth ulcer, which is always a sign with me, and a couple of times this week I have slept in the afternoon when Monkey sleeps, so the housework really isn’t getting done!

– I started writing this blog a couple of days ago but didn’t have time to finish it then! The weekend isn’t going as badly as I thought and Monkey is doing a lot better, but Hubby is still quite poorly bless him. Still, he is at least able to help enough that I am catching up on some jobs and we’ve spent some time in the garden enjoying the sunshine which has been lovely. Still shattered but not as low as I was at the start of this post, and after writing down how selfish I felt I have been trying a bit harder to give hubby some tlc. At least now monkey is doing better I have a bit more energy spare for hubby :)

Despite the rough patch, and even when I was feeling really low, I’m still happy overall with my decision to be a stay at home mummy. It’s not always easy but then what in life is really? Just got to cope during the down times and enjoy the ups :) Monkey and Hubby are both asleep so I am going to grab my book and a cold drink and have a few mins peace in the garden I think!

Loving the long naps and cheeky development!

Tuesday of last week was a very trying day, but I thought I would share that Tuesday of this week was a looovely day :)

To start off we were going to Monkey’s first ever experience of Tumble tots. Now, I love being a stay at home mummy, but I also feel that I need to get out of the house with him most days, if not every day. Otherwise I go a bit stir crazy and also I find that he gets quite bored of the same toys when we are at home all day with no variety. He’s a very inquisitive little monkey and likes people and places and new things.

We spend a lot of our time visiting family and friends and other kiddies but now that he is down to one nap a day we have much more time to fill. This has led me to looking at some mum and baby class type things that we can do to entertain him. Tumble tots immediately sprang to mind. Now he has taken his first steps in the last few weeks but has gone a bit scared with it the last week or so and is very much clinging to mummy to walk again, which is fine he’ll do it in his own time. But the classes at Tumble tots are 6 months-walking and walking to 2 years, so I wasn’t sure which to take him to! The decision was made for me as the nearest location to me aren’t running the younger class at the moment so we went to walking-2. He was the youngest there I would say and couldn’t do a lot of the things but he was really loving it, running around all over the place (dragging mummy with him – he really doesn’t need me just hasn’t got the confidence yet) yelling happily.

I’m always a bit nervous of these places too and the other mummies, wondering whether there is any cliques, are they gonna be judgemental etc, but nope, they all seemed very nice, and the same as me, running around after their slightly more mobile toddlers! There was a few other new mums too and everyone seemed as nervous of each other as I was, but it was all nice and friendly.

Anyway the reason I am telling you about this is that that afternoon, monkey had a lovely long nap. 2 3/4 hours long! It was amazing!! I got so much done!

I baked some lovely oat and raisin biscuits, did some yoga (my latest thing in an attempt to tighten the wobbles) changed our bed, got washing out on the line, hoovered downstairs, perused the internet for a bit, looked at hotels for a girly weekend I am going on in a few months, emailed some friends and on and on and on! It was amazing!!

By the time he woke up it was nearly 4! Most of the afternoon was gone and he was so well rested and happy that we had so much fun! He is such a cheeky monkey though, we sat in the sunshine in the garden for a bit and he kept picking daisies (and trying to eat them, d’oh!) so played a bit of back forth, you know, hand out, can mummy have it, and he was so cute, he’d go to put it in my hand, then snatch it back giggling and shaking his head! So funny, I dunno where he has got that from but such a cheeky monkey.

He’s developed a funny little chuckle this week all of a sudden and now just sits and chuckles to himself sometimes, which is so cute. We were walking along in the buggy the other day and a car drove past, then disappeared behind a huge roundabout and when it came out the other side, monkey had a right chuckle!

Anyway I will stop gushing now! I have also been busy crocheting and made some adorable little booties and a hat for my friend, more info and pictures to follow soon!