24hrs of an Insomniac

Pretty regularly I suffer with bouts of insomnia.  I am currently mid bout (hoping its more like the end of this bout as I don’t do well with sleep deprivation).  My periods of insomnia vary in both length and severity but its always a frustrating and difficult time for both me and my family (as I am not the nicest of people to be around when tired)

I seriously don’t do well with lack of sleep, if effects every part of my day,.. one day this week in particular –  I thought I’d note down just a few of the affects I’ve experienced of not working with full brain function

The night before:

  • Went to bed 11pm
  • Still awake at 1pm
  • Got up at 1.30am – did emails, read book, washed up, watched tv, made toast
  • Went back to bed at 3.30am
  • Looked at clock at 4.20am
  • Woke up at 7.30pm – panic as had to get up for work!

This has been pretty much a standard night for a couple of weeks now, although normally would be awake again by 6.00am, 7.30pm was very unusual.

My morning

I proceeded to make a number of ‘errors’ so to speak:

  • Put milk away in the cupboard rather than the fridge.  Only realised when I couldn’t shut the cupboard door properly

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  • Hunted high and low for car keys, only to find them in the shoe drawer

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  • Left house in my slippers, was at the car door before I realised.
  • Left house a 2nd time still in my slippers as I’d forgotten what I’d gone back in the house to do
  • Returned in to house for a 3rd and 4th time to get things I’d forgotten – essentials like my ipad (needed for work), purse & believe it or not, my daughters (they had gone back in to the house to use the loo during one of my return trips for forgotten items!)
  • Set off to drop the girls at a friends who was looking after them, took the wrong turning of the roundabout, so turned around
  • Driving along, realised I was almost in the next town, remembered where I was meant to be going, turned around again and headed back
  • Had to return home yet again as had forgotten to collect the neighbours daughter who was assisting me at work today

I managed to get through work without too many mishaps.  I tend to be able to focus at work, its my livlihood afterall, so its essential I at least look and act professional .. Although, at varying points in the day I couldn’t find my phone, cuppa (where did I put it down again), note book, pen etc

My afternoon / evening

  • Collected the children, almost on time and headed off to mums – for her 70th birthday family gathering.  Got there, handed over the cards, took a seat and happily chatted to family (stifling yawns and wondering if anyone would notice if I just nipped upstairs for a 10 mins power nap).  People started to dispurse an hour or so later, saying their goodbyes,
  • realised that I’d left my mums home made, slaved over, children decorated with love birthday cake sat in her kitchen!  Only ones left were just me, the girls and grandma – but oh well, more cake for us, and they were more than happy to give her a personal chorus of happy birthday (minus the candles as I’d left them on the side at home)

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  • Time to head home.. ok.. so where did I put the car keys again???
  • Concentrated very, very hard on the drive home to make sure that I didn’t miss the correct turn off and end up in the city centre
  • Getting everything ready for tomorrow, picnic lunch boxes made, put dirty cutlery in the washing machine – only realised when the knife clattered in the drum.

Seriously.. sleep is required to function, I am clearly no longer functioning.  I’m not always sure exactly what triggers these periods of insomnia.  They seem to creep up on me and before I know it, before I get chance to nip it in the bud, the bout is in full swing and I’m lucky if I am getting 3hrs of sleep.

I know that heightened anxiety of various things plays a part, usually work related.  I know when I’ve got things praying on my mind it effects my sleep, and hormones I also think have their own part in it all.  I have sleeping tablets which I take very occasionally – usually only after a prolonged bout when I get to the state I have described above and normal daily living becomes impossible.

My patience is not the greatest at the best of times, during times of sleep deprivation it becomes even more of a challenge.  I try to be honest with the kids about it, explaining how tired I am, and there may be times when I am grumpy.  Then there are others where I just react, shout (scream sometimes – my poor kids, my poor neighbours!) as its the only reaction I can muster at that point.  I try and be more concious about my interactions when I’m suffering with a prolonged period of insomnia, try to give my brain a minute between processing information and reacting to circumstances that present themsevles.  Sometimes I manage this quite successfully, other times I don’t.

So, from reviewing my day, i think its pretty clear that its time to hit the bottle – of pills that is.  Give myself a half decent nights sleep, and approach the next day with new vigour, hopefully with the ability to find my car keys, leave the house in shoes and with some normal amount of brain capacity to get through the day.

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The Weekly Daly Roundup #2 .. 26/07/15

Been a busy week being the first week of the holidays.  Trying to juggle time with the family and fitting in work.  Attempting to make the kids the priority but still fulfilling commitments. Phew..

A roundup of my week:

High – Clothes shopping with Jessica – first real mum and daughter girlie shopping trip.  Choosing and trying on clothes followed by treats of Millies Cookies

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Low – struggles with arranging childcare over the holidays, having to ask favours of friends to help out here and there.  The real low being getting a response from a close friend that really upset me.  The old saying of you find out who your friends are when you need them is oh so true!

Good – Visiting prospective new schools in preparation for the move, and finding one that I’m really happy with – Decision made!

Bad –  A rather disturbing knocking noise on the car that I am currently ignoring

Enjoyed – our family adventures this week to the Room on the Broom Trail in Wakefield, a Cinema trip & time at Kirstall Abbey – loving the holidays (check out my work blog lifewithminime.com for reviews)

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Not enjoyed – The weather!  Why is it on my days off  with the kids the weather has to be pants.  The days I am working, or they are off at their dads its glorious sunshine – frustrating to say the least!

Mundane – I really want to say that I’ve got up to date with the ironing – but it would be a lie.  The washing did however get done – although looking in the washing basket you’d never know it

Out of the ordinary – A Saturday morning walk round a local beauty spot with just me and hubby.  No loading the car with kids scooters, packing snacks and drinks, hearing the phrase ‘are we there yet’.  And to boot, we actually got some sunshine!  Not only that we treated ourselves (rather than the kids) to ice-cream too!

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Grateful for – being my own boss.  A lot of the time its hard and stressful, but the advantage being that come holiday time it gives me the flexibility to work less, be at home more and enjoy the time with the family.

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{The Ordinary Moments} #3 Frocks & Fairies

Following a major clearout of the Jessica’s wardrobe this week left her with very little suitable summer clothes meaning that a shopping trip was in order.  Generally neither of my daughters enjoy shopping trips.  The mere suggestion has always been met with cries of ‘do we have to come?’  The answer to them this time was a resounding YES YOU DO! Jessica has recently started to get an opinion about clothes, what she likes, what she doesn’t, what she’s prepared to wear and what she won’t.  Where previously I could pick up a few items, put them away in her drawers without a second thought – now I have to do a whole consultation on my return home with purchases, and her new found thoughts on what looks good and what doesn’t has meant that I’ve had quite a few items to return to shops. So, no more, if she wants to express her opinion, she has to come with me, choose her own and try them on in the shop.

This was really the first time we had done the whole girly shopping expedition, choosing outfits, deciding what goes together, when she would wear it and then with armfuls of tops, skirts, dresses in to the changing rooms.  It felt GOOD!  I loved it, and I think she did too.  Standing in front of the mirror, turning one way, and then the other, a quick twirl here and there, checking herself out.. my girl is growing up.  Personally I love to shop, I love even more finding a bargain, and I can’t wait to share more of this mum and daughter time together. A successful shopping trip of course must be rewarded – hence the cookies

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This week saw Natalie lose her second tooth.  I dealt with it better than I did at her losing her first tooth a couple of weeks ago!

Her losing her first tooth was a bit of an emotional wrench.  I suppose because I wasn’t expecting it.  She has only just turned 6 a month or so ago, she didn’t her first tooth until she was almost 15 months old, so I suppose I figured she would starting losing them quite late.  However, on collecting her from school one day, she ran to me, beyond excited to tell me that her tooth was wobbly… REALLY WOBBLY – and she kindly demonstrated it to me by pushing it forward and backward with her tongue (eeww!)

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After a few palpitations, jiggly tummy feelings and a wave of sadness I managed a smile and feigned excitement about the prospect of a visit from the tooth fairy. I know its a normal, expected part of growing up, its just I wasn’t quite prepared for this milestone in her childhood.  She is my youngest, she is my baby and it brought home all to quickly how fast both my girls are growing up.

So, just a matter of weeks later, the 2nd tooth is out.  It got wrapped up, placed carefully under her pillow.  That night she brushed, flossed and mouthwashed her teeth like never before! (I tell them that the tooth fairy checks their teeth when she visits to make sure they are looking after them properly!)

Jessica reminded me (AGAIN!) that her last tooth got lost before it reached its destination of under the pillow and I’d promised we would write a letter to the tooth fairy to explain the situation and see if she could find it in her heart to still leave her the £2.  I’d forgotten (bad mummy status – see prev blog for more bad mummy/good mummy) So we set about rectifying that with drawing a nice picture, and including a letter (a bit of a begging letter – Jessica certainly knows how to pull the heart strings!)  Letter was placed on the pillow and Good mummy status was reinstated!

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Jessica – thoughtful as ever came back downstairs, just to let me know she had opened the window slightly in their bedroom so the tooth fairy could get in easily, and she had left the fairy lights on around the bed, so that she could see better and not bang her head on the bunk beds.  You’ve got to smile!  I’m not sure how much longer I have of her believing in the magical, make believe world of faires, santa clause etc, makes my heart sink a little when I imagine the day she lets me know that ‘I know that they’re not real!’

But for now, they believe, they get excited, it prompts questions I’m not sure how to answer – my favourite from Natalie on the tooth fairy – “Who leaves the toothfairy her £2 when she loses her teeth?”… errrm??

Such conflicting emotions this week of loving the fact that they are growing up, that we are sharing more but wanting to hold on so tight to their childhood as it disappears before my eyes.

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An Easy Oasy Day (and a bit of a foody post)

Easy Oasy days are what I call days where I don’t really plan anything.  Not on purpose, but usually because I’ve just not had chance to give it any thought.

Saturday was one of those.  The girls were at their dads for the weekend, I had a bit of work to do in doing a 4yr olds birthday party, but other than a few errands to run that was it.  Some times days like these are a welcome respite what is usually a busy jam packed schedule, other times I feel at a bit of a loose end, that I’m wasting a day and precious time being unproductive.

Saturday was the former though.  I was more than happy to just mosey along through the day.  Hubby and I took advantage in the morning of having no children and went for a wander round a local beauty spot, and as a bonus it was actually sunny!

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It was nice not to be loading scooters and bikes, checking we’d got snacks and drinks on hand and hearing 5 mins after we’d set off the usual ‘how long before we get there mum’.  We just strolled around the lake, nodding hello’s to passers by, bit of a chit chat about nothing in particular.  We even got ourselves icecreams – 99’s of course – a rarity as its a treat usually only bought for the kids.

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The birthday party went without a hitch, kids had a good time, parents were happy.. job done

After a completing a couple for errands we stopped by a local pub to grab a bite to eat.  I apologise in advance as this is going to turn in to a bit of a foody post.  I enjoy my food – I say that unashamedly simply because I do.  There pretty much isn’t a food out there that I wouldn’t give a try, and I can only think of one food that despite me trying again and again that I don’t like – and that is beetroot (and I still try on occasion to see if I can learn to like it.. so far.. I can’t)

I think that one of hubbys minor bug bears about me (at least i think its a minor one!), is that when ever we eat out I can on occasion find something to be a bit critical about.  I am by no means a food snob, I love fish & chips just as much as fancy restaurant food.  But i like food to taste good, I like it to be reasonably well presented, and I like to get good service.  I don’t think thats too much to ask when you’re paying for the pleasure.

Hubby would say that he likes good value, I say he’s tight!  So when he saw that there were a selection of meals on a 2 for £8.95 offer at the Pheasant in Birstall it was a done deal.  Pubs generally don’t have much of a vegetarian selection (especially on their ‘offers’ menu) and to be honest this was no exception – 2 choices but both sounded reasonable – a butternut squash cannelloni or a cauliflower creamy cheese tart.  We both went with the latter.  I’m not a veggie, but am more than happy to go with veggie options when we eat out (except on the occasions when only a medium rare steak will do!)

Drinks ordered – my standard Lime & Soda – believe it or not, its easy to get a lime and soda wrong.  Too much lime, not enough ice, flat soda are just a few of the downfalls – but this one was perfect, light on the lime so it wasn’t sickly, lots of bubbles still in the soda, spot on with the ice – totally refreshing, could’ve done with a wedge of fresh lime.. but then I’m just being picky.

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The food arrived quickly, very quickly, hmm.. microwaved??  It was presented well, decent meal size too.  To my surprise the quality was spot on.  It most definitely hadn’t seen the inside of a microwave.  The pastry was crumbly, the filling was hot, with creamy sauce,cauliflower and cheese…totally tummy pleasing comfort food.  There were a small mountain of new potatoes and a side salad.

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Side salads –  usually a source of disappointment.  I generally find that they are made up of a bit of shredded iceberg lettuce, a few slices of cucumber and perhaps a couple of cherry tomatoes if you’re lucky. However, what was served surpassed the usual expectations.  A mix of salad leaves, together with the usual tomatoes and cucumber, but also red onion and some tiny red things that brought the side dish to life – delicious. Mental note made to check out what these little red things were, had a taste of peppers but with added zing.

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The meal would have benefitted from a few minor tweaks, the potato’s were served dry, perhaps tossing them first a bit of butter, and maybe a bit of dressing on the salad would’ve finished it off.  But overall, a very delightful, extremely filling and satisfying meal.  Beyond my expectations and a total bargain at less than a fiver each (and I love a bargain just as much as hubby loves a cheap deal).

The service was great, were happy and quick to supply butter for the potatoes when asked, checked midway through the meal if we were happy and even asked if we wanted more drinks.  On asking the server when they were clearing away if he could ask the cook what the little red things on he salad were – he knew straight away – Roquito Peppers – I was impressed.

In the main, you get what you pay for with pub food, but I have to say, we were happily surprised and will deffo return again.

Excellent value, excellent quality & excellent service = happy diners and no room for pudding!  Well, until a bit later that evening when we cracked open the Happy Shopper branded pretend Haagen-Daz style icecream – like I said.. hubby is tight and I love a bargain!

Blended Family – Their Two Dads

There are many challenges being part of a blended family.  Balancing parental duties and responsibilities is often one of them. Trying to maintain positive relationships between everyone is another.  Ensuring regardless of what is happening in the adult relationships, that it has minimal impact and bearing on the children.

These are not easy things to do.  There are ups and downs along the way, a bit of a juggling act of people’s emotions and opinions.  It feels like a constant (rather steep) learning curve that changes continually.

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For instance – there is the childrens ‘real’ dad.

He is in the childrens lives regularly, he loves and adores them I’m sure.  His relationship with me is a bit of a rollercoaster.  There have been periods where we have got on great, almost returned to a solid friendship where I’ve been sure that he’s finally moved on.  And then there are periods where for what ever reason (and usually I am unable to figure out the trigger or the reasoning behind it) that the relationship is terrible, communication stops entirely and this can go on for months.

The effect on the children is what worries, frustrates and makes me down right angry.  I do as much as I can to protect them, with reassurances that whilst mummy and daddy don’t always see eye to eye, what we both do is love them to the moon on back.  So no matter what, just remember how much we love you and don’t worry about anything else.

It is so difficult to explain to children the intricacies of adult relationships when to be honest, I don’t understand them myself.  When your 4yr old (as she was at the time) tells you that Daddy says ‘you broke the love mummy.. why did you do that, can you not fix it‘ or when your daughter says ‘Daddy doesn’t want to talk you anymore, why aren’t you friends?‘ the hurt that it is obviously causing them breaks your heart.

Them being witness to the ups and downs has an impact on how they view other relationships.  For the first year of Ron being in their lives they fully expected us to split up.  Their assumption was that nothing was permanent and even with reassurance from Ron and I that we would be together forever (here’s hoping lol!) their response would be, but you and Daddy aren’t together now.  Even after we married Natalie once asked ‘mummy, when will you get deevorced again?’

Trying to reassure them of the permanency of Ron in their lives has been trickier given that we don’t live together.  This is of course set to change, but at the moment the facts are that the children have a part time dad, and a part time step dad. However, 2 part time dads, do not a whole one make!  What the children do get is just the good bits from their two dads.  Which is great for them, the laughs, the fun the excitement of seeing them.  However, what they don’t get is the continuity, the discipline and structure.  .

The alternate weekends at their ‘real’ dads consists of no rules.  No bedtime, no brushing of hair, a bath only occasionally.  Food that a child would choose rather than what constitutes healthy well balanced meals.  So for them Daddy is amazing, its all fun times, no telling off, no boundaries.  I try not to be too critical – afterall, this is his time with his children and his parenting style is his choice.  It is only every other weekend, and how much can it hurt for them to go a weekend without brushing teeth or hair, eating too much junk food and running riot.

But I have to be honest, it niggles, I can feel the hairs on the back on my neck rise when they come home like ragamuffins full of tales of staying up till midnight, having icecream for breakfast and nutella sandwiches for lunch. AND if I’m really honest, I’m jealous.  How can life with me compare, at home they have bedtimes, they have to eat their vegetables, we have routines and rules about behaviour and consequences for non compliance.  Is there any wonder that occasionally during fall outs they throw at me ‘I want to live with Daddy’ – heavens.. who wouldn’t! (Well, actually me, been there, tried that!)

The girls know which day Rons here, and they look forward to seeing him.  They know he’ll play games with them (limbo and the quiet game are their favourites, and Monopoly occasionally too), they will be able to climb all over him, receive big bear hug cuddles.

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They are still learning the boundaries with him, they push them here and there (generally when I’m not around) and to Rons credit, he is calm, never raises his voice, is consistent and rational with them (ha ha.. things that generally I’m not when the girls are pushing my buttons).  But in the main, as they only see him for a few hours a week, its all positive fun stuff..

They see their two dads as the men in their lives that play games with them, that throw them in the air and tickle them till they scream, that give them treats and money when the icecream van is outside the house.

Where does that leave me?  

  • The person that offers stability
  • The constant in their lives
  • The person who they know is there day in day out, night in night out.
  • The person they turn to and want when they fall, when they are upset and need comfort.
  • The person they learn from, who teaches them

Overall – the person who blends it all together for them and tries to make sense of their unconventional family

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Sharing the workload

A while ago to help combat the need of my constant nagging of the girls (especially in the mornings getting ready for school) I introduced the daily jobs list.  This is a laminated tick list of the everyday things that I expect the girls to do without me needing to ask – simple things like brushing teeth, putting dishes in the sink, making their bed.  In the main it works pretty well, they like the fact that they tick things off themselves, and has certainly reduced the frustration, raising of voices and fallings out in a morning as they know what they have to do.  Don’t get me wrong, there is still an element of me saying ‘whats left to check off your list girls’  or ‘have you done everything on your list’ but at least I’m saying it rather than repeatedly screaming instructions at them to get their school bag ready, get dressed etc.

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I also introduced the fuzzy chart. This is a reward chart of sorts. They can earn fuzzy’s for going that extra mile, doing jobs without being asked, being kind, caring, considerate, sharing without being prompted to.. that sort of thing.  Things that make you feel warm and fuzzy – hence the name – Fuzzy’s

They can not ask for fuzzys for doing a job/act of kindness, initially they could only be given them by me, and my decision is final.  I felt it important that my children behave well, be considerate and kind simply because it’s the way the should be, not just because it meant they might get something for it.  The fact that then their good behaviour is then recognised by a reward of a fuzzy is then a bonus rather than something expected.   When they reach 50 fuzzy’s on their chart, they get to choose an activity that we can do together as a family.  They enjoy getting fuzzy’s and have now started to reward each other with fuzzy’s if they have seen one another do something they feel warrants it.

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We all know that household chores seem to be never-ending, and I decided this week to share the load with Jess & Nat.  Undoubtedly it’s probably quicker and easier to do everything myself, but then how do they ever learn to do things for themselves, how will they ever appreciate the time, effort and hard work involved in keeping a clean house, the laundry pile under control and clean dishes in the cupboard.

With the promise of financial gain for taking on household chores they got stuck in without complaint.  The chance to earn pocket money was obviously very appealing, as they happily:

1. Folded socks and towels

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2. Loaded the washing machine (I did then check and remove all the whites from the coloureds – but its a start)

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3. Washed and dried up

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4. Jessica even tried her hand and mowing the lawn – under my strict supervision I might add.

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I am pleased that they are taking on added responsibilities, learning essential life skills and hopefully they will not take for granted their dear old mum quite as much!

Holidays are here! Whats the plan?

Its the school holidays – and boy are we ready – well I am for sure, and given that the girls asked every single day last week if it was the last day of school, I’d deffo say they are too.

I try and be a little prepared for holidays – they are off for over 7 weeks this time, and you can guarantee, without a bit of a plan, by day 2 they will be bickering, falling out and the unforgivable phrase of ‘I’m BORED’ will be uttered.  I still have to work for a couple of days a week, but the rest of the time is ours! One of the the things we’ve been putting together over the past few weeks is a summer bucket list (an idea from Mary who has her own blog, and writes for my business blog Life with Mini Me).  Basically a list of what we think are ‘must do’s’ over the summer holidays (Yorkshire Tots was a good resource for ideas) and includes:

Summer Bucket List

  • Cannon Hall (of course, what holiday wouldn’t be complete without a day there!)
  • Paddle in the sea and have sandcastle building competition
  • Picnics
  • Fairburn Ings (they loved the pond dipping last time we went)
  • Barnsley Metrodome – swimming and slides for all ages
  • Garden party – invite friends round with cake and games
  • Water day (slides, water fights, paddling pools),
  • Room on the Broom trail (at Wakefield)
  • Garden camping (where’s the tent????)
  • Rock scrambliing (Brimham Rocks in Ilkley)
  • Open air swimming (thinking Lido in Ilkley)
  • Den making (collecting cardboard boxes everywhere I go)
  • Knowlsley Safari park
  • Row a boat (boating lake at Shibden Park)
  • Messy day – this involves a number of messy activities including covering the garden in lining paper, covering it in paint, them in old t-shirts and shorts and in they get.  It also involves me guarding the front door with the garden hose in hand!
  • T-Shirt tye-dying (hmm.. should be interesting)

So I see our plan as

Mondays – Summer bucket list activity

Tuesdays – Work (Boo!)

Wednesdays – Work (Boo!)

Thursdays – Play dates – mums from church, and friends of mums from church, and anyone else that fancies coming (all are welcome) are going to meet up at Church on Thursdays, all bring the kids, pot luck picnic type of thing.  Good weather means outside activities, bad weather means inside activities – FREE day with minimum organisation involved

Fridays – play it by ear day.  I do like to keep a day a week where we can do things spur of the moment, impromptu activities can often be the best and also means less pressure – a duvet day with DVD’s sometimes is just what the doctor ordered

With the exception of work days, all things are flexible and weather dependent of course – but rather than floundering each morning trying to decide how best to use our day, we have idea’s and something to look forward to.

We also did our Bored Board this week.  Hearing the kids go ‘I’m bored‘ drives me crazy!  I came across an idea recently which I thought was fab.. wish I could remember where I saw it, was either in a mag or maybe a blog.  And it was to put together a Bored Board – basically get them to make list of home based activities they might like to do, and when ever they utter that unmentionable phrase – refer them immediately to their Bored Board for inspiration.  The kids loved coming up with ideas, and have already used it over the weekend – a totally brilliant idea.  A good suggestion was to do it before the holidays really kick in, as once kids do actually get bored, they find it almost impossible to come with ideas of what they can do.

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Their Bored Board includes things such as:

  • read a book
  • write a story,
  • make finger/sock puppets,
  • put on a puppet show,
  • baking
  • talent show
  • scavenger hunt
  • write their blog
  • paint a picture
  • do jigsaws
  • do make up and nails

.. the list goes on

So here is to the holidays, with lots of fun family time.  Keeping fingers crossed for at least a bit of sunshine over the coming weeks, and most definitely hoping that we’ve enough planned to keep ‘I’m Bored‘ from passing their lips

What do you have planned for the holidays, love to share ideas

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Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

The Weekly Daly roundup #1 19/07/15

Whilst I would love to find the time to do a daily (Daly lol) blog, its never going to happen, and it gets to the end of the week and I try to remember what we’ve got up to.  I want to make a concerted effort to recall the highs, lows, good, bad, what was enjoyed, what wasn’t enjoyed, the mundane and the out of the ordinary and to finish on at least one thing I can say I’m grateful for.

I’ve come across a linky that I like (for anyone else that might happen to read this thats a non blogger its just a link up with other bloggers on a certain subject) –  entitled The Week That Was – Captured that I think will give me a bit of a prompt each week.

High

  • Watching the girls in sports day and seeing them achieve 1st place in their respective races

Low

  • Losing my temper with the girls on the morning of their last day at school when they hadn’t got any of their stuff ready as they’d said they had the night before causing us to be late.  However, this led me to make a resolution to not lose my temper for the whole of the weekend – major challenge!

Good

  • Remembering to buy and sort out teacher presents (my intention was to make stuff with the kids.. but hey, best of intentions and all that!)

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Bad

  • forgetting to take J’s PE kit in to school for a dance workshop (see good mummy bad mummy blog post for details!)

Enjoyed

  • an impromptu picnic in the park after school

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Didn’t enjoy

  • getting on the scales after supposedly starting a health kick to see a 1lb gain!

Mundane

  • Getting half way to work on Saturday to remember I’d forgotten an essential piece of kit and having to turn around, put my foot down and whizz home to collect it

Out of the ordinary

  • Managing a whole weekend without raising my voice to the kids – huge concerted effort, lots of deep breaths, thinking before speaking, looking for alternative ways to handle situations and keep a calmer household

Grateful for

  • My childrens ability to forgive me for my failings, without question, without delay – inspires me to try and do better next time

Phew.. busy week!

TWTWC

{The Ordinary Moments} #2 Good Mummy / Bad Mummy

I had one of those horrible moments this week where I really felt like a totally bad mum.  There are no doubt many times during the week that I’m not the best mum I can be, but I try, and generally feel I don’t do too bad a job – after all the kids are usually happy, healthy, clean (well most of the time) and they have managed to survive my parenting for the past 8 and 6yrs without too many mishaps.

This week Jessica had some sort of dance/gym workshop going on (I wasn’t too clear on the details, one of those things that she mentioned to me whilst I was talking on the phone and cooking dinner at the same time, so it did not really register properly). She had told me a repeatedly (much to her annoyance) that she needed her full PE kit with her to join in. Her having come home in some of it a few days earlier after Sports Day meant it wasn’t in her kit bag as usual.

On arrival at school in the morning it dawned on me that we’d not brought it in. Bad mummy!  Rushed to tell the teacher and find out what time she needed it – phew – as long as it was dropped at school reception before 1pm it would be fine.  No probs I thought, got some admin work to do at home this morning, a meeting scheduled for 12.30, so could easily drop it off on the way to the meeting – all sorted – good mummy status resumed.

However, on leaving my meeting at 2.15pm, as I walked to the car, I suddenly got this sinking feeling, a wave of guilt washed over me as I realised that I had totally forgotten to take the PE kit she needed to school. I felt sick, tears pricked my eyes as I thought how upset she would’ve been, that she might not have been able to join in.  How could I have got so distracted as to not be able to remember one simple task.  I was gutted, felt like the most terrible mother in the world.  Ok, so I tried to put it in to perspective – it wasn’t the end of the world, she might have been able to borrow some from lost property, it was just a little workshop – but the bottom line was that I’d let her down and I felt awful for it.

As parents – do we not all say our first priority are our kids.  I know I do, but in reality, their needs often come lower down the list than they should.  It’s not a conscious thing, I think I find it all to easy to blame work commitments, being too busy, multi tasking, too tired – my list of excuses could go on.

To do list

As she came running down the path after school, I looked for a pained expression, I was expecting red rimmed eyes and tear stained cheeks.. but no.. happy and smiley as ever.  I rushed towards her full of apologies and excuses as to why I didn’t do as I’d promised.  She smiled, hugged me, said ‘its ok mummy, really’  One of the things I love the absolute most about my children is their ability and willingness to forgive in an instant.  No laying on of guilt, making you pay in someway for your mistake so that you learn your lesson.

Just straight forward, I love you so you are forgiven.

Such a humbling experience to be taught so earnestly from your child

What do you learn from your children?

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The dreaded sports day

This week was the girls sports day at school.  I’ve never really liked sports day in all honesty.  In my experience it highlights just the winners and fails to recognize personal achievement, and the participation of everyone regardless of ability.  I don’t like seeing crest fallen faces, disappointment and frustration when a child doesn’t achieve what they hoped.  I don’t like hearing jeers from other children and the competitive nature of some parents astounds me.

So I attended this years with reluctance. I have to say though, that I enjoyed it.  The school seemed to have a different approach this year.  Pupils were in 4 teams and had to work together in races/games to achieve tokens, 4 for 1st place, 3 for 2nd place and so on.  So regardless of if a child came first or last, they still received a token that was then put in to their teams box.  A good way I thought to reward all achievement regardless of placement.

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During each event the children regardless of what team they were in were encouraged to cheer for each other, and give rowdy applause for all participants at the end.  I even found myself shouting ‘Go Reds’ (Natalie’s team colour)

At the end of the sports day, the team with the most tokens was the overall winner – but a win that the whole team had contributed towards and were rewarded for.  It was refreshing to witness such a positive sports day for everyone involved, where the focus wasn’t on the winning, but on taking part (a bit cliche I know), team work and recognising everyone’s effort.

My girls loved it – Natalie was beyond excited at achieving 1st place in 2 of the races/games, overall her team came 2nd.  Jessica was very happy to have come 1st in one of her races and quite indifferent that her team came 3rd overall.  In past years I have had to deal with tears, upset and disappointment, this year was smiles and skipping.

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I’d like to think it wasn’t just the winning that had made them happy, but the fact the whilst they had competed with others, both had won and lost, it was done in a very positive, self esteem building manner. Hats off to the school AND to my girls for trying so hard.