Olly and I have made it to the end of our first working week. Him at Greenpeace and me looking after the kids. I was expecting the week from hell but surprisingly had quite a nice time. I’m not predisposed to the role of stay at home mum and don’t intend to be one for much longer (work, please – anyone?) but definitely felt I was doing a much better job of it this week than I have been in London. So what’s different? Well, a few things. (Surely a great opportunity to do a list? That’s what you do on blogs, right – lists?) So here it is – my five things which make being a full-time mum more bearable. And I’ve resisted putting wine as number one, despite overhearing a mum making the comment, “This is why mums drink wine.” to a disobedient toddler the other day.
1, Sunshine – sunshine makes everything good, so that’s a no-brainer.
2, A car – there, I said it. A car makes your life easy. One little move to the other side of the world and I have become climate criminal No. 1. I can’t deny it though, bundling children into a car instead of drudging around pavements and on buses is much less hassle. A friend sent me an email today about sitting next to a smelly man on a London bus and I thought, thank god I don’t have to do that anymore. Not that I use the car everyday. Today we walked to a local park because I want Elsie to remember she’s got legs but when I got home I was absolutely exhausted. Cream-crackered. And I wondered how much of the last year’s tiredness has been because I’ve been pushing a bloody buggy and buggy-board around? Anyway, this is merely an observation and not an endorsement of fossil-fuel use. Ahem.
3, Sleep – no shit Sherlock. But I thought it’s still worth stating for the record in case any parents reading this are humming and harring about sleep training. Getting more sleep makes you a better parent – fact. The move to NZ has jigged B out of her ludicrously early mornings and it’s made a huge difference to my demeanour.
4, Open plan living – yes, I was surprised too. I thought having fewer gates, barriers and doors would be a pain in the arse with two small people but actually it works quite well. The girls cause merry havoc but at least I can be doing something useful in the kitchen whilst they do.
5, Slowing down – maybe I’m in holiday mode but I’m feeling pretty relaxed and therefore spending better time with my kids. It helps that I have no friends to meet, so don’t mind that it takes Elsie 15 minutes to walk 200 yards. Plus my new phone’s too big to fit in my pocket, so I no longer fiddle with it absent-mindedly whilst ‘playing’ with the girls. And generally am just being more ‘present’ nstead of trying to get other stuff done. I’m sure that’ll change as life gets a bit busier but still, I feel like I’ve learnt a bit this week.