How to survive the 6 week Summer hols

Parenting…

It’s tough, it’s exhausting but it’s absolutely the best thing ever without a doubt.
So as many of us start the 6 week summer holidays today we’re still feeling quite positive, blissfully planning activities to take on with our offspring.
Many of us will know however, that this blissful, positive feeling will diminish over the course of each day and we will turn to despair.
We will call in back up of whichever form.

So how do we survive the 6 weeks Summer hols? 

  • Make a Plan. A POA. 
    Whether it’s by choosing one simple ‘activity’ to do per day or one place out to go each week, make a plan of things to help prevent everyone from getting bored and stressful situations occurring.
    This also helps to break the time up and help you feel like you have accomplished something each day/week.
  • Factor in your routine and use it in your plan.
    So, for example, for us Bunny sleeps of an afternoon. I can use this hour or 2 to do something with the Wildcat that we wouldn’t be able to do whilst she was up. Even if it’s just quality time colouring a picture together or baking some biscuits. I can then plan an activity that they can both do in a morning.
  • Recognise the signs.
    If your child is starting to get whingy, niggly or act up/misbehave there might be a reason why; Hunger, tiredness (we all let them have later nights in school holidays don’t we!) or one of the main ones- Boredom.
    Try and recognise these signs and nip them in the bud before they result in an explosion of some sort- from your child or you!!
    TOP TIP: For boredom have some quick fix activities pinned up on your kitchen notice board! 
  • Take each day one day at a time! 
    Don’t let a bad morning ruin your day or a bad day ruin your week! Just take each day one step at a time and remember it’s going to be hard for the kids as well as you- it’s a massive change to their routine too.
    You will need your witts about you to keep everything running smoothly. 
  • Have Fun! 
    This is a perfect opportunity for you and your kids to spend some quality time together- a welcome break from structured learning and a chance for their brains to chill the F out.
    Make things fun- a really great suggestion on our live feed (see below) was to turn mealtimes in to a café or restaurant. So simple, no prep beforehand needed and the kids love it- mine usually look at me to start with like I’m barmy but straight away get involved and play along.
  • Meet up with friends.
    They are your back up. Get your adult convo fix, even when it’s interrupted repeatedly, and just see another human, adult face! Hopefully they’ll also have kids so they can all play nicely together and give you a better chance to chat.
  • Get Outside.
    This is a brilliant one for helping with stressful situations and proves a brilliant distraction from boredom or tiredness.
    Get out in the fresh air and whether its a trip to the nearest park, a run round in the garden or a walk with a scavenger hunt it really doesn’t matter. You don’t even have to have a plan to get outside, it could be 15 minutes before teatime to blow the cobwebs away.
    TOP TIP: Keep a pile of scavenger hunts somewhere easy to grab on your way out of the door or on your phone to use whilst you’re out and about! 
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff!
    Stuff like a tidy house and cleaning is probably mostly going to go by the board. Same as high tempers and impatience are going to be a common occurrence.
    Try not to let the ‘little things’ get to you.
    TOP TIP: Use our Facebook group ‘The Stress Dump’ to offload any stress before it gets too much! https://www.facebook.com/groups/608948225969813/
  • Use Pinterest for quick fix activity ideas! 
    Pinterest, if you haven’t used it already, is a fantastic resource and a minefield of so many different activities. If you’re getting stuck for ideas have a search around on there and create a ‘board’ so finding an activity is simple!
  • Music. 
    Put some music on and have a dance around together. Instant mood booster and lots of fun.
    TOP TIP: Bend and Stretch with the Sticky Kids is an excellent cd full of activity songs and rhymes. http://www.stickykidscatalogue.co.uk/bend&stretch.html
  • Try something new.
    Whether it’s a trip to a new play park or visiting somewhere you haven’t been before, trying something fun is great for instilling some excitement and fun into your kid’s 6 week hols.
  • Take extra time out for you.
    Even if it’s just an extra 10 minutes to sip from your gin filled hip flask (only joking…) make sure your take a little extra time for you. The summer holidays can be very full on and if you don’t look after yourself, you wont be at the top of your game to look after the kids!

So that’s it, my survival strategy for the Summer.
All that’s left for me to say is… GOOD LUCK! I’ll see you on the other side…!


Keep a look out for TNPPC very own Summer bucket list 

FACEBOOK LIVE FEED: HOW TO SURVIVE THE 6 WEEKS HOLS

 

 

First Time Mum; What the F**k has happened to my life?

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Dear First time Mum,
I know what has happened to your life.

You have grown a little person inside of you- pretty unbelievably incredible. From the minute you started growing them you made sacrifices. They consumed all your energy and the past year or more has been the most tired you’ve ever felt.
You’re so tired you don’t know whether you’re coming or going- you’ve gone from not being tied down to having a person completely dependent on you for their every need. The things you thought were going to happen probably didn’t and the things you never even considered became part of your everyday life.
You’ve put every ounce of your energy into growing and keeping this little person safe. Every ounce of love to protect them. Every ounce of knowledge into caring for them.
You’ve felt like you’ve had no f’in clue what you’re doing and so many people telling you things you ‘should’ be doing. You’ve tried things and they didn’t work. You’ve cried. You’ve laughed. You’ve smiled. You’ve loved like you’ve never loved before.
You’ve lost yourself and who you were amongst the chaos of this massive lifestyle change and your body will never be the same as before. Emotions, hormones and it’s shape.

Some days you don’t think you can cope, you just want to run away but then you feel guilty for even thinking this- how could you ever leave this amazing being that you created!
Some days you just lock yourself away because it’s just easier- it’s easier to be at home where it doesn’t matter if your little one cries, if either of you spend all day in your pyjamas, where you have all your stuff to hand.
But before you know it you’ve shut the world out and you feel lonely. Loneliness like you’ve never known. Your phone is your lifeline but you just don’t get chance to reply to the messages, the notifications get too much and you’re tired.
You need your friends but how the hell do you fit all this in?

You think ‘what the fuck has happened to my life’?

How do I know all this? I’ve been there too. Twice.
So has every other mum I’ve ever spoken to. It’s completely normal to feel like this. But no-one tells you about this do they? I think people must forget the ‘mum feels’ as their kids grow, and hindsight is a wonderful thing- but as I say very inaccurate and not very helpful.

You are normal. This is normal.

Your body, your mind and your emotions have been thrown onto a rollercoaster and set off at 200mph.
You don’t have to have postnatal depression to feel like crap. You don’t have to have postnatal anxiety to feel like crap.
Sometimes our emotions are too much for us, the ‘mum feels’ are too much for us.
YOU ARE NOT ON YOUR OWN! THIS IS NORMAL 💖

Speak out about your ‘mum feels’ – it really does help to talk, and when you hear other people feel the same it’s massively reassuring.
Ask for help if you need it- even if it’s just for someone to come round and make you a brew.
If your friends are Mums, they’ll understand- they will totally get it. If they don’t get it, they’re not your mates.
I know it doesn’t feel like you can right now but you really NEED to make some time for yourself- it’s really important! If you don’t look after yourself you can’t look after anyone else- your mind won’t let you.

If you’re feeling lost at the moment, get your map right here. I’m ready to catch you as you fall. I’m ready to push you back up onto your feet and shout go, you’ve got this!

It suddenly dawned on me

Today I lay on the rug with Bunny whilst she was drinking her milk. And I just happened to notice her hands holding her bottle.

How big they’ve got.

Chubby, squishy toddler hands. No longer delicate, little baby hands.

This week I’ve really noticed things she’s picking up on and is pointing out. Like at school pick up the other day, we were early so went to sit on the bench in the playground. She pointed over to where we normally wait and said “Sis”.
Tonight at bedtime she finished her milk, passed me her bottle and said “Na’night”.
How she regularly answers yes or no.

On the way home from school today we stopped off at the park. The Wildcat unexpectedly saw her school friend. They ran upto each other and hugged like teenagers do!
At home, she was showing my her uber wobbly tooth. (Which completely cringes me out by the way!)

And it suddenly dawned on me, how did we get to this point?
Chubby, toddler hands, an understanding of the world and a growing independence.
School uniform, wobbly teeth and friendships she’s formed all by herself.

Independence.

I have no idea how we’ve got to this point but we have.

10 years and heading forward

10 years ago I was 19. I went out drinking and dancing on a weekend. During the week I went to work. I argued with my boyfriend. I made up with my boyfriend. I went on my first girlie holiday with my friends. I was young and free.

9 years ago I’d just bought my first house and would be about to go through my worst break up with the person I thought I’d marry.

8 years ago I was falling in love with the man I’d marry.

7 years ago I didn’t know yet but there was a baby growing inside of me who was about to change my life forever.

6 years ago I was a brand new Mama. Wondering if I was doing it ‘right’.

5 years ago I was Mama. Learning how to juggle the realities of family life.

4 years ago my anxiety was beginning to take its toll and I began to recognise that it was becoming an issue.

3 years ago I was wedding planning. Invites were very soon to be given out and the stress of a wedding would kick in.

2 years ago I was newly married and struggling. I was desperate for another baby but each month mother nature appeared. Very soon she’d give up and give in to my demands! School was looming for our eldest daughter.

1 year ago I had just become a Mama of two. Learning how to divide my attention and juggle school runs and sleepless nights.

Now.
I’m about to turn 30. I’m married with two children. Two girls. My first house is filled with toys, noise and we have outgrown it. My heart is filled with love and my head is filled with worries. I have a handful of friends who I can call on when I need support. Nights out are rare. I talk about my experiences of parenting to help other parents, to support them and to let them know that they’re not alone.
I struggle daily with anxiety.

So much has changed in 10 years time.
This year I want to stop the clock. I don’t want to go back but I don’t want to go forward either. I just want to sit right here in my twenties.
Obviously going forward is inevitable.
Life has many twists and turns and you never know where your path will lead you. People may join you on your path or simply be crossing it.
But you can’t turn back, you can only head forward.

 

Saying goodbye to today

Every day I watch my children getting a day older.
I watch them growing, without realising they are growing… until that piece of clothing becomes too small. That outfit doesn’t fit. I hear “Mama my shoes are hurting”.

Then it hits me- BAM.

As I’m tidying their rooms and finding discarded toys that they’ve now grown out of. When the baby is getting her sister’s hand me downs and I can’t comprehend that they were last used over 5 years ago. 5 years!!!

Then it hits me- BAM.

As I walk into my eldest’s room whilst she’s sleeping and look around. I see Barbie’s, Monster High, Perfume, Roald Dahl books, real writing not squiggles. I see her fast asleep in a high sleeper bed. I see her school uniform ready for the next day.

Then it hits me- BAM.

When I look at that school uniform and think how it wont be long before she’s heading into year 2. YEAR 2! How her first day at school is long gone and the school run is the norm.

Then it hits me-BAM.

When that baby photo pops up on timehop. I start to reminisce and think of times gone by. Memories that I still feel too young to have as distant memories. Memories of a baby that are blurring with her baby sister’s memories. Memories that don’t feel like they happened six years ago. I look at pictures where at the time my eldest looked so grown up, but now she looks so young. Pictures where I was pregnant with the youngest before anyone knew. Pictures of me heavily pregnant with the youngest. Now she’s one and not even really a baby anymore.

Then it hits me- BAM.

Christmases, birthdays, Easters, holidays… Pretty much any celebration we’ve had.

Giggles are turning into laughter. Crawling is turning into walking and climbing. Words that have turned into sentences and stories. Nursery rhymes that have turned into chart songs and dance moves.
Each BAM is like I’ve been electrocuted. Volts running through my body. My heart. I feel a twist in my stomach and an ache of longing for time to just slow down.

So many days I’m just waiting for bedtime. I’m tired, I want a break and the pressure from every day is immense. But each day that I’m waiting and counting down the hours, I’m wishing time away that in a few weeks I want back. There has never been a truer quote than ‘the days are long, but the years are short’.

I think about my own childhood memories and where I was 10 years ago, 15 years ago. It makes me feel funny because although I don’t want to go back there, I can’t quite believe that time has passed so quickly. I think about old school friends and how my own daughter is making these memories of her own right now. I think about my parents and how they must feel to have grown up children and now grandchildren. I wonder if they feel the same as I do about time.
I think back to meeting my husband and how we spent our time before we had the girls. Our wedding day and each significant moment we’ve created together.

I find myself looking at my eldest daughter more and more and whilst my heart swells with pride, it also feels like someone’s squeezing it until its about to burst. I look at my youngest and see that fluffy haired baby morphing into her sister. I see me and my husband getting older. My parents and grandparents. Our friends.
Television programmes from when I was a teenager that are now played as the old shows- how I remember watching different old shows that are pretty much nonexistent now! Old songs that me and my friends hung out to, made mix tapes of, danced to at the Friday night disco. Changes in technology, phones, home décor.

Then I’ll hear a little voice or feel a little hand that will bring me back to the present and I remember that despite not wanting to say goodbye to today we still have lots more memories to make.