Yesterday we had the kind of Saturday that always follows a bad week. A bad week because of combination of bizarre weather, everyone having a cold, and Greta having a rather high temperature with hers and really suffering, that meant that another week had passed with us spending the majority of it inside our little house. We had my Mum as a visitor one day (sorry for passing on our germs!), and I had tried to make it as fun as possible, with craft activities, water play, baking and tea parties, but there’s no getting around it, a week indoors is almost guaranteed to make everybody crazy.
Well, it’s Mabel and I that suffered the most actually. Ernie doesn’t really care where he is as long as he’s with Mummy, and Greta was poorly so just wanted to curl up in front of the tv and have naps on the sofa for a lot of the time. Mabel’s reaction to being cooped up indoors however was a little bit more challenging to deal with. The thing is, she gets bored. She’s so bright, she’s constantly chatting away, playing games with her dolls, asking a million questions, as soon as she’s finished something she wants to get straight on and do the next thing…… As many toys as we have and as many different ways I try and keep her entertained, I just can’t keep up with her.
So then starts the attitude, the stroppiness, the being mean to her sister, being horrible to me…… I know she’s bored and she doesn’t know what to do with herself, but oh my goodness it’s hard to deal with. And it leaves me rather grumpy and resentful about saying goodbye to Carl everyday while he goes off for 8 hours in a nice quiet office, hot cups of coffee, adult conversations and actually being able to finish a whole task without having to abandon it because somebody has poked somebody else in the eye.
I’m incredibly grateful that I get to stay at home with our children. I truly appreciate that Carl works hard, and has worked hard over many years so that this can be the case, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. But wow, this week I’d say my job has been harder. I mean I know it’s not a competition (it totally is), but if it was…..this week, I would win.
So anyway, we had managed to make it to the end of the week. Everyone was still alive and I hadn’t walked out and left (although I did threaten to once, under my breath). We had reached the glorious promised land of the weekend, my battle reinforcements had arrived. Not just any weekend either, a bank holiday weekend, three whole days with Carl at home. During the week when Carl’s at work, I feel like a tennis player playing a doubles match without my partner. Balls flying at me from all directions and the distinct feeling that someone is missing. I live for the weekends, when our team is reunited, I stand more of a chance of getting anything done and keeping everybody happy, and when that doesn’t happen, at least I have somebody to laugh about it with.
Saturday started early, Mabel was awake just after 6am and made it her job to make sure that the rest of us were all woken up too. So, we all traipsed downstairs dutifully, to begin the weekend. I was shattered but optimistic, the weather was looking good, Greta’s temperature had gone down, she was still full of cold but I was determined to get us all out for a walk and certain that it would do everybody the world of good. But first, first we had to do a bit of essential maintenance work, clear the debris that storm Mabel had left all over the house, start to put the house (and our lives) back together. The girls needed a hair wash too (snot crusted ringlets are not a good look) and I wanted to take some photos for the blog.
The first two steps didn’t go too badly, Carl cleaned the house and I cleaned the girls….. teamwork. It all went wrong when I tried to make lunch and take pictures of it at the same time. Greta was shattered and just wanted to have a nap, Mabel got bored and started playing up again, and Ernie needed a feed just when the food was ready to be dished up so I couldn’t take the photos after all.
After some tears and grumpiness from pretty much everyone, Mabel said that she was feeling ‘all mixed up’, and I think to be honest, that’s how all of us were feeling.
Fresh air…….fresh air would solve all our problems.
I was exhausted and grumpy. Carl said why didn’t I go for a nap, and let’s face it, that sounded far more appealing than getting three children into car seats which is a feat in itself before you’ve even got anywhere, but I was determined to rescue this week. ‘No’ I said, ‘let’s go out’.
So that’s what we did. By the time we were driving off it was 2.30pm, why when I am on my own with the kids all day does it seem to take an age to get to 2.30, but on a weekend, the day passes in a blink of an eye? But it didn’t matter, we were in the car and we were going out. Greta had a nap in the car, not as much as she needed so she was still a bit grumpy and had to go on Daddy’s shoulders for most of the walk, but at least she had a little nap.
As soon as we got out of the car at the country park I could already start to feel everybody relaxing. Mabel ran ahead excitedly, still asking 100 questions a minute like she does at home, but now they were about molehills, tadpoles and bumble bees, rather than what else she can have to eat and can she watch more YouTube videos on my iPad and why not? Why not? Why? Why? Why?
We found tree stumps to jump on and trees to climb, flowers to pick, birds, ducks and animals to watch, a park to play on, beautiful views….. I got to take as many photos as I wanted and everyone was happy. As a treat (and because it was too late and I couldn’t be bothered to cook), we had McDonald’s for dinner on the way home. We did all of that, got home and put everyone to bed and I realised, we hadn’t had to tell anyone no or ask anyone to stop doing something, not since we had left the house at 2.30. We had had a lovely afternoon and it was just what we needed. The magical powers of being outdoors!
One of the hardest things about being an adult for me, is staying positive when everyone around you are constantly moaning, managing to keep trying to make things better when you’re exhausted and you just feel like giving up and joining them. I’ll be honest, I don’t always achieve it, it’s so hard some days, but I’m so glad we didn’t give up yesterday and we made it out for our walk. Sometimes parenting is just about putting one foot in front of the other.
Fingers crossed for a better week next week and getting back to our normal routine.
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