Being a parent can be hard. It’s exhausting, relentless and it can be, dare I say, boring. Although being a parent is wonderful most of the time, I think every parent at some time or another has wished for a sunny beach, peace, quiet and preferably a margarita in hand! But I’ll tell you a little secret that parents of little ones don’t know or even have time to think about….it does change and get easier; almost overnight and then you will miss those challenges with all your heart.
When you were a baby, I would feed you in the dark so that you could learn the difference between night and day. I didn’t want to wake your dad either so would tiptoe across the carpet to get a clean nappy. You would dreamfeed, all snuggled up against my skin, safe and secure in my arms.
I was chatting to my good friend, Marie. She is lovely and has children of a similar age to mine and she was asking if I was going to have any more children.
What!??! Urrrr noooooooo!!??
You get the picture!
I have amazing children who are now almost grown. I started this blog because I found that although I was working part time, I finally had time to do something else. My parenting days are far from over but my teenagers just don’t physically need me as much and it happened quite suddenly. It crept up on me when I found myself alone one Saturday afternoon enjoying a cup of tea and realised that I didn’t need to be anywhere! It got me thinking about all the things that used to drive me nuts that I was actually now missing. It’s as if my “parenting routines comfort blanket” has been removed and I am now thinking about how I should replace it. I’m feeling sad and possibly hormonal (ahh the menopausal brain) so bear with me!
- Being up early
Oh how I craved a lie-in when the children were tiny! My hubbie and I used to try to take turns having that extra hour in bed at the weekends but it often never worked out that way. The baby would need feeding or we would take the children swimming early to fit in with naps. Having any extra time to sleep became a bit of an obsession! But now we have teenagers who think sleeping is a national sport I just don’t seem to need to lie in! I wake up naturally at 7.30am on a Saturday and although it’s great to be able to take a cup of tea back to bed, the children are asleep for half the day! If we plan to do anything it has to be after lunch really. I miss the early morning snuggles reading that book over and over… There, I said it!
- Children’s TV
This is going to sound bonkers but I miss CBeebies with Tinky Winky, Iggle Piggle and Peppa Pig. I even miss the theme tunes! In my job as a teacher I was always knowledgable with what the children liked when I had small children at home. “Oh yes I did see that episode when Daddy Pig slept outside in the car!” Now, I don’t have a clue and think the fact kids watch some Japanese woman opening Lego on YouTube slightly disturbing! I certainly don’t miss iCarly or some of those tween programmes that my children used to watch but I do miss Good luck Charlie. Charlie was just too cute! It’s now Ex on the beach, Prison Break or Indian cricket (sorry, not for me).
- Buying Children’s clothes
It’s such a chore shopping with babies and young children isn’t it but at least they don’t have a say in what you buy. If you want them to wear that cute piglet suit then they will. If you want to dress them in an old-fashioned sailor suit then so be it! Tweens and teens have a very definite idea of what they like and dislike. I remember trying to persuade my son that shirts that he had been happily wearing for the past 3 years, were smart but no, he just wouldn’t wear one. My children have a monthly allowance for clothes now that we gave them when they turned 14. It saves the aggro to be honest and if they want that Supreme T-shirt that costs £60, then they have to save for it. But, I miss the cute children’s clothes you can buy and having a say on what they wear.
- Going anywhere!
I’m not sure if this is just my children but I miss going on day trips. If I ask my two what they would like to do during the holidays, the only thing we agree on is to go to the cinema or to London. Well, going to London for a day or longer is not really a day trip for us because we would have to find someone to check on the dog. It’s also an expensive day out as we would go on the train and they want to shop! Days out in the ‘Big Smoke’ are therefore, not going to happen often. They also don’t mind being driven to see friends of course but that doesn’t include me or Hubbie! It may also be because I have a girl and a boy so my son may want to go ice skating for example but my daughter would want to go out for a meal. But I miss farm parks and soft play (For little kids). I miss going to the beach (too much sand apparently) or walking in a nearby beauty spot (too cold/wet/boring). Often, we just don’t go anywhere or we eat out. They then complain that they are bored! Hohum.
- Having evenings “off”
I love having my teenagers watching TV with me (especially CSI or Americas Next Top Model) but sometimes I would like an evening “off”. I would like to watch what I want to watch and not have to fight to watch Broadchurch or Gardeners World! With small children they are, hopefully, asleep by 8pm so you can relax and spend some quality time with your hubbie. Well I miss that. Often, my teens are still up when we go to bed.
So there you have it. I love my teens but I miss my babies. Perhaps it’s nostalgia that protects us from the hard times we had with young children? There are many times that I remember feeling tired, overwhelmed and fed up but I still miss it. So, enjoy the times that make you feel tired, over whelmed or fed up because those times don’t last. In fact, they are over in a blink of an eye and then you’ll be looking at the next stage in your life whether you like it or not.
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.
My mum always used to tell us that we must take photographs of our children when they were gappy and toothless. I always thought that was a bit weird. I mean, surely a cute picture of our kids with beautiful smiles was better for the wall? But now, I look back at those photos of gappy grins with great fondness. What a lovely stage in a child’s life and this year, I happen to teach this age group! It’s truly such a joy even when they relish in wobbling those pearly whites in front of me and they make that squeaky noise in the process…
- Although missing teeth, six year olds are not missing out on having a creative imagination and they still see wonder in the world. Children of this age are so curious aren’t they? They are still excited about playing in the woods or jumping in puddles. They love princesses and dinosaurs yet will talk about EastEnders or something that perhaps they shouldn’t!
- They ask so many amazing questions yet have a certain understanding about their world that enables you to have proper discussions. My favourite questions this week include; Why does the colour of people’s skin make some people horrible to each other? Why don’t we all share the food in all the world so that some poor people can have some? I have solar panels on my house so why do we have to pay for electricity when it is free from the sun? What amazing questions! In fact, I had difficulty answering these! I mean, I agree….why don’t we all share the world’s food??
- Six year olds are just gaining emotional empathy and can begin to see things from another persons point of view. They tend to make closer friendships and love the company of their friends. Mummy or Daddy still comes first but certain friends are becoming more important to them.
- With new friendships comes dealing with social dilemmas. I’m always fascinated by watching children play in the playground at how they deal with things. Of course, some parents get worried when their child comes home and retells a story about something that has happened to them in school but it’s so important to allow children to deal with these issues for themselves first if they can. The child who just joins in with everyone. The child who has to be the centre of attention. The child who can’t negotiate roles particularly well but who everyone loves anyway. It’s fascinating and no different to adults!
- I love the way children at this age still believe in magic. They still believe in Father Christmas and fairies. Of course, the tooth fairy is visiting quite a bit and I’m always interested to see how much she leaves! In some households this can be quite a bit more than my tooth fairy left!
I love that children of this age are so eager to learn. The speed of progress is also quite noticeable for most at this age. They just want to know everything. Now if possible. It’s almost as if by losing their baby teeth, they are becoming Proper Little People. Perhaps that’s why my mum encouraged us to take photos of our children at this age. It’s actually quite a milestone. So, enjoy your wobbly tooth brigade as the preteen stage is just around the corner! Oh and take lots of photos as they are handy to embarrass teens……..
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.
You would think that this one would be easy as toddlers and preschoolers do lots of annoying things but I have found this the hardest. I think it’s because I loved my children as toddlers and preschoolers. Now I know this is hard to believe but they were just so cute at this age!
Here are my top annoying things about having toddlers and preschoolers….
- Housework….Every time I tried to wash up, some little person had to “help.” My daughter would spend ages stood at the sink on a chair washing up plastic cups and plates. Shame I couldn’t hire her out actually because she was good! Shame about the floor, her clothes, the chair….It’s the same with any household job isn’t it? Our children are so desperate to help out but it’s sooo annoying as every job takes sooo long. Actually that’s reminded me of another memory….my son didn’t want to wash up. He wanted to stay in the car when I was unloading the shopping and play “driving”. In fact, sometimes I would leave him in there….just for a bit….actually whilst I made a cup of tea.
- Polishing…..OMG I remember my daughter ” helping” me polish once…she sprayed polish everywhere! All over the floors, the windows, the cat….Hubbie came home and nearly killed himself as his work shoes had leather soles….”Hi! I’m home….whoa wtf!” Luckily, he’s great at skating.
- Smearing….polish reminded me of smearing…toddlers love it don’t they?…..paint, polish, food, mud, poo…my friends little boy went through this with poo…if she didn’t get to him early enough in the morning….ugh! Luckily my kids were the opposite….”uuuurg, mummy poo, no poo now mummy!”
- Going to the loo. Mine would never let me go to the loo on my own! It was sooo annoying, especially when we were out. “No, poppet, don’t touch the door! No! Oh sorry…..” Why do they make the door just out of reach in cafe toilets when you’re sat on the toilet?!
- Wanting to walk when you are in a hurry. Toddlers always want to walk when you are in a hurry don’t they? I used to call this “Toddler time'” Everything s l o w s down and you have to look at everything! Kinda cute now I’m thinking of it but highly annoying at the time. Then when you think you’ve cracked it when they are about 21/2 years old they suddenly decide that they never want to walk again and want to spend all day in their buggy….. you can’t win. I remember strangers staring at my huge 4 year old in a buggy walking to collect my oldest from school…. “yes, I know he should walk and yes, he looks about 7 but he’s 4 so deal with it!”
- Tantrums in public places…. a classic but very annoying. The classic in the oldhouse is when I was in Spain with my extended family and my youngest hadn’t slept due to a late plane. We were also late to eat so classic melt down moment. OMG It was the meltdown of the century……my huge 4-year-old boy kicking and screaming and trying to pull out my hair. I wrestled him into the car and locked the doors and sat on the pavement and cried! It was just horrible but the annoying part was being told that perhaps he needed to see a psychologist by a well-meaning family member! Urrr No, he’s tired and hungry and you are extremely annoying!
- Saying, “No!” This is especially annoying because you desperately want to keep them quiet as your life would be so much worse if the other one would wake up! My son used to shout, “No! No! No!” at the top of his voice when he was half asleep……hoohum. “Do you want a drink?” “No!” O.K then….
- Clothes. Toddlers and preschoolers love to be in control don’t they? One thing they love to do for themselves is to choose their own clothes which can be annoying. Shorts in snow? Why not! Spider-Man outfit to a wedding? Super! Actually my sister had this great approach……just roll with it and let them wear what they like! Some of their outfits were so bonkers but those kids have style!
- Reading the same book or doing the same puzzle over and over again….ooh and again for good measure. ((sigh)). I’m only just looking at “The last Noo-noo” with fondness rather than annoyance (and yes, my Reception class also used to love it so I read it AGAIN at school!!)
- Whining. That says it all really.
I actually thought of more than I thought I would! ha ha.
I’m kind of glad that stage is over now on reflection! It was annoying but I do miss my toddlers and preschoolers sense of humour. They were so funny at times! I think I miss the simplicity of their emotions; at least what you see is what you get…..unlike teenagers…….ummmmm.
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.
Ok, so this is about pregnancy, giving birth and having young babies……All these experiences have happened to me and are slightly annoying.
- Avoiding pregnancy was annoying…..take a pill, wear a condom. No! Don’t come there! You know…. but trying to get pregnant on purpose is also annoying. Take your temperature, put your bum in the air, carry your husbands sperm to the clinic in your cleavage to keep it warm…..I’ve done it all and it’s very, very annoying.
- You’re pregnant! After 3 years! But you can’t tell anyone…..now that’s annoying! I did tell my mum, well you would heh?!
- Pregnancy wasn’t how I imagined it to be…..puking at the smell of anything, falling asleep at 6pm but being awake all night, OMG the size of my boobs! Sleeping on the sofa for 4 months due to sciatica and only having one tent dress that fitted. All annoying but it was worth it….
- Listening to birth stories! OMG…why do other woman do this? Hello? I’m already pregnant! My older relatives were the worst……..sooo annoying.
- Nesting. Why do we concentrate on getting the exact shade of lemon yellow for the nursery when we should be doing all the things we can’t do once baby arrives? The annoying thing is, we don’t realise this and continue to worry about the quality of the pram blankets…..
- Giving birth. Look I know that some woman have this life changing, inspiring birth moment and that’s annoying, but I didn’t. So, to the midwife that stuck her hand up inside me declaring my baby was breech, then smiling that I could still do this naturally, you were fucking annoying. Then, to the same midwife who got cross that I was one of “too many” woman to plan a millennium baby who was now crowding the hospital….that was a tad annoying as I had taken 3 years to get to this point! But, to the other sooo kind midwife who told me I COULD do this and breathed with me at 10cm to get the epidural needle in, thank you….I was probably really annoying!
- To the other new mum in the C section ward who sang all night to her new baby when mine actually slept through. Shut up! You were annoying as that was possibly the only nights sleep I could have had in 9 months.
- To my new mum friends….you were soo annoying the way your baby slept through/ate new foods/crawled early/gained a tooth etc etc BUT you were also soo much fun and you kept me sane during those annoying sleepless nights.
- To my boobs….you were annoying because you produced way too much milk which made me wear about four tops per day. All that washing was very annoying. You also were bloody sore at times and looked like a pair of small bald men were feeding my, in comparison, tiny baby. Although to my hubbie, you were far from annoying!!
- To my mirrored wardrobe….I used to be able to see my reflection in the twilight as I sat up to breastfeed at 2/3/4am in those early days as my hubbie lay snoring next to me….you were annoying as I was oh so tired and I could see myself and remember thinking, “I used to be hot…..!”
- To time…. I wished I could have controlled you….at times I wish you would speed up especially when my baby was crying for hours on end! Now, I wish I could rewind you and relive the precious first few months that I never appreciated due to tiredness and lack of experience….time is annoying because lovely times fly by whilst stressful times seem to stick. Hold your babies close and try to look up every now and then. Time makes memories fade…..
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.
The Tale of Mummyhood