Letting my children run free

I confess, I’m an over protective parent.

Perhaps its the fact that the increase in news and media platforms have made dangers to children so much more prolific now than times gone by, or maybe its because Xander’s special needs make me want to wrap him up in cotton wool – but my children just don’t get to play outside anywhere near as much as I did when I was growing up. And they’re not alone, it seems.
Recent research from Savlon and Play England shows that children are missing out on the joys that the outdoors has to offer, and on a on a huge scale too, with shocking insights such as 42 per cent of children reporting that they’ve never made a daisy chain, 32 per cent saying that they’ve never climbed a tree, and over a quarter have never even experienced the simple fun of rolling down a hill.

Before we moved to London we lived on a working farm in Hereford – so even though we had all this space around us (80 acres of farmland all to ourselves) I was too scared to let them go outside in case they fell over or put things in their mouth when I wasn’t looking .
Now we live in the beautiful borough of Greenwich, right on the border of Kent,  and we’re surrounded by all these beautiful green spaces and walks and I know that we should be making the most of them, but I’m still making excuses to keep them inside. The result is all of us starting to get a severe case of cabin fever with tantrums galore (from me and the kids) because Xander and Piper are really itching to get outside. My fears of them having an accident are holding my children back, and that makes me sad because I practically grew up outside, playing in dirt, rolling down hills and building dens. I was a total tomboy and spent most of my summers covered in cuts and scrapes.

So based on all of this, I’ve decided to set myself a challenge to let my kids ‘run free’ and give them the freedom that they need to explore the world outside for themselves. To kick this off I’m planning to host a my own event on the 3rd of August, celebrating National Playday. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some of the parents at our nursery involved, which might also be a nice way of making some mummy friends in the area, because I have none!

Are you planning anything for National Playday? Make sure you sign up here, and download your blog badge here. If you don’t have time to host your own event, check the map here to find an existing one in your area. Lets make the 3rd of August a magical day of play that we’ll all remember 🙂

Oh and don’t forget to use the #SavlonPlayday hashtag so we can all link up and swap playday tips!

Disclaimer: Savlon is a client of my employer, but this post is entirely my own.

Update: Due to lack of time, and my children’s nursery mainly consisting of working parents , I won’t be hosting my own event now. Instead I’m teaming up with the amazing Donna at Not Yet A Yummy Mummy and taking the children to run free in Richmond Park. Come and join us if you’re in the area 🙂

Seven words

My lovely friend Alex at Doing it all for Aleyna has created a linky called Seven Words, read more about it here.

The idea is to describe your current life in just 7 words, then explain it briefly.

I waited a few days to post this because I’ve been so emotional of recent and didn’t want my 7 words to be all morbid and sad, but then I realised today that I am a bit morbid and sad, and my words should reflect reality. So …

Coping with grief and healing through writing.

My last blog was a bit of a confession, clear the air, share a secret kind of post. And I realised after reading through the comments that writing can be just as healing as physically talking to another person. Especially when you’re not ready to talk to a real person yet. Not that online people are not real people, but it’s just easier, y’know?

So thats me right now. Trying to cope with grief, trying to heal through blogging.

I’m not ok

The 20th of July should see me holding child number 3 in my arms – instead it will be an anniversary of a child lost. I had a miscarriage just over 6 months ago, and yet I’m still not over it. And I wonder if it’s something you can ever get over.
I suffered with quite serious post-natal depression after both of my children, so I can see the signs, and I can see the path I’ve been falling down these past few months. Pretending it didn’t happen, pretending that I’m ok, pushing negative feelings back inside and not sharing with anyone. I feel guilty and I feel numb. And that’s not good.
This weekend was the straw that broke the camels back. Coming up to what was supposed to be my due date and being in denial, then my hot water tank exploded, I missed my work’s day out, my little guy Xander had an accident at school and both my kids have been acting like monsters in general. Small things adding up and pushing me until I want to put my face into a pillow and scream.

I know I need to do something, I just don’t know what. How do you grieve for a child you never met? How do you move on when you never gave yourself time to deal with it when it actually happened? How do you work through a depression that you’re pretending doesn’t exist?

Image credit: Paqman @ Flickr

Packing them off to nursery

This week marked the childrens first full days in nursery whilst I went to work, and already parent guilt has set in. They spend roughly 10-11 hours a day in childcare, that’s longer than the average working day!
They have breakfast, lunch AND dinner at nursery – so basically they live there and just come home to sleep.
Is this what being a working mum is? I’ve worked since Xander was just a few months old, but I was freelance and could pick and choose the projects I wanted, ones that would let me work from home or just a few days away. Now I’m all grown up and have a full time job in an office and a house in London – freelancing just isn’t secure enough anymore.
Was I kidding myself when I thought that I could do this? I’ve been through tougher times for sure, but nothing plucks the heart strings more than walking away from my children at 7:30 every morning, knowing that I wont see them till at least 6:00 that night.
Am I really strong enough to do this? How do working mums cope with this guilt? 😦

The Enchanted Forest

On Sunday we took the children to The Enchanted forest. No Jokes. It’s just down off the M25. Sadly it wasn’t hugely enchanted, but it was still very fun.
Ferried there by my good friend Mr Belgium, we sailed past places with peculiar names like Bean and Bird in Hand street – it made the 45 minute journey more than worth it even before we got to the magical woods.

Upon arriving at Groombridge I realised that I’d made that age old mistake of not planning in advance. Bad mummy. Not only did we have to pay full price for tickets, but it was also a ‘peak day’ which meant extra tickets prices and LOADS more people than would have usually been there.
The ‘peak day’ in question was Wings Wheels and Wartime, basically an excuse for hundreds of car enthusiasts to get dressed up and show off their shiny vintage cars. Amusingly there was also a turn out from the Harley Davidson contingent. I can’t tell you how I laughed watching bikers swinging from trees, but not loudly enough that they heard me, obviously.

Crusoe's WorldFirst up was a rather long walk along the river to get to Crusoe’s World. This was ah-may-zing. Worth the price of the ticket just to watch the kids climbing like monkeys all over this giant tree house thing. I even managed to rein in my over-protective mummy instincts to really let them run free and enjoys themselves. Apparently the whole structure is a recreation of the TV show Crusoe and uses actual props and artifacts shipped all the way from Africa. Impressive.

Next came another long walk through Dragons nest, Mystic pool, Castle village and the Celtic forest. I’ll warn you in advance that there is ALOT of walking to be had at Goodridge. Upside? Kids slept like the dead that night.

Follow the map round (and uphill, urgh) to the Romany Camp, Fort, Teepee and Swing Walk. Sadly this is where I realised that my camera hadn’t actually been working properly, which is a pain in the ass because not only did I not get loads of cool shots of me and the kids acting like idiots, but this was also where the deer hang out. I got so close to a mother feeding her baby deer that I could almost touch, made my breath catch in my throat I can tell you.

ZeedonkAfter chilling in the Fort (and mummy catching her breath, and oh god did I need to catch it) we made our way towards the Zeedonk, anticipation quickening our tired steps. He was pretty cool, but who’s idea was it to cross breed a donkey and a zebra, really? Humans are just sick.

At this point (almost 4 hours later) children were getting tired and grumpy, mummy was getting tired and grumpy, and the men were in desperate need of a beer. We settled for ice cream, but ended up queuing almost 15 minutes for the pleasure. Probably the only complaint of the day. That and the heat anyway, but can’t blame Groombridge for that.

Other things I couldn’t be bothered to type up were the Dark walk and the Swing Walk, various formal gardens, a fancy house that was the setting for the Pride and Prejudice film, canal boat, vineyard, and birds of prey. And probably loads of other things that we didn’t manage to see because this place really is huge. Definitely one of those places you can visit a few times during the summer and not get bored. Verdict? Great for kids of all ages and adults alike. Take loads of drinks (and a picnic) and be prepared to walk for miles – but its totally worth it.

Image credit: all images borrowed from the interwebs. Thanks Google.

My children

Not much to say today – Just wanted to share a picture of my children. Because I Love them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
That is all.

A New Start

… Aaaaand I’m back.

Updated to-do list:

1. Find house
2. Rent house
3. Furnish house
4. Move children to new house
5. Find childcare
6. Register with a GP
7. Get specialist care sorted for Xander
8. Remember to eat and sleep

The past 3 weeks has been complete madness.  I found and successfully rented a new house, relocated my children from Hereford to London fully and started on the long and perilous journey of being a working mum with 2 young children in a new place.
My eldest child Xander has special needs and this makes things a little more complicated. All of the specialist help he had back in Hereford needs to be found here in London – and that means back to the bottom of the waiting list for everything! Early starts (5am!) and full working days means I’m in bed by 9pm, and my love-life, well, lets not even go there. And yet I’m ridiculously happy.

Anyone that knows me will know that my past year was hellish. Away from my children, struggling to save for a house deposit, getting sick, loved ones getting sick, and so on. But I struggled through. I guess you don’t realise how strong you are until you’re forced into a situation where its fight or lose everything.

Its really not possible to describe the absolute overwhelming pain when life forces you to leave your children behind – for any length of time. Being a parent changes you in deep and unknown ways, and not being able to do the simplest things from having breakfast with my children to reading them a bedtime story left me feeling like I had this huge empty black space inside of me.

So although it quite literally hurts my brain to wake up at 5am, I do it with a smile on my face knowing that I’m waking up to the most important people in my life; my children.

And so begins my new life. Here’s to Happiness and Joy all round.

आनन्द  Ānanda.

Photo credit: Cieleke @ Flickr

I Love the British Museum

Its true. I do. Thank you British Museum, for being so utterly amazing and doing a splendid job of cheering me up.

Yesterday was Date Day with my other half and since it was my turn to choose I went ahead and booked tickets for the Egyptian Book of the Dead exhibit. In case you’re wondering, a book of the dead is (simply put) a sort of spell book containing a collection of texts meant to help ensure safe passage through the afterlife. Think beautiful illustrations and hieroglyphics on thousand of year old papyrus.
Putting aside the slightly annoying pushy people, the exhibit itself was fantastic, displaying pieces up to 3500 years old! I really enjoyed the digital integration, with an introduction video before entering and interactive media throughout, and the Reading Room housing the display was pretty breathtaking. I hear the room and books will be open to the public proper in 2012, yay!

The exhibit ends 6th of March (to make way for an Afghanistan display) so if you want to go along and have a look, which I seriously recommend you do, you best get a-moving!

What women DONT want!

Today my partner gave me a gift of sorts and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. We were discussing possible plans for Valentines Day (yes it’s weeks away but you know what say about the early bird!) and suddenly he produces a voucher cut out from the Sun newspaper. It’s for 50% off at Butlins.

My first reaction is “You read the Sun?!!” and my second is “BUTLINS?!”. For those outside the UK, the Sun newspaper is the one with the page 3 boobs, and Butlins is an incredibly depressing holiday resort chain that parents drag their children to for rainy boring British summer holidays.

Now i’m not going to say that would be the reaction of all women, but the majority would agree that giving us a gift that is in fact proof that you prefer the breast-newspaper over the Times is no better than getting us a Vacuum Cleaner for Christmas. Which by the way is a really bad idea.

I remember the year when an ex actually gave me a new toaster for Christmas. Or the one before that who thought a £15 gift voucher would be a good idea for Valentines Day. I guess there’s a reason they’re Ex’s.

Surely by now, after all these years of evolution, men should have caught on to what’s an acceptable V-Day gift and what isn’t. Stick to the classics unless you’re absolutely positive that your other half really wants those LED undies.

I’m not writing this blog in the hopes that my current love will read this and take note. Honest.

Happy Early Valentines!

Date Day

New Year’s resolution; creation of Date Day.

Once a month my other half and I will dedicate one full day to Us. This does not exclude the possibility of any other days out or activities during the month, but will act as a guaranteed 100% sure thing that other obligations such as work/life/work will not interfere with.

A busy life is good, but one must always make time for the important things. Priorities in correct order. Life balance.

Image credit: gf97127272 on Flickr