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? 😦

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

Life is fragile

I saw a person die today, and it reminded me of how temporary life really is. Granted, the lady was well into her later years but does that make her death any less relevant? What if she never achieved the things she wanted in life? What if she didnt want to die alone? What if she still had hopes and dreams? What if, what if, what if?

I didn’t know this person and i’m not going to fib and declare that seeing her pass away will be the catalyst for me to make big changes in my life, but it did make me reassess a few things. It made me realise that i have been wasting way too much of my 81.6 expected years worrying about the small things recently when really i should be focusing on achieving the big things. The ‘really important and will make me happy’ things. These things are different for everyone but for me they’re pretty straight forward – a happy family, a job i can feel passionate about, a few close friends and a good jaunt about the world when the children are old enough to come too.
You don’t have to be a Buddhist monk to incorporate a few Zen principles into your life, just take a moment to evaluate what’s really important in your life and make those things your priorities and stop trying to perfect everything. Instead make each day count:  “Don’t pursue the past: don’t wait for the future. Just do today with all your heart what must be done today. Who can know the death of tomorrow?” (Sutra M.N)

Image credit: Wikipedia/Kanjuro Shibata XX