Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Parenting - the art of survival?

Today I went back into the office for one of my KIT (Keep In Touch) days. Whilst I'm on maternity leave I'm entitled to take ten KIT days in order to keep one foot in the door of my work place without it affecting my maternity pay.

So last night I started my back to work (albeit for one day) preparation for the day that was to follow. Charlie is notorious at the moment for d*cking about in the morning which is painful at the best of times let alone when the pressures of school runs, child minder drop offs and starting work all have to dovetail together before 8.50 am. I am sure it's an age thing but I do find that the more prepared he is the easier the mornings are. A couple of weeks ago before Charlie started school I sought inspiration from my favourite online pinboard, Pinterest for morning routine sheets, a list perhaps of pictures that Charlie could follow one by one in the morning for him to know what comes next. I came across this handy little sheet (link here) that I printed off and laminated (c'mon who doesn't love a bit of laminating!) and it's now stuck outside his bedroom door.

Every morning he follows his "pointy" finger down the chart as we work our way through the list. Ok, don't get me wrong it's not done as quickly as I would like it done but I have to remember that he is only 3.5 years old so should probably allow some lee way! 

For me our morning also only works out if all his school clothes are laid out the night before even down to pants and socks. This also goes for Hector too, baby gro, vest and nappy all ready for whoever does the first change of the morning. 

I love being organised but since having kids I am guaranteed to forget it unless it's written down in some form and I'm not afraid to say it I love a list and I know lots of people say "When do you get the time to do all this?". Normally it's when I'm in the bath or watching tv once the kids are in bed. I am a firm believer that even half hour of planning whether it's what not to forget in the morning or what we having for dinner next week saves far more time then having to think and remember on the spot. 

Well, I managed to get both kids off to their respective places, Charlie to school and Hector to my mums and was even in the office by 8.45 am. A mini victory in my mind, but it really got me thinking, seriously how do these amazing mums and dads who work in the city and out of the area do it? How do they squeeze everything in before getting the train at 8 am? I am incredibly lucky to work within ten minutes of my home and have both my childminder and Charlie's school too within ten minutes drive and I really take my hat off to and admire all those working parents/carers who managed to survive the mornings! 

I'm not sure about you, but after school can also a bit of a danger zone in our house. Combinations of overtired hungry children teamed with the prospect of baths before bed can sometimes just be too much for Charlie, so I've gone back to a routine that my mum did with us when she was home. When I return to work I'll be working Wednesday, Thursday, Friday with Tom picking the kids up after work so this won't necessarily work on those days but at least they will have been fed at the childminders so that's one battle less I have to win. I asked my mum "how did you do it when we were younger?" and now on the days when I am at home with the kids we have that very same routine and that touch wood for now is working for us. 

Charlie is home from school at 3.30 pm and as soon as we are through the door the bath is being run and the oven is on. He's stripped off (mainly so I can get his uniform turned around quickly so I don't have to buy multiple sets!) and the both of them are in the bath by 3.50 pm. I find at this time of the day he's still happy enough to have his hair washed, have a chat etc compared to when I used to do it later just before bed when we would normally have an Oscar winning tantrum. At that time, I too have enough energy to keep them entertained and more importantly it also kills half hour! After bath time, it's pj time before they eat their tea at 4.30 pm. 

Bathtime at Chateau Webb
That's it. Done. All that's left to do for them now is to relax, play, watch tv, mooch about whatever they want to do before both of their bedtimes at 6.30 pm. Now, please don't get me wrong, this will not work for everyone, and I am fully aware that I will not get these special calm bath times to chat through Charlie's day after school with him as it's logistically not going to be possible on the days when I work when I return in January but until that time I'm enjoying it as long as I can. 

So the question I will always ask myself is, will I ever get work and home life balance? The chances are probably not well not as ideal as I will want to see it, but speaking around to other close mummy friends of mine it will get easier. It did get easier with one as they all said so I have full confidence that it will get easier with two of them in time. However, until those days come, I will just have to be more prepared, accept that my plans will go to pot, be more flexible and understanding when little people don't do things as quickly as I would like but know that as each day draws to a close we managed it, we survived, and after all isn't that really what parenting is all about? Survival? 

This Surrey Mummy

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