It’s sunny today – the first day of proper Spring whether where Summer actually feels like it might be possible. Yet the sun is casting a long shadow. I can’t help feeling time slipping away from me. Next month, the twins will turn four and then it is only a few short months and they will be at school full time. And everything is changing because it will be time for me to go back to work full time as well. Much as I am looking forward to having my own class and a proper wage packet again I can’t help feel sad that this special time with my girls will soon be over.
Although I’ve done part time work and bits and bobs of supply for the last 7 years in reality I have been a stay-at-home mum. It’s been a tough time in a lot of ways but I have learnt a lot.
1. Tidy As You Go
I think one of the big misconceptions about people who chose to stay at home and bring up their children is that they spend their time cleaning and keeping house. Perhaps this is true if you have older children who are at school. With little ones cleaning is impossible. On the days I have spent tidying or cleaning or sorting the washing they have been doing their best to mess up another part of the house. One bit of the house may look tidier but the rest will be worse. Take today: I was making the lunch and the twins had decided to pull out all the clothes from the cupboards upstairs. The fact that you are home all day with the kids actually means the house will be messier. On days when we are out all day it magically stays tidy. The thing is I’ve had to go with it.
I’m not naturally tidy and I never will be but I have learnt to tidy as I go and it does help a bit. rather than spend an hour tidying I do it in little bursts whenever I spot the girls are busy. If I leave it that is when things build up and get too hard to manage. I had a big problem with my sock pile recently, instead of matching all the pairs I just put them in a basket. The pile just keeps getting bigger and bigger until I end up with a huge heap of socks and it becomes a far harder job.
2. Days Are Long
Until you’ve spent the whole day on your own with three children under 5 you have no idea how long a day actually is. Some days feel impossible. You have already played with every toy, read every story and lost every game and you look at the clock and it’s only 8am. By midday you have given into the the chaos and started started fantasising about holidays in Benidorm – for one! People are always telling you to treasure every moment but there are too many moments which you really wouldn’t want to remember.
3. The Benefits of Work
There’s no denying work is hard but there are certain advantages to going out of the house to earn a crust. I don’t think I ever appreciated how amazing it is to have a lunch break. Time actually dedicated to sitting and having lunch in peace – being able to finish a cup of tea before it goes cold and not to have to stop in the middle of your food because your colleague wants to dip their sandwich in your soup or needs you to take them to the toilet. Wearing proper grown up clothes and shoes can be nice as well as carrying a bag that isn’t stuffed with wipes and pairs of tiny knickers.
4. Adult Conversation Is Important
I’ve always thought of myself as an introvert. I love time to myself and the hardest thing with having children in the 3-7 age group is that they talk so much. They don’t stop. The girls start talking from the minute their eyes pop open and barely stop to eat or drink or take a breath. Getting them to be quiet long enough for them to sleep is nearly impossible. With all this chat I would expect to not want to talk again yet talking to an adult who doesn’t start every single with the”Mummy” even though I’m the only person in the room is bliss. Much as I love having conversation about which Disney Princess is the best and why it is important that children should eat their vegetables and wear coats when it is snowing sometimes you want to talk about something else. A proper conversation which does not involve Stampy Longnose or Minecraft or Minnie Mouse.
5. Treasure Every Moment
Ok, I know I said you couldn’t treasure every moment but I’m feeling nostalgic at the moment – so there. I know I will look back on this time with rose tinted glasses and all the funny little things they do, all the cuddles and unexpected kisses, the painting in the garden and the trips to the park as being the best time of my life. I think I will even treasure the tantrums over wearing socks or who goes down the stairs first with some degree of fondness. It is such a short time really – apparently you only have 940 Saturdays from a child’s birth until they leave for college. That’s 940 days to remember.