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42-16072097Most of the time I feel like I’m operating on a completely different time zone to my children. They never want to eat when I want them to, or get dressed, or have a bath, or – God forbid – go to bed!

Similarly I find that I am rarely ready to wake up in the morning when they want me to. Nor do I find I want to be used as a trampoline when they think it’s a good idea. And,¬†of course, as soon¬†as I want to work, that is when they want me to play!

And on those occasions when I am running late or in a hurry I find those are the precise times when they decide to be as awkward, obstinate and downright difficult – isn’t that strange! When I want them to walk they run. When I WANT them to run, they dawdle. Why IS it that our timings never seem to match?

I am sure, in years to come the problems will be different but still as frustrating. Then they won’t want to get up in the morning or come home at night when by the time I set as curfew. I can only hope that at SOME point in our lives we find ourselves operating in a similar time zone and enjoy doing the same things at the same times!

42-16988726Last week I caught up with an old schoolfriend who I hadn’t seen for 15 years. She¬†had hardly aged a day¬†and¬†we chatted like¬†it had been days, not years, since we last met.¬†¬†And it got me thinking – do we really change that much from the child we used to be? And if we don’t, then maybe¬†revisiting the dreams we had then could¬†be the key to¬†the happiness we seek as adults.

As a child I liked to draw, paint¬†and make things. My favourite subject at school was English and I¬†liked writing stories and funny poems about my friends, and then illustrating them. But my real love was books.¬†I would make tickets for my Ladybird books and line them up on my windowsill, sometimes alphabetically, sometimes in order of colour. When I grew up I didn’t want to be a Nurse or a Ballet Dancer – I wanted to be a Librarian!¬† I pursued my love of books to University¬†where I¬†studied English Literature. But there the¬†trail ended.

Caught up in various dead-end admin jobs I stumbled my way into Marketing, where I was again writing, but only technical instructions, and drawing, but this time using DTP programmes to design wiring circuits and application diagrams. The books, the stories, the poems and the drawings were all tucked away.

That was until 4 years ago when my first child was born. Now the house is again full or story books, crayons and¬†colouring books. The time has come to dust off the scissors, the glue and the glitter. I can’t wait to share the books I loved, and to discover new ones together.¬†After 18 years in the wilderness¬†I feel as though this rediscovery of the things I loved could very well be the key to being a happier and more fulfilled¬†‘grown up’.

As an adult it’s all too easy to get bogged down in what’s practical and what we ‘ought’ to be doing – but true happiness comes when we do what we love. So maybe we¬†could all learn a lesson from¬†our 9 year old selves about what we should be doing with our lives?

j0438639It’s the holiday season, and next week we are off on a short break to the seaside. I love the concept of holidays as much as the next person, but¬†please tell me¬†I’m not the only¬†mum who also finds them quite stressful?

Years ago a holiday meant a cheap 2 week deal somewhere foreign and sunny and a chance to read, sunbathe, eat, drink and sleep. Nowadays going on holiday is more work than staying at home!

First of all there is all the pre-holiday preparation. Washing and ironing all the clothes we want to take away – and for a holiday in the UK that means shorts, T-shirts, jumpers, coats, sandals,¬†wellies¬†– the whole caboodle. Plus there’s the forward-planning – remembering to cancel the milk, running down the fridge, but making sure we still have all the essentials¬†we need¬†for when we get home.

Then there’s the endless list making – all the things we simply can’t afford to leave behind, despite the fact we are only travelling 2 hours up the road and you’re never¬†more than a¬†few miles from a¬†Tescos these days!¬† And not¬†forgetting all the child-related equipment that alone takes up the entire boot of the car.

Thirdly there’s the cleaning. We have 2 cats and are fortunate to have parents who live close by who are happy to cat-sit. But knowing that there will be a stream of visitors in my house while I’m away means I have to add a full spring clean to my already crowded¬†To Do list.

Then, of course, there’s the weather. The constant checking of the Met Office website, the ringing of hands and the gnashing of teeth as we¬†worry about whether the¬†sun will shine.

And lastly there’s the ‘expectation’ – that somehow just because you are on holiday everything will be perfect.

Then, when we get home, it starts all over again –¬†¬†the post-holiday washing and ironing, the shopping for groceries to restock the cupboards – by which time I’m feeling utterly exhausted and¬†in need of¬†another holiday – aaarrrggghhhh!!!

At least, being in partnership,¬†I am in the fortunate position of not having to worry about work while I’m away. But for those working mums who also have to put in place a contingency for dealing with clients or orders in their absence, the holiday presents yet another formidable challenge. Yet¬† they do it – and they do it brilliantly.

So, what about my holiday stress? I guess if I went away on my own to a nudist colony I wouldn’t have to worry about the packing and my other half and the kids could spend the week looking after the cats in an untidy house! But that would mean going on a pre-holiday diet and body-buffing regime of extreme proportions!

Suddenly all that washing and cleaning doesn’t seem quite so bad……

So, here we are.

We have officially landed on the Planet Blog.

The landscape is a bit unfamiliar but the locals seem friendly so I’m sure we’ll¬†be just fine!¬†Like any mum¬†I need to get my bearings,¬†do a quick ‘toddler risk assesment’,¬†then put¬†the kettle on and mull things over with a nice cup of tea. Back soon (now where are those custard creams…….)


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