This Week: What a Difference the Weather Can Make

This week has been a strange one. Not because anything particularly unusual has happened, but because I’ve felt really contented. And contentment is something that has often been in short supply lately, whilst dealing with infertility, IVF and then miscarriage.

This week, however, has been different.

It started with Mother’s Day. A lie-in breakfast in bed for me, along with plenty of cuddles and sloppy kisses from my favourite little man. We spent the day at my parent’s, which included a massive trip down memory lane with all my old 1970s and 1980s Fisher Price toys. Thomas was in absolute heaven. So much so that he really didn’t want to come home!

photo(28)

IMG_2335

IMG_2344

Monday was a work day. The 31st March marks the end of our contract year, and this year I went right down to the wire but finished exactly on my target, which was a satisfying feeling. And it means the start of a period of a few months with less pressure, which is always good news!

Tuesday is one of the days I stay at home with Thomas. And this is really where the week took a turn for the better.

I’m definitely the kind of parent who is better off working. Not only does it make a big financial difference to our family, but it absolutely makes me a better parent on the days that I devote solely to that task.

I can’t lie, I find spending the whole day in the company of a vivacious toddler extremely challenging. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy it, but I struggle to know whether I’m doing enough, providing enough. Or leaving alone enough. I struggle to come up with activities to fill the hours and wonder, like a lot of mothers I’m sure, whether there isn’t a bit too much television usage. Don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with Thomas, but the relentlessness of his personality is difficult at times, especially whilst he still demands so much constant interaction.

As winter has progressed, it’s got slowly more difficult to get through the days without a nagging sense of guilt or failure. As Thomas completely dropped naps and there were extra hours to fill. As outdoor activities, including the park and feeding the ducks, became out of bounds (thank you flooding) and even popping to the library was more difficult because of the protests (for which read: leg kicking, fist-pummelling melt downs) that came with putting on wellies and a coat, I developed a bit of a sense of being trapped.

This week, however, something amazing happened. I had what I can honestly say were probably my best two days of at-home parenting in a very long time – possibly ever.

The difference? The weather improved. And suddenly the garden, which we spent months painstakingly overhauling last summer (new walls, new patio, new beds, new lawn, new decking – the works), suddenly became an extra, usable room.

So, on Tuesday morning we met a friend for coffee and then joined our usual music class. The moment we got back home, Thomas was out in the garden. Playing in his playhouse and with his giant pull-along train. Kicking a ball around. Climbing up the slide over and over again. Sweeping our deck and digging in the dirt with whatever implements he could find. He insisted that lunch be a picnic in the garden. I cleaned out an re-filled the sandpit, and he dug, sculpted and poured with glee.

IMG_2379

IMG_2382

IMG_2393

As he played, I was able to get on with tasks in the kitchen, which has big double doors that open on to the garden. I did some prep for dinner. Tidied out a long neglected cupboard. Even made a drink. Whilst I can, and do, do jobs around the house whilst he is playing indoors, he seems more likely to stay absorbed when he is out in the fresh air. I took breaks between my tasks to join him in his play.

I felt like the kind of mothers I dream of. The ones that shine out from the pages of magazines, but I’ve always thought don’t exist. The day felt like an absolute pleasure. I didn’t feel guilty about what I was offering to Thomas. And I didn’t feel guilty that I wasn’t achieving any of the things on my endless to-do list. Because I was doing it all.

I don’t mean to sound smug. The feeling was just so novel. So pleasant, happy and enjoyable.

We ended the day with a visit to our fertility clinic for a follow-up (more on that soon – probably) and in the meantime Thomas dragged his poor Grandpa (my Dad) on an epic park trip. We came back to find him eating dinner in the garden. The only tears of the day came when it was finally time to come inside.

Wednesday is my second at-home day. Buoyed up by Tuesday’s successes we fitted in more garden time before heading to our local library for ore-school story time, which also includes an arts and crafts session. We popped to the shops afterwards and then began to walk home via the park. The involved walking past the local swimming pool, which has just re-opened following a three month closure.

On a whim, I decided to pop in and see about re-registering Thomas for swimming lessons. It turned out that they had a class we could join in about 90 minutes. The problem with that was needing to get home (and I’d already promised the park) eat lunch and then come back. So I elected not to start until after the Easter break.

The problem with that plan was that Thomas had decided that he really wanted to go swimming. As we left the building, his little bottom lip stuck out and began to wobble. Slowly his face crumpled in to a cry.

“But I want to go swimming mummy” he wailed.

So a quick negotiation followed. No park, but we could go home and them come back to go swimming.

Thomas upheld his end of the bargain by not uttering one single protest as we walked straight past the playground on our way home. And we enjoyed a good swim, plus a shared piece of cake afterwards. The good weather allowed us to fit in the promised park trip after swimming and dinner in the garden again.

I know that children don’t need lots of activities in their life to be happy, or to develop well, but Wednesday seemed to strike a balance of being full enough to keep us both happy, and for the second day running I had no sense of guilt, or worry. In fact I had no cause to think at all about what sort of mother I was being. I was just busy being one. A happy one.

I simply felt content again.

Thursday and Friday were work days, and Friday night saw a rare night out with friends and a few drinks.

The week came full circle yesterday, with yet more garden time. We started with a trip to the garden centre (always hours of fun for a toddler!) and then spent the afternoon cutting our lawn, before feeding and over-sowing it, installing new solar lights and, most importantly of all, planting up my brand new floral border, which I managed to keep lovely and neat despite Thomas’s “help”. I was trying to channel my Grandmother and her green fingers. I’ve been so looking forward to having a proper garden, rather than the tip of mouldy astro-turf and broken concrete that was left by the previous owners. I really feel that it finally paid off and I absolutely love our little garden now.

Gardening

Oh, and perhaps the most exciting thing of all – we also bought a new car yesterday. You know when you’re “just looking”… Yeah, we’ll, that didn’t happen. Our new wheels will be arriving in about eight weeks! But it turns out that car dealerships can be added to garden centres in the list of places that toddlers love. So many cars to look at, and so much space to run around!

Congratulations if you’ve got this far, in the epic tale of my week. I did not realise this would end up quite so long, but given everything that has happened in the last couple of months, achieving this level of happiness is something to be celebrated and remembered.

I’m also linking up, for the first time in ages, to Hannah’s That Was The Week: Captured Linky

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

8 Replies to “This Week: What a Difference the Weather Can Make”

  1. What a lovely post to read! So glad that you’ve had a week of peace and happiness. It really is amazing how the changes in weather can make you feel good/bad respectively. When the sun comes out everything is better 🙂 Love your garden too – that’s on my wishlist for our house (if we ever find one!) x

    1. Thank you Ruth. The surreally does make things feel very different.

      This is the first garden we’ve had, having moved here from a flat in London. It was possibly the biggest single projectaboutthe whole house, but I’m really pleased with it. I have some before/after pictures that I really should post sometime. Good luck with your house hunt!

  2. I’m a stay at home mum and I really struggle to come up with things to do at home sometimes. We do rely on the tv a lot, but I don’t feel guilty as my children have learnt so much from particular programmes, as did I as a child.
    I’m so glad you had a turn around this week and you were able to get out. It’s lovely to feel so positive when it comes to your own parenting.
    Mothers Day sounds wonderful too.
    Your new car sounds exciting! Well done x

    1. I’m truly in awe of stay-at-home mums. I know I’d cope if I was at home all the time, but I have no idea how! TV does get a lot of bashing, but I know it has a big value too. Thomas has learned so much just from watching Thomas and Friends – and it definitely fuels his imagination and role playing! I think TV is another one of those things parents are made to feel guilty about, and it’s a bit silly really. But all that said, I much prefer being able to get outside!

    1. My parents have kept so much and I’m so glad. They’ve recently begun turning out their loft and getting all this stuff out for us.the only problem is I’m quite sentimental and like to keep lots of stuff too, so now I’m acquiring all this stuff back, I have absolutely no idea where I’m going to put it all. Need a bigger house, never mind a new car!

    1. Thank you Hannah. I’m so proud of our little garden. A neighbour popped by a few days ago an also complimented me on it, which is always nice 🙂 Will try to link up again when I can!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *