I have had a week off work this week to spend the second week of the school holidays with my boys.
For the first time in a long time, and much to the boys delight, I have totally avoided work. No phone calls or checking of emails. In fact, as we went away to Phillip Island for four days, we had very little screen time (other than movie nights) and lots of time for making memories. Mini golf and mazes, magic shows, chocolate factories, animals – Phillip Island has so many great family activities. At the end of the four days after much fun, laughter and time for connecting with each other it felt wonderful to hear the boys say how they would miss the holiday and how much fun they had.
Today, being the first day back home, I was doing housework and getting myself organised when I noticed my youngest just sitting in the driveway looking around. I called out to see if he was ok and he ran over and said “come look at the clouds Mummy”. This turned into nearly an hour of sitting on the driveway with him and his brother talking about what pictures we saw in the clouds, looking for planes and endless games of eye spy.
Sometimes making memories can be from grand gestures, holidays and amazing activities. Often though, it is from the simple things that fill us with happiness and laughter. It is so easy to forget how important giving time to our children is – and how simple it can be to make a memory.
Those who read my last post would now that after I had some surgery done my parents had come to stay to help me out for a few weeks as I was very limited in what I could do. And that my children were struggling a bit with the change of routine.
Today after three and a half weeks my parents have gone home. I have greatly appreciated the help they have provided as well as enjoying the break from being the only cook in the house. However today as I worked from home in a silent house I realised how quickly I have adapted to being the only adult in the house. To being able to set things up how I want them, run the house in the way that works for me and my boys, and not be judged for my crazy OCD like moments. My mum was shocked that all of my pegs are one colour and that my ensuite vanity is always set up with everything in exactly the same place. Surely I am not the only one with odd quirks!! Thank goodness I didn’t mention I need the TV volume to be on an even number.
I have been separated for two years next month and while it was strange at first after being married for 12 and a half years I have very quickly adapted to being on my own. We have set routines that work for the three of us, our life is crazy and busy but we all get each other. We drive each other nuts one moment, and the next minute are having a dance party in the kitchen. And most importantly have a house full of cuddles, laughter, fun and forgiveness.
So this morning when I got home from dropping the boys off at school I made a cup of tea and took ten minutes to sit in silence on my own for the first time in weeks before starting work.
And how did the boys and I spend our first night back to just the three of us? Eating bowls of pasta in the lounge room while we watched TV before reading books together in our pajamas – Perfect!!
I am a single working mother with two young boys. On the three days I travel into the city for work we leave very early in the morning and return home quite late. On the days I don’t travel to the city the boys have after school extra curricula activities. Therefore routine and structure is very important in our life to keep the wheels turning. We work well as a team and the boys know what they are expected to do. Not too much but enough to help out, support each other and keep our little family unit happy and healthy.
Some would say I am a bit controlling and a bit OCD in nature (which I probably am) but much of this stems from necessity due to the current circumstances of our life. There is a very fine line for us before it all turns to chaos.
In the past I have wondered whether the routines and structure work well for my boys, they get plenty of downtime on the weekend but not during the week. Does this allow them enough freedom and time to be themselves?
One week ago I had to go into hospital for surgery and my parents have come to stay and help with the boys and the house while I recover. With me gone for two nights while in hospital it was a big change to routine for the boys on top of them worrying if I was ok and when I was coming home. Even once home I could do very little and was quite tired and sore and for two loud boys to try and stay quiet is difficult. To add to this my Dad can be quite strict and expects things done quickly and efficiently.
Five days into all of this my youngest (six years old) pulled me aside for a “private chat”. He cuddled into me crying and told me that Grandad keeps getting mad and he is doing what he is supposed to do just not how Grandad wanted it done. I asked him if he was upset because everything was a bit different this week and not like normal. That ended up being the main issue.
So I guess my routine works….or at least helps the boys feel secure in what is going on around them.