So, we recently returned from a family break with 23 of our nearest and dearest! A celebratory family time away that may not have anticipated relaxation but did promise lots of fun. And relaxing in the traditional serene spa way it was not but somehow, I came home feeling completely chilled and raring to go.
Since having our girls (and launching two businesses!) I’ve found more and more that the only way I truly relax is by being away from home. Anywhere suits really, just so long as I have the opportunity to forget the build-up of dust around my once perfectly placed picture frames and trinkets, due to the lack of time I have these days to do, well pretty much anything that feels like an accomplishment. Yes, I know I’m raising two brilliant little girls and that will be the biggest and best achievement of my life but in the daily grind of wiping peanut butter off my kitchen chairs, it doesn’t feel much like the taste of success right now! So, escaping from that reality is the only thing that allows me to truly switch off. Switch off from everything else in life besides parenting that is (Ha! As if parenting has an off switch!). No matter how far away you take me from home, I still have to wipe bottoms and dry tears. And that was no different on this little family break. But something else was different. And funnily, I didn’t realise it until we were twenty minutes from home on the journey back.
The girls had slept most of the journey back and woke up just twenty minutes from home. And that’s when it started. “Mummy, look at this,” “Mummy, look at mine,” came the chimes from the back seat from the twins equipped with their magnetic drawing pads and repeated squiggly drawings I had to pretend to understand. Five minutes in to the attention calls I looked at MuMan and whispered “and we’re home!”
It was at that point it occurred to me why I had felt so chilled. After a crazy week with my crazy family, ranging in age from 0 to 82 years old, I had somehow found a state of [nearish] zen – not because my week was filled with towelling robes and massages but because the twins’ week had been filled with entertainment…that wasn’t me! With many other playmates in one house, they hadn’t needed me [as much]. They hadn’t needed me to applaud everything they were doing…and it was soooo relaxing! I actually managed to have complete conversations during daylight hours and hot cups of tea…and even a sneaky afternoon nap! Utter bliss!
Whether you have little ones like us or are feeling the demands of the summer holidays with older kids, I’m sure you can relate to the need to not be needed sometimes. Sometimes you just need a little break. Like MuMotivate challenged us a few months ago, that 30 minutes of ‘me time’ is often necessary to keep us parents sane. And it certainly made a world of difference to me during that week. So as we speak I am right now taking on the challenge. 30 minutes may be a bit of an ask in this house and it’s not exactly ‘me time’ writing for you guys (though I do find writing therapeutic) so for me it’s in the little things. Today’s being my homemade decaf skinny frothy coffee, with a chocolate heart on top thanks to the little coffee set I found in a charity shop a few weeks ago! The set cost me less than the price of a coffee but has made me feel like I’ve given myself a little bit of extra attention today (even if it is low calorie as per the regime!).
And whilst I’m prettying up my coffee, where are the girls you may ask… watching television! For which I make no apologies. It’s taken me a bit of head manoeuvring to reach this conclusion but the entertainment box is just plain necessary sometimes! Whether that’s for 10 mins or an hour, I don’t believe there’s any shame in recognising you need to put you first for a little while and your kids need entertaining whilst you do it. Unless you have 23 family members lying around the house, sometimes ‘Big Cook, Little Cook’ are all you have to take on the job!
So how are you getting through the Summer Holidays? What do you do to grab a minute’s peace? Are you like that American Mum that went viral with her video of herself eating a treat in the pantry or do you find solace in the little things like my coffee stencil? I’d love to see some of your thoughts in the comments below.
MuMan’s already reminiscing of Summer Holidays gone by in his article this month. Whilst, MuMotivate’s reminding us why we need to keep up another vital habit this summer and MuMatriarch’s filling her Nanny role good ‘n’ proper with some stern but wise advice. Plus, don’t forget to learn more about NLH in our MuMultinational article – as ever, they humbly explain another element of the amazing work they do.
And if all of that still isn’t enough…
I have great pleasure in introducing our newest ‘Bogaziner’: MuMystery.
MuMystery is our teenage friend (yes, it is possible to befriend them!). Have you got a teenage child who’s become a bit of a mystery? Are you struggling to fathom what they’re up to when they’re glued to their phones like their life depends on it? Well our very own MuMystery is going to give you a helping hand. She’s agreed to decipher the mysteries of modern day teenage trends, explaining what they are, how they work and why they’re soooo important. This month she’s starting with SnapChat. If you’d seen my bemused face when she tried to explain the concept of this app to me, you’d believe I was born in the 1920s! Thankfully she agreed to write it all down and I can honestly say I feel a little more prepared for when my two are faced with this stuff… thankfully I’ve got a fair few years to get my head round it yet and I’m relying on MuMystery to help. Due to her age, MuMystery will herself remain a mystery and so writes anonymously for us.