The thing I struggled with most when T was a baby – apart from the sleep deprivation (he never slept) and the constant sickness (he had reflux) – was my lack of ability to be anywhere on time and not having any routine at all. I am an excellent time keeper (I was even ready too early for my own wedding) and I was used to the routine of first going to school and then work. As a new parent I hated not being able to say “I’ll be there at 10am” and actually manage it.

I know it’s the same for every new parent and my situation was not unique but ever since we started getting into regular feeds and then (oh joy) regular naptimes (he still didn’t sleep at night, but that’s another story) I have loved being back in a routine. Then, he started playgroup and school and then A came along and it was easier because she had to fit in the with the established routine. And it’s pretty much been that way ever since.

School holidays are lovely, but I always used to get to a point where I needed to get the routine back and have some order to my life. But this Christmas is the first time that I can remember being truly sad about school starting back and work in the office resuming. Am I starting to appreciate my time with the family more? I do love our family time now that the children are older.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked them when they were really little but now that I can have a decent conversation with them and not have to do every single thing for them it is definitely much more enjoyable. I’m not a natural carer (my mum will dispute this). I care, I love them with every ounce of my heart, but I do get wound up by constant demands and am not the most patient of people, so get quickly frustrated with unnecessary dramas and upsets.

So, now that they are older and more self-sufficient and the dramas and upsets are fewer (or, at least, they are different sorts of dramas and upsets which are easier to deal with?) I find myself enjoying family time more and more. Less stuff to take out with you; less hassle about where to eat; no need to factor in naps and feeds. Just two pretty interesting young people to spend time with and chat to and have fun with. Better films to watch together; better conversations; better books to read. I’m making the most of all this before the dreaded teen years, Oh, bugger. About six months to go then.

So, yes I am sad to lose the lazy mornings and impromptu outings and the simple, easy evenings eating crackers and cheese and watching movies. And I am looking ahead to the next time we can do it all again……..

. …….just not February half term as I will be working and feeling guilty about all the things I could be doing instead.

And so the cycle continues.


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