Sometimes you just have to go with it, right? We can plan whatever we like, make arrangements and sort everything out in advance, and then the kids arrive... it's all steam rollered and you kind of have to start again!
My life changed quite a bit last January (2011) when my job was no longer available to me. Despite first reservations, it has turned out to be for the good in the long run. It wasn't what I'd planned, certainly wasn't what I was expecting, but actually, so far, it's all working out ok. You can't buy back the time you have when your children are small, and AltFather and I know that the benefits of me being with them at home are going to far outweigh the cost of the things that we are going to have to go without to allow that to happen. I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity, which I know isn't available to everyone, and isn't the choice that everyone would make, but I love it.
Every day is full of the unusual, often preceded by a small voice telling me:
"Unfortunately, Mummy..." in that funny grown up way that AltD1 has of speaking. She's so serious! This blog isn't usually all about what I have been doing with my day, but last Friday was an amazing day I just wanted to share.
AltFather had the day off work, and we made a trip to a fantastic local outdoor Lido. Olympic size main pool, heated and sparkly, with two children's pools, a fountain and icecreams. If you're ever in the area, it's well worth a visit! We swam and we paddled, jumped in and out, splashed and sploshed in the sunshine until our heads were heavy and our eyelids drooped [and that's just AltFather and me!] and it was time to go home.
AltFather fancied a bike ride so we dropped him off half way and I drove home with my sleepy girls in the car. Small snores emanated from the back seat almost as soon as the engine started, and they carried on all the way back to our house. And so they continued from AltD1 as I carried her in and transferred her to the sofa. AltD2 pottered happily on the carpet. She had woken refreshed, her batteries recharged in the manner of a Nokia mobile phone - just enough from her 15 minute snooze to keep her going for a while more. After about an hour, the doorbell rang and slightly muddy AltFather had returned. The girls were both awake, we were all a bit hungry, it was a beautiful balmy evening...
AltFather dashed through the shower, we scooped up a blanket and two small girls, popped them in the car... and headed up to the Common for fish and chips and this:
"It's rather lovely to be going out after bed time, isn't it?" AltD1 could barely contain her excitement! It was spontaneous and spur of the moment, but one of the best days of the summer so far. I'm so glad we just went with it! Shame the late bedtime didn't lead to a lie in the next day, but ho hum.
All too often I find myself muttering under my breath the parental mantra "This too shall pass, this too shall pass", often in response to an explosive and passionate moment with AltD1, or a strange and unexplained babyphase from AltD2. The thing is, it will pass, all of it, the bad and the good. What we'll remember best are the things like exciting evening picnics of fish and chips on the common after bed time, or the fact that Mummy was able to spend the summer before AltD2 arrived just doing stuff with AltD1.
Even if it's unexpected or unplanned, it might just be for the best in the long run. Because life is the long run, and it will all be ok in the end - and if it isn't ok yet, then it isn't the end!