I managed to grab a spare moment this morning; Dave’s taken one child to the tip (with rubbish, not just to drop off the child!), another is eating snacks and watching Netflix and the third is napping, the house is as tidy as it’s likely to get with all the new toys and although there are still jobs on the to do list, I made the executive decision to leave it. So here I am, complete with Coke Zero and a mild sense of guilt that I should be doing something else. Life seems to have runaway with me recently, and whilst I had all these good intentions to spend more time on here whilst off on maternity leave, it just hasn’t been the case. Turns out life with three children is pretty manic… why did nobody warn me?! Anyway, with a spare hour or two I thought it might be a good chance to get in a little life update before the new year kicks in and we’re back to work, school and the hustle and bustle of daily life again.
So what’s been going on lately? I think the last time I did any proper update was around the children’s birthdays back in June! I wrote about the arrival of number three and our home birth and shared updates on the biggest one and the middle one respectively and that was it… that was six months ago! Lots has happened since then but also it feels like no time has passed at all, so let’s see…
When I think about it, we’ve managed quite a bit this year! We’ve done a major building project resulting in a whole new wing of our house and three different rooms moving. We’ve been to Cornwall with family, Cornwall just us and North Devon. We’ve spent weekends at the beach, in the woods or just off exploring. We’ve been to the zoo, managed to get all the kids swimming regularly and sort out a bit more of the garden! Mostly this year we’ve spent the time at home, whether that’s because we’ve had to or we’ve wanted to, and it’s been perfect. Pre-pandemic we were seriously looking at moving homes but the last (nearly) two years we’ve come to really love where we are and the home that we’ve created – plus we had a baby here, literally in the front room. If that doesn’t tie you to a home, I don’t know what will! Strangely for us, we don’t have any plans in place for the next year; no holidays, days out or babies on the horizon… I think that’s the first time for a long time. If you didn’t know me better you’d think I was enjoying a slightly slower pace of life; turns out it’s quite nice (plus, life with three small children is never dull!).
Oh I had all the intentions of sharing more of our reno story on here but again, turns out that the combination of homeschool, pregnancy and work alongside building work isn’t a joyful one. Then that turned to a newborn, maternity leave and more building stuff and it’s been rather crazy. I think it’s safe to say that the building work is all done and we’re settled in to the newest part of our house. We’re slowly adding bits and pieces, with the wardrobes being fitted (and then re-fitted thanks to some errors) in November! I can’t tell you what a lovely difference it’s made to our home and yet it feels like it’s always been here. We’ve finally finished moving the children around into their final rooms and now I feel a huge sense of calm when I stand at the top of the stairs at night – we did it! We even managed to put up blinds in the hallway after eight years of living here! Hurrah! The downside is that now I walk into some of the older rooms and am itching to re-do them but with three messy kids in tow and the dog, it feels like we should leave it a little longer before investing in new carpets and sofas downstairs… I bought some new throws to cover the stains instead though… that’s nearly as good, right!?
It’s hard to believe that in less than a month I’ll be heading back into the office again having finished maternity leave. Gotta say, this bit is never easy and there’s been a lot of emotional turmoil this time around surrounding going back and my feelings on things. In the past I’ve found that the thought is always worse than the reality so lets see how it goes once I’m back in – fingers crossed it’s nowhere near as bad as I think it will be. For now, my big worry is that I won’t actually make it back in thanks to home working policies! I feel like I’ve barely been in office for the last two years after working from home, then doing a mix of the two (whilst pregnancy so super cautiously), then enforced home working for the final trimester and now here we are… a whole mat leave later! I’ll be going back to the same role and the same hours which means the baby is starting nursery (gulp!) whilst the other two are at school and pre-school – that feels like I could write about fifty posts on that as well. But mostly, where has this mat leave gone?! In the next few weeks I have to sort out the breastpump, find smart-ish clothes that fit (like I said, it’s been a while) and work out how on earth we’re all going to get up and out of the house on time. It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine.
In the interests of keeping this fairly logical and not too rambly I’ll start with the biggest; five, full of attitude but still little, you know?! Growing up is tough isn’t it? I feel like as the eldest myself, I can sometimes relate to the range of emotions that he goes through – it’s hard being the biggest one! Balancing his needs with the younger two means that he’s often left to his own devices or has to wait and I think I’ve said before that patience isn’t one of our strong points. This year I feel like he’s grown up a lot and the leap to year one whilst big has been a huge catalyst for him; he wants to learn everything! I know that in time this will change so we’re trying to make the most of it whilst it lasts, the kid is a sponge! Despite all that I try to remind myself that five really isn’t that big and that obviously he’s going to still be dealing with emotions and things he can’t understand. I hope this next year is a little more normal for them, it feels like he’s missed out on so many moments that he should have had due to the pandemic – all of the fun bits of starting school and the infant years; no birthday parties or playdates apart from the odd one here and there – I am reaaaaaalllly hoping that this next year he gets to make up for all of that! Loves a hug, still comes in our beds at least a few times a week and is proper cheeky.
Number 2 has kept us on our toes this year both with sass levels and illness. This year she started at the ‘big school’ in the pre-school which means she’s sharing a class with reception and she looks both tiny and huge at the same time – she loves it. She’s come into her own in terms of confidence and is either busy bossing us around or we’ll find that she’s quietly snuck off upstairs to be in her own space or play alone. She’s full of energy and yet also has been really poorly again this year resulting in another week of hospital stays and a childhood asthma diagnosis for now. We’re hoping that she’ll grow out of it and can be weaned off of her inhaler in the next few months, but who knows. Honestly, I’ve got to say that having that and a pandemic based on breathing difficulties has been pretty stressful and I feel like I’ve worried a lot about her, how to keep her safe and how to allow her to do normal things – parenthood is fun isn’t it!? Recently we’ve put in her school application, moved her into her own big girl bedroom and she’s moved up a car seat; I feel like my baby is no more!
Which makes the arrival of number 3 a real blessing. Arriving just a few hours after his due date, this boy has been a real joy this year. I feel a bit sick at the thought of not spending every day with him; maternity leave this time has been quite insular thanks to trying to be cautious and being busy with the other children, I don’t think we’ve done anything really beyond bash around the house and walk a lot! It does feel like he gets ignored at times but it makes those snuggles with him at naptimes even more glorious and I cannot believe how quickly they go from a teeny tiny newborn to a whopping great big baby that’s crawling and close to walking! As I mentioned, he starts nursery in just a few short weeks and that feels like a huge step again… gulp! He’s robust, independent and possibly the most smiley baby I’ve ever met… that grin!
It’s been a year hasn’t it! Between the homeschool and the house and the various lockdowns, oh and a pregnancy/baby, I feel like this year has been a bit of a blur of everything. I feel very old and tired at the moment; I think it’s the lack of routine that does it to me! I feel like I’m ready to start to get a bit of myself back again after a year at home and I’m excited to carve out a bit more of a schedule for us once back to work. In December I started going to a personal trainer to get a little support with how to work out in. a way that would help my body feel less of a wobbly blur (my core muscles are non existent after baby number three!) and it feels good to do that each week! I’ve been trying to read more, go on my phone a little less and make small changes that I can keep up with; nothing drastic here this time! This year I’ve definitely found that my patience is a little less and my confidence is not as strong as it used to be, resulting in a lot of self-doubt at times – being a parent is hard work, isn’t it? Especially a mum! I’ve found this maternity leave a lot harder to deal with and I know that a lot of that is probably down to those insecurities so it’s time to work on them… can’t expect to raise self-confident, happy kids without trying to practice what I preach to them can I!? That said, I could 1,000,000% do with more sleep. So much more sleep. I miss it!
With going back to work I’ve not thought much beyond the next couple of weeks as I think the next few months will be a big adjustment for us. I can’t wait to get it all settled in now and I really hope that 2022 is going to be an awesome year for us; no big projects or new arrivals, just lots of lovely family time with my (not so) tiny tribe in tow! I think I have a couple of resolutions but I’m not a huge believer in them… I am trying to set some clear goals though for this year, let’s see if those work out. If I get a chance I’ll try to jot them down, I love nosing at other peoples!
Happy New Year! x