It was my birthday yesterday.
Except all of our plans were scuppered thanks to a major storm snow Armageddon that came all the way from Siberia to say hello.
We had booked a night away, just the two of us, the first time we’ve put something in the diary since, oh I dunno, years, and when I heard about the upcoming snow slaught, there was a major puss I can tell you. I felt all the more hard done by, because last year’s birthday was spent in A&E with our newborn, instead of in the pub with father of the newborn. That’s two years in a row now of derailed birthdays. It’s obvious the universe wants me to stop aging.
Still, I had a lovely birthday. We bought in a load of groceries, coal, candles and an adequate supply of chocolate and wine to keep us (me) going. Sitting around yesterday, not doing a whole lot, I looked out the window at the fluffy stuff and thought, sure isn’t this grand?
No work to worry about. Sitting in here warm and safe with my family. How else would you want to spend your birthday really?
Slashes spa break with beautiful meal handed to me from mind.
It’s been over a month now that I’m a stay at home Mammy author person. It hasn’t been as straight forward as I expected. I’m getting a lot less done than I thought I would.
When you’re working, you are very productive with your time. Things are organised around your working hours. Bags get packed, lunches made, childcare arranged. You plan things for your spare time; play dates, housework, appointments. The hours you spend in the office, child free produce projects and documents and well thought out content. The commute allows you to catch up with your friends, handsfree, or you can listen to the radio or a podcast, or drive along in silence if you want to. Alone.
I think I’m finding it tough with not being that productive. With not having a routine. With the freedom.
For the first two weeks I flew around doing loads of random stuff, which I told myself, I had to get done IMMEDIATELY. Shelves I really wanted built in my writing room needed to nailed to the wall RIGHT NOW. Presents that I was supposed to buy for people weeks ago had to be got TOMORROW. I put not very important things as deadlines that had to be met and if I didn’t meet them, well then I was failing at this being at home thing.
And then I calmed down. I think the adrenaline started to wane. I actually began… to relax.
When I started to relax, I stopped beating myself up about not doing things. I spend practically every hour of the day caring for my two young daughters. Even when they’re asleep I’m listening for them. There is no off, as we all know, being Mammy.
Not doing things, didn’t mean ‘not doing things’. It meant not getting enough writing done. Not getting enough research done. Not cleaning or decluttering like I’d promised myself. Not exercising or changing my diet or losing weight.
One of my favourite things with the change to homelife is the time I’m getting to spend with the girls. Of course, it’s not all roses and petals and powderpuff diaper bums and I roar at the three year old many more times a day than I’d ever like anyone to know, but it is so lovely too.
They are little pets. Bonnie, the one year old, brings us the most incredible joy. There’s something about her sprit that lifts our hearts. She’s flying around and steady on her feet – her new thing is climbing and she’s giving us heart attacks with her little pixie mountain goat moves.
So far, she and her sister get along amazingly. There’s very little fighting at the moment and they play together all the time, chasing each other around the kitchen table, sitting among a mountain of toys, sharing doddies and chocolate. I’m guessing the dynamics will change as Bonnie beings to talk and it’s not such a little girl / baby divide. At the moment Bonnie gets the rough end of the family sharing stick because she doesn’t know any better and is titchy. I expect the big rows will come when both girls have equal expectations and there’s a failure in the power sharing agreement.
I’m so close to them that the thought of leaving them gives me palpitations. Sometimes we talk about holidays or breaks I and my hubby would like to take without the girls but the thought of leaving them fills me with dread. It’s like they’re part of me – an extension of me – how could you go on holidays and leave your legs behind?
Having said all that mushy stuff, if I don’t get a break from them at least once a week I feel like throwing myself out the window. There is only so much one woman can take.
Doing the weekly grocery shop has become a highlight in my calendar. I love gliding around the aisles, planning meals, doing cupboard stock takes in my head. I’m saving money by knowing exactly what food we have and not buying extra groceries we don’t need.
On a Friday I usually get a few hours to head into town, go for tea, write or run errands. If I don’t get this time, I turn into a very crazy lady. I live for those few, child free hours.
Bedtime is excruciating. Sometimes I’m so tired, I just lie on the sofa and let bedtime tick by because I cannot face going upstairs to get the pajamas and start the whole bloody process again. Because my husband works a lot of nights, I tend to do a lot of bedtimes on my own. With both girls sharing a room, and with only a general routine that can get thrown out depending on who napped when and why, every night is like a pillow rollercoaster. I cannot predict when or if they’ll settle and when and if I’ll get to sit down, on my own.
Late afternoon naps are the devil’s work, but sometimes I can’t do cranky hours in the evening and I let her sleep. There’s always a trade.
I’m cooking a lot more. There was one baking episode. We also made home made slime, which was more for me, than for the child. I find myself doing things just like my Mam did. And I love it. It’s what I grew up knowing. I’m happy to do it. And I feel so lucky to be supported and in a position right now to do this, for us.
Writing wise, things are moving slowly, but at least they’re moving. I feel like a giant waterwheel who is just filling up. I’m hoping once the water reaches a certain point the wheel will tip and I’ll start turning, and writing and filling up my manuscript with speed. That’s what happened the last time.
Not working is allowing me the mind space to think though. I need that to write. I’ve never had to produce a novel under pressure and I’m glad this one is the same. It’ll write itself when it’s ready and my concentration is on getting a very good first draft done, better structured, with more depth, more confident than the last time.
We’ll see how things go.
So, right now, life is good. It’s slow, it’s full of small nice things with small nice people. There are pressures and there are disappointments and there are lots and lots of arguments because really, I’m a very argumentative person.
But I’m usually forgiven.
My life plans are still all there. I might just be on a more meandering path than I expected.
Snowed in? Why not download my novel December Girl for only £1.99 and spend the day reading?
You can get it from Amazon at this link. Treat yourself : )
There really aren’t enough hours in the day (and night) when you’re at home all day with two young kids and trying to actually get anything done, are there? Sorry your birthday got hijacked by the snow. At least you were able to stock up on chocolate and wine though 🙂
You would know all about it! Don’t know how you do it all the time! Good thing is, I’ll get to celebrate the birthday again. And I’m def going to milk it!
Happy belated birthday, Nicci. Sorry your plans got scuppered, but sounds like you found a bit of romance at home.
Ah thank you Derbhile, yes it was lovely. And sure we can still head away again. Might even get the sun this time!
Happy belated birthday! I hope you eventually get to celebrate it the way you had planned.
A belated happy birthday. Sorry your dream day didn’t materialise but it sounds as though you had a good time anyway. I remember well how hard it is with little people. I still don’t seem to get much done and mine are at school all day. And bedtimes, oh my, you have brought it all screaming back. I well remember how blissful those few precious child-free hours are. Hang on in there, it sounds as though you are doing brilliantly.