We are still house sitting for friends. Their house is about 45 minutes drive from ours and in the countryside which is rather lovely. They have some chickens, a dog and a couple of cats so it’s more pet sitting than anything. We had a lovely couple of weeks over Christmas while Gareth wasn’t working but this week he’s gone back to work (so is staying in Sheffield during the week) and I am exhausted!
I have a serious amount of respect for any parent who manages alone, especially when they have a baby, it’s the first time I’ve really felt like this is a FULL TIME job.
My day at the moment starts at 7am, we’ve recently started a routine so I’m trying to stick with it. I set the alarm for 7am but am usually awake and feeding Arthur when it goes off. It’s fairly cold in the house and as we don’t want to empty their oil tank we just have the heating on a little every day, for this reason we’re all sleeping in one room as it’s warmer. I confess I feel happier having the boys in the room with me in a strange house, it feels a bit like camping but with comfortable beds.
Once up the first job is to clean out the ash from the log burner and get it lit, it’s good to keep one room in the house warm (we do the same at home). I get the boys and and I breakfast and then we get dressed. The chickens (and our guinea pigs and rabbit) need feeding at this point so we go and do this, saying hello to the neighbours horses on the way. I also need to get coal and wood in for the day. We then usually have a couple of hours playtime, making train track or we get the cars out. We haven’t got many toys here but enough to keep them amused.
At 10.30am (routine again) we have a snack and then the 2 year old goes back to bed for a nap while I do something nice with the 4 year old. I only let him sleep for an hour (left to it he would sleep for hours!) and then it’s time for lunch. We get something to eat and then head out into the woods with the dog. It’s lovely as it’s right on our doorstep and there are covered rocky areas which are always dry if it’s a wet day. We only avoid going if it’s very windy. Trying to get them to walk home again is often a challenge and we usually pretend we’ve been on a bear hunt and we’re rushing home.
Once home Cbeebies is my savour as they can watch something while I feed Arthur and then cook dinner. We then eat dinner together, with me trying to encourage the use of cutlery! After dinner they can watch something again while I tidy round and wash up.
At some point I try and encourage them to put the toys away before putting pyjamas on and brushing their teeth. We read stories before bed, the 2 year old goes first at 7pm and then the 4 year old about 15 minutes later. My 4 year old is going through a very challenging time and bedtime has gone back to being a nightmare. This week I’ve simply been going to bed when he does, it’s easier feeding Arthur laying in bed (he feeds all evening). The boys are quickly asleep so I lay in bed reading until I’m ready to sleep. Arthur feeds every hour or two but I simply move him from side to side and snooze while he feeds so I’m not too exhausted. My 2 year old has had a bit of a cold so wakes up a few times in the night coughing or needing his blanket back on.
Then before I know it it’s 7am and time to start again. I’ve found myself feeling short tempered with them at times and getting angry and then I feel like a terrible mother. Then I think about our day and realise it’s pretty full on, I love it and it’s totally worth it but I need to find space for me here somewhere. It’ll certainly feel like easy going once we’re home but I really will miss our little taste of the countryside.