Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A Mid-Week Treat

To celebrate Husband's birthday, we decided to order a Chinese takeaway for our dinner. It was such a lovely treat and was probably even more delicious than normal because it's mid-week and not Friday night. My favourite Chinese dish is beef satay with boiled rice. It was so good!

We seem to be coming down with colds which doesn't bode well for our weekend plans. On Friday I'm off out with my work colleagues to let our hair down and enjoy a meal and a few drinks (!) together. On Saturday, the kids are off to their Gran's for a sleepover and Husband and I are off for an overnight stay in a beautiful hotel. We've got massages booked and we'll have dinner there too. I can't wait; I just hope we're feeling better.

365 Project 2017 - Day 18

Do You Dislike Your Child's Friends...?

Apparently you are not alone! I have to say though, my children have excellent taste in friends. Charlotte has a few close friends whom are all really lovely whilst Zachary has a great group of kids around him. They have been close since they started school and can see them being friends for life. 

As responsible adults, we like to think we’re above the politics of the playground that our children may bring home with them. But here’s the thing: we aren’t, and that’s kind of “official”, no matter what we might think!

A fascinating new study reveals that very few of us can prevent our basic instincts, whereby the protection and care of our children is paramount, from sneaking up to the surface and clouding our otherwise objective viewpoint.

Most mums will know the feeling of developing a bit of a dislike for one of our children’s friends, perhaps based on meeting the child in question and/or from listening to our own children’s comments about what the child said or did etc. So if you do feel this way, you’re not alone and it’s perfectly natural. According to the research provided by Voucherbox, a staggering 40% of parents surveyed actively dislike at least one of their child(ren)’s friends. Meanwhile, around 33% of parents surveyed also said they actively dislike the parents of their children’s friends as well.

The reasons for this dislike are many and varied but include things like bad behaviour of the child(ren) in question, the fact that these children are perceived to be spoilt, and/or that they are manipulative or bullies. What’s more, the males of the species are slightly more intolerant than we women are of our offspring’s friends' parents – and they’re also more likely to have to voice their “concerns” in this regard when it comes to advising the kids. That’s right; the Dads are more forward than we Mums are in encouraging our children to seek friendships elsewhere.

And finally, the survey reveals that over a third of us won’t even invite the children we don’t particularly like to our own child’s playdates as we try to discourage further friendship forming.

So those feelings you may have been having about your children’s friends, and that you may have been feeling you really ought to rise above, are far more common than you may have been thinking. But this should come as no surprise; after all, we’re only sophisticated apes at the end of the day and no matter how sophisticated we may be in other areas - when it comes to our own children, our more primeval instincts tend to kick in. It’s a little like the old “fight or flight” type response that explains a lot of human behaviours; where our children are concerned, the bond of love is so strong that we are sometimes blind to the imperfections in our own children and we tend to be overly protective.

Maybe we shouldn’t be beating ourselves up about this stuff too much, but at the same time, maybe we should try and reflect in our more rational moments that we aren’t always being too rational here. Learning to cope with difficult people is a life skill that we all need to develop. And if your child is choosing difficult people at an early age, maybe it’s not necessarily all bad. Instead, it’s positive for development. If they can see for themselves the fundamental flaws in others, and learn to cope in the way they see fit with your help and guidance – this is surely better for their longer term development than the avoidance we may naturally try to impose on them?

Either way, please stop worrying – you certainly aren’t alone in your most natural of feelings here.

Look Who is 40!

Today is Husband's 40th birthday.

He's an amazing husband, father and person. He would do anything for his family and friends, dropping everything to help someone out.

He works really hard, even when he's feeling under the weather or in his own words "crabbit".

He is funny (sometimes), caring and gives the best cuddles in the world (aside from Zachary and Charlotte!)

He is not happy about turning 40 but I think he has gotten better with age.

And how much does Charlotte look like her Dad?!

Happy birthday Baby, love you lots, always and forever xxxo

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

I'm no Pussy Cat

As the alarm went off this morning, I seriously contemplated rolling over and going back to sleep. I always find it harder to get up the later we get into the working week but it seems to be starting sooner this week.

Husband very kindly made me a cup of tea and brought it upstairs so I could "wake up" at my own pace. The cat then joined me. He made himself comfy, the lucky git, and looked at me as if to say, "well, are you getting up then?" How I'd love the be a cat and lay about all day.

The kids left school and headed to their after-school club. They really enjoyed themselves and didn't want to leave which is such a good feeling, especially when we're paying a small fortune for it. Charlotte played with the horses and then the babies and Zachary beat someone in a game of chess. We got home, had our pasta dinner and they were in bed for 7:30. Exhausted.

As tiring as these working weeks are, they go so fast and I can't believe we're almost at the 20th of the month. New Year doesn't seem like it was that long ago! At this rate, our holidays will be here before we know it.

365 Project 2017 - Day 17

The Perfect Work-Life Balance

Is this actually a thing? Can you really find the perfect work-life balance? Sometimes I think we've hit it right on the money and then other days I feel so exhausted, both physically and emotionally, I just want to go to hide. Being a working parent, whether it's full or part time, is pretty hard going. Sometimes I feel like the only way to strike the perfect balance would be to win the lottery and never work again!

RBS have found the answer the work/life balance answer by creating their guide to running a business on a 20 hour week, which sounds amazing! I remember when I worked just 16 hours per week and it was perfect for us. I was always there for the kids and when I was at work, Husband was there for the kids. There were no childcare costs and I only worked a Saturday morning so we always had our weekends together after a few hours. But these flexible working hours have to suit both employee and employer and when it no longer suited them, my employer stopped the flexible working so many staff had become used to and grateful for. This can be one of the biggest reasons so many people look into starting up their own businesses from home and be in control of their working patterns.

There are plenty of times I've thought about starting up my own business so I can be in charge of my own work schedule and be there for my kids when they need me. But when I looked in to it, I felt like I needed a lot of time to get things up and running and, of course, the costs. RBS are working with small businesses in 2017 through their Boost programme and Business Growth Enablers, helping those with the dream of achieving that 20 hour week and perfect work-life balance a reality.

As a working parent, managing your workload is definitely key to going some way to achieving the perfect work-life balance. It's about making sure you maximise your time to work and then completely shut off when it's time to be with the family. I am a person who is highly organised and it's the best way for me to feel like I'm getting the best out of my work. I have lists and check things off as I go. I have routines and schedules to make sure things are done on time. It's a method I used to help me cope with going back to college and writing reports.

In terms of running the house, I am also really organised with when the housework is done, what meals we are having every week and setting out the school uniforms the night before. I don't do housework at the weekend; that is our time with the kids. Being organised with my time means I'm not stressing out, worrying about when I'm going to get things done and it makes me feel a lot better about myself as a parent.

How do manage your work-life balance?

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