Parenting, Blogging, Housework-Top Tips on Juggling Jobs

 

So often I see people mentioning how overwhelmed they’re feeling with all they have to do.  Parenting is a full time job as it is, without adding in the mountains of washing and housework, and for my fellow bloggers and I, the writing time needed to get posts out on time, especially in the holidays when the children are at home all the time!

Personally, I’ve started working every evening until late, as this is the only time I seem to get quiet time, and then I have the days free to do things around the house and spend time with the little ones.

However, this still doesn’t stop me finding it all a bit much sometimes, and so, I asked some of my lovely blogger friends to help me out with some tips on juggling it all! Continue reading “Parenting, Blogging, Housework-Top Tips on Juggling Jobs”

Kent Life, Maidstone-Review

 

During school holidays and weekends, it’s so easy to get stuck indoors, because you’ve run out of things to do.  You’ve taken the children to everything you know of, and they’re now moaning that they’re bored.

Thankfully, there’s a day out waiting just for you!  Kent Life in Maidstone, is perfect for children of all ages, and for the whole family.

Located just off of the M20 on the outskirts of Maidstone, Kent Life sits in 28 acre grounds.  A real working farm, Kent Life showcases those farm animals, along with some cute fluffy friends in Cuddle Corner, the Big Top tent for shows throughout the day, indoor and outdoor play areas, gardens, a vintage village, food and drink establishments, train and tractor rides, and various events!

Kent

There are picnic areas, which is where we started our day.  After arriving around 11, we decided to get the food out of the way, so we could focus on the rest of our afternoon.  From there we went to the Big Top tent, to watch BubbleJo’s Bubble Show.  The children were allowed out of their seats to play with the incredible amount of bubbles BubbleJo made, and a large amount of audience participation was included, when BubbleJo invited children onto the stage for help.

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From there we decided to take in the 28 acres on offer, and walked around the gardens and farm areas, getting the opportunity to feed some horses and goats.  The lamb feeding was next on our agenda, and, although the amount of people queuing, was larger than the amount of lambs needing feeding, we took great enjoyment in watching them be bottle fed. My children also fell in love with some baby goats, (and I think the feeling was mutual).

Kent

 

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We continued over to Cuddle Corner, where we were shown into a room, and allowed to pet a guinea pig and a rabbit.  The animals were well looked after throughout, and our animal expert guide was friendly and talkative.

 

 

 

 

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The children, after passing it several times throughout our afternoon, were then desperate to have a run about in the outdoors play park area.  With fun activities to do for all different ages, my son immediately threw himself down a slide, while my daughter sat quietly in the sand pit.  With plenty of seating areas for the grown ups, it’s easy to rest your legs while keeping an eye on your little ones.

Kent

We were also excited to go on the Kent Life train, which takes you on a ten minute ride around the park.  After planning to go earlier in the afternoon, but missing the last ride at 1:30, we managed to get on the first one an hour later, and the children enjoyed the bumpy ride, taking in all that we’d done in the afternoon.

Before leaving, the children went back to the baby goat pen to say goodbye to their new little friends, and, as is always the way with children who have enjoyed themselves so much, they didn’t want to leave!

We made so many memories, and the children got to encounter animals we wouldn’t usually get to see.

An incredible day had by all-we will definitely be going back!

Tickets are affordable at £9.95 for adults, £7.95 for children (aged 3-15) and £8.95 for concessions.
There is also the option of a year long membership.  For just £95.00 for a family of two adults and two children-you can visit whenever you fancy an up close and personal day with the animals, and fun filled activities around the park.
For more information on other various membership options-visit the membership page on the Kent Life website here-http://kentlife.org.uk/plan-your-visit/membership/

Throughout the year, there are special events for your family to enjoy-to see more information on what’s coming up at Kent Life, visit the events page here-http://kentlife.org.uk/events/

For all other information, including opening times, and how to get to Kent Life, visit the website here-http://kentlife.org.uk/

 

I was sent a press pass enabling me to visit Kent Life with my family, in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are those of my own.

Alcoholism, My Mum and Me



I found the above quote on Pinterest when trying to find something profound to start this blog off with.

In all honesty-I don’t know enough about the subject from an alcoholics point of view to be profound, but I know how it is to be the victim of alcoholism.
I haven’t got it, I should add that, I barely actually drink.  Maybe that’s because I’m so scared of being the person that is suffering from it right now.

That person is biologically, my Mother. 

I have to say it like that now.  I have to say biologically because she is-biologically my Mother.  But that’s all she now is.  We have no relationship anymore.  We haven’t done for over three years. And even prior to that, the relationship was fraught.

All because she chose to make her decisions under the influence of alcohol. 

My parents divorced when I was 13.  My sister was 10.  My brother was 8.

I woke one night to hear them rowing,  I crept to the top of the stairs and as I did, my Dad came up, on his way to the bathroom, murmuring as he passed me to go back to bed-that everything was fine.

I’m unsure if she did it to spite him, but my Mum shouted up to me “he’s leaving me-your Dad is leaving us!”

Unable to process this, considering my Dad, my idol, had just told me everything was fine, I rushed back to my bedroom, and got back into bed.

Within minutes, the feeling of worry crept over me and I remember the panic taking over. My Dad came in and I didn’t give him chance to explain. I just kept asking him if it was true.
He confirmed it was, but he wasn’t leaving us, he was leaving my Mum.  Nothing would change between him and his children, it was his wife he’d fallen out of love with, not us.

Shortly after he moved out, leaving us with someone grieving the loss of her marriage. 

I get this, I really do. 20 years of marriage thrown away like that, you’re going to struggle.

Unfortunately, my understanding didn’t last as long as I hoped it would, because, although I understood she was sad, my 13 year old self assumed we, her children, would remain her driving force to stay strong and keep going because she had us.

It didn’t happen like that at all. 

Within a week, she was out every night. She was spending all of her money on drinking in her local pub. I was left at home, at 13, cooking for me and my siblings, getting them into bed on time when she would go out prior to their bedtimes, and making sure all was ready for our school days.

On occasions, she wouldn’t come home until the early hours, on other occasions she’d bring random men back with her and I’d have to try and sleep through loud music, while she continued her party downstairs.

I was effectively a Mum. At the age of 13. 

I did this for 5 years.  We saw my Dad on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday one week, then a Wednesday Thursday and Friday the next.  When he met his now, wife, he would holiday with her,, so, in August he’d be away for 3 weeks.  I’d dread it.

Not only was it the Summer holidays, so we’d have no school to break up our day, she’d have spent all her money on alcohol so there’d be no days out, no treats.

We’d just count down until he got home. 

When I was 18, I got with my husband. For a few months we’d stay at my house every night, because I had the children to look after.  Within a year we were engaged, and he made the decision we would get a flat.

If he hadn’t done this, I don’t know where I’d be today. 

She was upset when I left, I can never be sure whether it was because I was leaving and her daughter was growing up, or she’d lost her babysitter.

She married again, I didn’t go to her wedding-I wasn’t invited, and I didn’t want to go.  Her husband is also alcohol dependent, and openly told her he wished she hadn’t had kids, something he repeated to me during a drunken rant down the phone one night.

During my wedding, which her and her husband attended with my late Grandad, she spent the day with a face like thunder.  I can’t watch my wedding video because she taints it in the background constantly.  An hour into my reception, following the food and the first dance, she left, to go to her local pub. 

During my sons christening, which I also invited her to, she didn’t speak to me or my husband.  She sat in the pew in front of us and didn’t even acknowledge my son.  At the drinks afterwards, she made her excuses to my Dad and left without speaking to me. 

When I lost my three babies after having my son, she wasn’t there-she doesn’t even know she could’ve had three other grandchildren. 

The day my daughter was born, I messaged her to tell her the name and weight of her new Granddaughter.  She didn’t reply.  I messaged again and she responded asking why I’d chosen the name.  She was angry my daughter was named after mine and my husbands grandmothers-there was no congratulatory message, no plans to visit and meet my daughter.

She refused to be part of her life unless I allowed both of my children to call her Nanny-something I’d made very clear during many previous arguments, fuelled by her decisions made during drunken phone calls, that she’d not earned that right-that her constant flippant relationship with me and my son, didn’t warrant her to have that title-that it had to be earned.  At the time of those conversations she’d agreed.

But suddenly that agreement wasn’t accepted anymore. 

She’s never met my daughter. My son doesn’t remember her.

Around 18 months ago, I messaged her during a clear-out of my old photos, to tell her I had pictures of her with her late parents, and I’d give them to my brother to give her if she would like them.  She responded telling me to f*** off out of her life.

So I did. 

Honestly, I’ve never found a decision so easy but hard, so upsetting but elating, and so final.

There’s a certain element of grief in it.  I’m grieving for the Mum I had as a young child.  The one who spent time with us, as a family.

But I’m also grieving for the life I never had.  For the love I never felt from her.  For the cuddles I never had. For the relationship I’ll never have again.

Yes, alcohol did this, but her choice to drink that alcohol, to get through a divorce, caused her to end up addicted to it.  She not only make her decisions under that influence, but showed no remorse the following days upon realising her mistakes.

And I’ll never forgive her for that. 

Ultimately throughout all of this, I’m left with peace. I have a doting Mother-in-Law, Step-Mum and Auntie (who ironically is my Mother’s sister-another family member alienated by poor life decisions) who play the role of a Mum better than I have ever known.

I have two children who are shielded from a relationship they could have had, with an unhinged adult I couldn’t have allowed to influence their lives.

I am proud of what I do, decisions I make and relationships I have, and I’ve made those decisions based on a need to never act how she has.

End Of Term

Today was always going to be emotional.  Ignoring the fact I’m a complete wuss anyway and cry at pretty much anything, today was the last day of Reception class for my boy.

This morning, just like the morning of his first day at his school, I took a photo of him ready to go in.  The differences aside from the obvious ones, the new house and the fact he had shorts on instead of trousers, weren’t visible until I put the photos side by side.

Visually, his little round baby face has turned into a little boy’s face, less round, more long.  His hair is lighter, and styled now.  His once, short, pale, little legs, are now longer, with more colour in them (and more bruises!)

What you can’t see in the photos is the difference in him as a person.  

He was already clever 10 months ago, he could write his name, count to 20, he was able to read small words.  Now, he is top of his class in reading and writing, and is counting to 100.  He is polite, well mannered, caring, loving, happy, funny and way beyond his 5 years.  

I can’t take credit for any of this. He comes home to me at 3:10 and the most I do of an evening is have him read to me.  At the weekends, I let him rest and do what he wants, unless we have plans.  The credit is to his teacher and teaching assistants.  They’ve put in the hours with him and moulded him into the amazing little man he is today. 

The pride and sadness etched on his teachers face today as he hugged her and said goodbye was clear to see.  I can’t imagine how hard it is to spend the best part of a year with 30 children in your care then have to say goodbye to them!  

I can’t find enough words to say how grateful I am to her and her assistants.  I can’t find enough words to explain to my boy how unbelievably proud I am of how much he’s learnt, and how he’s grown as a person.  

For now, I’ll hold back the tears that have threatened to escape all day, and maybe have some more cuddles with my boy, who’s mine for a whole 6 weeks from now!

Xx