It is not the right time of year for having the children at home. With Valentines smack in the middle, I predict the divorce rate will rise…
Instead of braving a range of elements: rain, wind, snow … we set up pillow forts and hid under blankets with our devices. I worked out I could watch Netflix on the laptop with my headphones – score! The kids morphed wing chairs into gamer chairs by moving them in front of the TV, and built more forts, this time in the Minecraft ether.
We’re economising due to the impending house move, so we treated ourselves to Morrison’s make your own pizza instead of takeaway, Next in Fashion with the curtains closed instead of the cinema.
Valentines worked out OK for me: Mr HB was off to Aldi. I received a bunch of reluctant roses.
You’re one of five girls!
That must have been quite the queue for the bathroom,
do you all get on,
who is the funny one?
A lot of bitching, I bet,
stealing make up, swapping clothes:
how did your dad cope?
Who has the most money,
are you jealous of the one who is the most successful, professionally
who is the favourite?
Not all girls spend hours in the bathroom.
Not all girls hate each other.
Not all girls are funny (but yes, we all claim to be the funny one).
Not all girls bitch about each other.
Not all girls steal make up and clothes.
Not all dads need a son to complete themselves.
Not all girls equate money with success.
Not all girls fail to be proud of their siblings’ achievements –
and we all agree on the favourite.
I give in. I really do.
We now have two enforced periods of no-screen: Wednesdays after school (which is now library day) and Sunday mornings.
My oldest will actually come to church, despite their firm atheism, just to help the time go by. This week I asked them to make me another picture challenge for a blog post. They weren’t happy with the drawing, but asked me to recreate it for them.
So here we are:
This is my life. Every minute that is not a scheduled screen free minute is now spent on a screen. Going for a walk has become a mental battle before it gets anywhere near physically punishing. You don’t want to know what the screen time graphs I get from Microsoft look like (yeah, cheers for that, Microsoft).
I’m not the only one, am I?
Yet again I have confirmed my status as a bit of an oddball.
This time it’s the over our house, which you will know is currently on the market unless you have been hiding under a rock or muted me online until today.
We’re supposed to hate house viewings, right? All that tidying so that complete strangers can come and examine our property and ask awkward questions about the neighbours.
Well, I love them. The house has never looked so good. We have a total system (and a list, of course!) for the tidying. And I adore taking folk over the house – I’d forgotten I can be charming, or at least friendly – showing them all the great things we put into it to make it home.
It feels like saying, over and over, ‘this is our house. Isn’t it lovely?’
I always dreaded selling a house for the same reason I imagine everyone does – keeping the damn place clean and tidy.
But it has been a source of gratitude in more ways than one. I like having a house worthy of the phrase ‘spick and span.’ Well, I do now, after the first few days of not being able to find anything because everything had been put away! I like not nagging the kids to clean up their own rooms
(because I hate the idea of raising lazy kids)
and just doing it myself, with headphones and podcasts on.
Also, I have lived without this level of cleanliness for over ten years, and not died of dysentery. I have no intention of living in a sterile, empty house once we move to the new place. Sorry Mr HB!
This is your annual reminder to make time for yourself over Christmas.
It is a great time of year (for many, not for everyone) to see friends and family, buy thoughtful gifts, decorate your house top to toe in tinsel or greenery: wrap, post, socialise, and eat, eat, eat.
It is a great time to stretch yourself to breaking and end up exhausted.
If you can, plan some days that are empty. Or some hours. Or some minutes. Force yourself to sit down. Or go to sleep. Or breathe.
It is OK to not have a wonderful time every moment of every day over Christmas. It is OK if your children do not have a wonderful time every moment of their school holiday. You get to be a person too.
tinylife will return on 12th January.
I was planning my next novel the other day (as you do). As many of you know, there are apparently two types of novel-writers, the pantsers and the planners.
I’m a planner.
I use the excellent ‘Save the Cat’ for story structure, mostly so I can use phrases like ‘break into Act 3.’ Ripping up little bits of paper for the required fifteen sections, I filled in what I could, hoping the blank sections would somehow become magically completed as I worked.
Number 12 is a story beat called ‘Dark Night of the Soul.’ By my calculations it occurs in Chapter 36 of 40.
When I looked over what I’d written, it said ‘main character realises she needs to be a fucking mum and get on with it,’ I realised this was exactly. It.
It’s now written on slip number 2: ‘Thematic Premise Stated.’