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.
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?
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 am just settling back down to work. Chapter two of Novel number 4 – a woman sits in an office, trying to work on her PhD. Her phone rings: it’s her mother in law. Her phone rings again: this time it’s her friend.
The Spotify playlist I’m ignoring stops playing, my phone rings.
It’s Mr HB. Well, it’s Mr HB’s phone. My youngest had asked if he could ring, and Mr HB thought he wanted to say hello and ‘some other nice things.’
Fat chance. He had rung to tell me how bad his day had been.
Then Mr HB told me the oldest had been in trouble again. I listened as they lost screen for the afternoon and melted down.
Mr HB apologised. I went back to work. The woman got some work done. Her phone was silent: for now.
My oldest drew me this picture and challenged me to write a blog to go with it. Here goes!
When I think about becoming what society calls beautiful, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about becoming what society calls financially successful, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about not ever buying anything that is remotely close to the latest fashion, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about having a fancy holiday in the sun every summer, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about other people’s religion, ritual or practices, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about how other people choose to parent, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about other people’s taste in music, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about what pre-teens say about almost everything, I think: it’s usually ‘yeah, whatevs.’
I have always told my kids that I’m built for comfort, not for speed, but it seems to become truer the longer I live. ‘Asthma often comes on in middle age,’ says the nurse. Ouch, I think. But he’s got a point.
I’d been cycling three times a week and doing yoga most days, and I’d wondered why I still couldn’t climb the stairs without getting out of breath. At least that mystery was solved.
A few weeks later, and I’m at the GP with the huge list of THINGS I tend to have to talk about these days. One of which was my hip. ‘It’s been a bit sore,’ I said, ‘but it’s OK if I stretch it out.’
Yeah, I’m not a doctor. I have ligament damage and/or bursitis and I’m not to do yoga for a month.
The wee one came downstairs looking like he’d been punched in the eye, and I would usually blame his older sibling – of course! – but a) they haven’t quite graduated to actual punching yet, and b) I’d seen it before so I knew…
it was a stye.
I know he would’ve been capable of going to school. It isn’t even impacting on his vision (he is playing Minecraft next to me as I type). But he was so sad when he woke up, and school finishes at lunchtime on Fridays. It might be a stress thing, he’s had an eventful couple of weeks at a new school. Or not.
Am I a lax parent?
I’m getting a bit bored of judging myself, to be honest. He’ll be fine, and I doubt it’ll impact on his overall education. He’s only 9!