I’ve been very quiet on here recently. Yet again. I’m just not seeming to find the time to get any writing done. Every night I have a blog post running through my mind, and every night I go to bed having not written a thing. Being at home with two little ones, a toddler who is very bright and demands constant conversation, interaction, and stimulation, and a 7 month old who is finding his feet, his voice, and looking to be as bright as his big sister, is proving to be a little tiring. After a day of playing, chatting, feeding, nappy-changing, keeping tantrums to a minimum, ensuring boredom doesn’t set in, getting meals and bits of housework done, I am ready to get into bed at six thirty with The Princess. Evening times are spent staring blankly at the TV, answering the odd email, catching up on Twitter and Facebook for five minutes, before succumbing to the call of my bed. Oh, and a certain Little Pea who won’t sleep without company also makes it difficult to write. Or achieve anything at all, really.
But I am not complaining about my children taking up so much of my time. Quite the opposite. I love being with them, getting to know them, watching them grow and learn and change day by day. I often feel like a bad mum for not spending more time being domesticated, keeping a beautiful home and baking fresh cakes on a daily basis, but actually that just makes me a bad housekeeper, not a bad mum. I feel guilty for spending so much time with the children and not writing more, for not being able to spend more time trying to cultivate a career as a freelance writer; I feel guilty for thinking about writing when I am spending time with the children; I feel guilty for living in a messy house that isn’t as clean as it should be; I feel guilty for constantly tidying the babies’ toys away when I would really like them to stay out and be played with. I feel guilty no matter what I do, and I think it is just part of being a mum, or being a woman, or both.
I think no matter what we do as mothers, we will always feel guilty, or as if another decision would have been a better one. It is just part of the responsibility of raising children, to always question whether we are doing the best by them and for them, without any guidance or feedback from these little beings we are bringing up. I feel this responsibility on a daily basis and I try not to let it become a burden.
Several things have happened recently to put life into perspective for me. One has been Christmas, seeing family, spending time relaxing, enjoying, playing, having no schedule to stick to, no rules to worry about. Many people have said to me how quickly time flies, how one minute they are screaming toddlers, and in the blink of an eye they are making decisions about which university to go to. These early years are to be cherished, and I intend to do just that.
Another thing has been deciding to move house. The Boyfriend and I have been back and forth with trying to decide where to live. The area we live in is not the greatest, in fact it is one of the most deprived areas in the country. It is grey buildings, busy roads, terrible councils, under-funded everything, and high unemployment. It is also family. And this has been our final deciding factor. Despite the fact we would both dearly love to move somewhere prettier, greener and more affluent, we love having family within walking distance, and we love that our babies are growing up knowing their family so well. Their grandparents aren’t strangers who they see once or twice a year, but part of their regular little lives. We don’t have to plan weekend visits weeks in advance, we can turn up on a Saturday morning with ten minutes’ notice. So once all the little jobs in the house have been finished, it is going on the market, and we are looking to move to a house a mile or two away. We are in the catchment area for a school that has been classed as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted for that last few years. In this area, that is something else worth sticking around for.
As for my writing, I need to manage my time a little better. My New Year’s resolution is to make sure I write more and more, so trashy evening TV will have to wait, and early nights will become more of a luxury than a regularity. And I will have to learn to type one-handed, while snuggling Little Pea in the other arm. I’m not sure how much longer these baby snuggles will last, so I’m making the most of every single one.