Friday, 20 September 2013

Under Pressure - Activities for tots

When I was on maternity leave with Harry I had no issues with how to fill my time. I visited the Children's Centre most days, along with walks around time, trips to the park and visits to the museum and library. We also enjoyed 'pay as you go' swimming lessons that we made it to most weeks.

When I returned to work this changed a bit, but was punctuated by 'play dates' and less of the 'baby' stuff. I had the odd wonder if I should be extolling him in to something a little more stimulating, but I just wasn't sure so never committed.

When Archie came along, things were a little different. I couldn't drag Harry along to baby groups but we found the odd thing that suited them both and I took Archie along to things like cooking and craft clubs - it was great for Harry, and Archie got to make a mess!

Now I've returned to work and I'm feeling the pressure. I have two days a week at home with them and in this time have to also get on top of the housework, washing, meal planning and shopping. There's a toddler group I haven't made it to yet on one of the days, and rhyme time at the library on the other... 

I can't shake the feeling that I should be doing something more - a friend mentioned gymnastics, another suggested football, swimming is obviously a major life skill - then there's the cute rugby tots kit in the picture a friend popped up on Facebook last week. What to do? They'd love it, I'm sure. More friends, learning skills, having fun, less time fighting over toys at home... All great positives!

So why am I left with a sinking feeling in the bottom of my tummy? I think it's because the thought of committing to something weekly just fills me with dread. I have these two precious days with my boys each week to just... Be. We don't get much chance to meet up with playmates these days as its difficult with other parents' working schedules but it's nice to have the option. There aren't any groups at the Children's Centre on those days at the moment, but if any come up I'd like the choice. I like it if Harry asks to make gingerbread and we can just do it (like we did yesterday).

I think the pressure on us to do everything and be everything is massive and it's something I'm susceptible to, so I'm now mindful. The boys have a busy week whilst I am at work with the childminder, pre school and a couple of school runs each day. I'm taking a step back. There's no rush. I'm sure Harry's rugby career won't be stilted by starting at 4 rather than 3. We will make sure they can swim by hook or by crook over the next few years, and to be honest Archie's gymnastic ability is currently quite advanced enough for me at the moment! 

More importantly, we've got a wander through the meadow and some blackberry picking to do...

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