Wednesday this week marked the start of our summer holidays. We celebrated with two lazy days at home, filled with far too much Youtube, films and games. All the children were suffering from end-of-term exhaustion; they were grumpy and teary and needed time to relax.
By Friday, we were all ready to escape and let off some steam. We had arranged to meet one of my friends, with her two children for a picnic and a play date at Lotherton Hall. Our picnic was perfect, and afterwards we played in the adventure play area and walked around the bird garden. We visited the Edwardian house to complete some crafts and explore, followed by ice cream and a rainstorm that sent us running back to the car.
Braving a trip out with four small children can be very stressful. Naturally, they all want to play at different corners of the park, and even Ava who is only two is happy to wander off and play contentedly without even a backward glance in my direction. She is deceivingly tall, and is the height of a preschooler, which makes everyone think she is much older, but we have only just celebrated her second birthday in May.
I spend most of my day counting to check I haven’t lost a small child, kissing bumped knees or mediating disagreements.
Our age gap is becoming more noticeable as the years go by. James is almost eight years old, and Ava is two. Apparently, when you are eight years old, it is no longer ‘cool’ to be seen with your Mum at the park. Except when you need help with the zip-wire.
I spotted James happily chatting to other boys, he loves making friends and is happy to start the conversation. Usually, James tells anyone who will listen that he is a Youtuber – (we let him make one video, which we didn’t upload!).
Our day ended when it started to rain, by the time we made it back to the car we were all soaked!
A year ago it would have taken a lot of courage to take all four children out for the day.
A year ago anxiety & depression were affecting my daily life. It’s taken counseling, medication, and mindfulness (through minimalism) to get to where I am today and to be able to enjoy a relaxed day out with the children.
I don’t think I will ever forget how hard just something as simple as leaving the house was back then. Making plans would make me feel physically ill.
I hid behind a smile because I was scared. Scared to be judged & scared to be misunderstood.
Things started to get better when I reached out for help, talked to friends and started medication and councilling. Today I am a different person and I feel like myself again.
And right now, I am grateful to be enjoying the children; even when I am outnumbered.
If you can relate to anything I have written about anxiety or depression, please dont be afraid to reach out for help. It does get better