It is mid-January and my husband has gone back to work and Freddie and I are returning to our normal rhythm. THANK GAAAD.
I love holidays - love family time but my goodness I realise that as a parent I bloody love a routine. Not a routine is the strict time sense but a rhythm that means we have stuff to do, it is repeated, it is great and we spend quality time with parents who have children of Freddie's age.
The holiday period this year taught me two things:
1. Parenting with two parents around and family makes looking after a toddler MUCH EASIER
2. Parenting with two parents around and family makes looking after a toddler MUCH HARDER
You will totally understand this if you are on your own most of the time and spend it longing for more family around and then at the same time when they are around it gets much tougher and your toddler is constantly overexcited and all over the place.
Our weekly rhythm goes something like this. Monday and Tuesday - little fishes playgroup around the corner. Wednesday - swimming lesson in the morning and then Granny arrives in the afternoon. Thursday - Granny day and Friday a playdate of some sort or a new adventure. Around all of this, there is lots of time at home playing, lots of walks and popping out to the shops for food and watching trains. It works brilliantly and although at times (daily!) I suffer from the severe boredom that is playing the same game over and over and over and feeling like my face may melt at any moment this sort of routine means I stay sane.
I have learned this the hard way. When I was first on my own with Freddie during the week we would do too much and flit all over the place. We spent far too much time worrying about doing rather than just enjoying time together and only doing things we wanted to do. It took us the first year to explore all the local playgroups and parks and see what worked best for both of us.
Now that we have this routine I am loathed to stray far from it especially as Freddie no longer naps during the day. For any new parent or parent of a one year finding themselves frazzled I would highly recommend finding a few things a week that are local and that you both love. It makes the time parenting on your own so much easier and your little one will grow in confidence from the repetitive weekly routine and like I say, we bloody love it!
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