How to enjoy Mum and Toddler groups

One of the hardest things I have found with being a Mum is the loneliness. You wouldn't think that you could feel lonely when you spend every hour of every day attached to a tiny human being (or two) but you certainly can.

It can be the loneliness of a day with no adult conversation. Of saying the same thing repeatedly, with no effect.

It's the loneliness of day time television, different social circles and no one to relieve you when you child is tantruming for the tenth time.

So I've always been a big fan of Mum and Baby/Toddler groups.

Well, I say 'always'. That's exaggerating.

At first, I actually hated them.

They were excruciatingly painful at times.

Endless small talk. Judging glances. Screaming children. Badly made tea.

I can definitely see why some Mums avoid these groups like the plague.

But I am a convert. Approach these strange sub-societies in the right way and they can become a break in your day, even a highlight of your week. Here are my top tips for not just surviving toddler groups, but actually enjoying them.

Lily's Letter to Netflix

After Lily expressed her profound disappointment to her Daddy on Friday that Netflix was no longer showing 'Heidi' he suggested that she send them a message asking for it back.

Since then, Lily has asked a couple of times a day if she could send it.

With this picture.

I didn't expect the 'letter' to consist of much more than a plea for bringing back the cartoon but she had her heart set on it, so, in her own words:

Hello All of You at Netflix

Please can you bring Heidi back?
I know my Daddy says you took it away but I really really like the music. I love singing the song and my Mummy loves it when I dance.
I love Heidi. It is my favourite. I love Clara as well.
I like the goats.
The music makes me smile.
Here is a picture I drew for you. It is Heidi in the mountains. With flowers.
Can you bring it back?
Please don't take it away again.
Love from Lily

From a grown-up point of view. I actually quite like Heidi - the characters are usually kind and sweet (unlike obnoxious pink pigs) and the story lines are easy enough to follow without adding in any rubbish. It's rather nice to watch a programme where the 'heroine' isn't a stick insect with purple hair and an attitude problem.

And Lily is right, I think it's incredibly sweet the way Lily mimics Heidi dancing in the opening sequence - I love how it has captured her imagination.

So please Netflix UK and Ireland. When you're looking at children's programmes to add in February, consider popping Heidi back into the mix. It would definitely make one little girl in High Wycombe very, very happy.

Thanks in advance!

Little Hearts, Big Love 3 Little Buttons

Is this the moment?

I'm sorry for the recent silence.

It was not planned. It was not expected.

I just found that I had no words.

Or that I had the words, but not the ability to string them together coherently.

I have been anxious, excited, stressed and relieved to be giving up work to become a stay at home mum.

It resulted in a migraine that lasted two days and I spent all of last Wednesday in bed.

Today is the day.

On Friday I served my last day in the school office. My role has been handed over. Processes have been set up and presentations passed on. I fought my blushes and my tears when I was presented with my leaving gifts and hugged the friends I have made.

Time for Tantrums

A few weeks ago now both my children decided, uncharacteristically, to completely melt down at a toddler group we've attended for more than two years.

At the same time.

It was horrific.

Ollie started with an epic tantrum about not wanting to put cars down for tidy up time. Then Lily joined in because she didn't want to put her shoes and jumper on. A walk, bus ride and home time later, they were both still at it. Tag teaming the screaming and shrieking at everything.


I have no idea. Perhaps they were under the weather. Maybe they were overwhelmed with the excitement of Christmas. Perhaps they were possessed.

I left the group struggling not to cry, as friends patted me on the back, offered me smiles and even wished me luck. As the screaming continued down the street, flailing arms, protests and angry shouts I headed on to the bus stop. Enduring the stares, the shy smiles and kind words of passers by.

Then, at the bus stop. A lovely lady turned to me and said: "Terrible Twos? I remember those, they don't last forever"

I smiled back.

Through gritted teeth.

I didn't answer her. It would have just sounded rude if I corrected her and told her my daughter is 4.

Like 'morning' sickness. Classifying toddler tantrums as 'terrible twos' is incredibly misleading. 

For one, the tantrums can start way earlier than two. Coming out of the blue and erupting into an inferno of frustration and shock for both parent and child. 

Then, 'terrible' is a bit extreme. True, the tantrums are distressing and they come thick and fast as the children explore more and come across increasing struggles. But as far as two year olds go, they're far from terrible. I actually love this age.

And finally, it gives false hope that once the 'terrible twos' are past, the tantrums will subside and leave you with a little angel.

I thought I'd got through the twos pretty much unscathed. Lily has always been a tad highly strung. She has a wail like an air-raid siren, starting low and building towards a crescendo and she can start it without warning at the slightest hint of dissatisfaction. That said, I'm pretty used to it and she was actually an adorable two year old.

But then. She turned three. And I totally understand why I'd seen other Mum's lamenting about their 'three-nager'.

It wasn't just tantrums. It was tantrums with attitude. With opinions.

I can honestly say, I found three an awful lot harder than two.

Two was a walk in the park compared to three.

And four?

Is pretty good. But that doesn't mean an end to all tantrums. Tantrums are just a thing that happen to all children of all ages when the feelings, frustration and understanding become too much. It's not enjoyable but doesn't make being a parent 'terrible'. Not really.

Let's be fair. I still have tantrums. I'm 31 years old and there are still times when all I want to do is shout and stamp my feet. 99% of the time I can hold it in but then I find I have far more in common with my tantruming toddlers than I often think.

Terrible thirties? Can that still be a thing?

The countdown is on

2017 is a big year.

Perhaps not as momentous as 2011, the year I got married.

Or as eventful as 2012 when I became a Mum.

Or even as huge as 2015 when I had another child.

But 2017 is a big year because, just two weeks in, I will walk out of my job on a Friday afternoon and become a full time stay at home Mum.

And, I'm scared.

In fact, scared doesn't even begin to describe to confused mess of feelings I have inside right now.

Terrified might be closer to it but that doesn't include the strange excitement I sometimes feel.

Anxious. That definitely comes into it.

Festive Relaxation with Inspired Colouring Christmas

The run up to Christmas is a crazy time no matter how organised you are. There is just so much to do, people to see and places to visit. Between all the rushing around it was lovely to settle down with a glass of Baileys and an exciting new delivery - Inspired Colouring Christmas!

I'm a big fan of colouring books. I won't attempt to justify it - if you like colouring too then you'll understand the allure of the clean lines and empty spaces begging for colour. I love the simplicity of just filling the spaces without effort, the satisfaction of it coming together in such a short period of time.

In all honesty, my colouring skills are pretty rubbish (!) but I genuinely enjoy the process. I'm usually a wannabe-perfectionist and my home is littered with half-finished projects which I have discarded due to an imperfection or a lack of patience. When it comes to colouring, my yearnings for perfection make less of an impact - if I make a mistake I can colour over it, ignore it or just turn the page and start a new picture. There are amazing, brightly coloured and artistic examples of different colouring online and on instagram but I don't aspire to be like these. I just like to do my own little thing.

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