As much as I’m trying to stay as upbeat and positive through lockdown and working from home, it’s also intense and hard. I’m not going to try and pretend it’s not, I’m a mum and I love being a mum, I’m grateful for the time it’s giving me with toddler P and the activities we’re getting to do together but I’m also trying to survive. I’ve things I need to do for myself, whether it being a home task that’s been niggling at me for ages and now I’m seeing it daily, all day, or work for my job which I’m not necessarily getting pressured to complete ASAP but this lockdown in theory provides the opportunity to do in great detail. I want do home workouts, write on here, cook, bake, stuff for me as well as my job and stuff with her. Try telling that to a two year old though, her instinct is to be around me all the time. On my knee, at my side, permanently glued to me as though I’m going to disappear at any moment so she’s to cling on tight…literally. Listen up though kid, Boris Johnson and his gang have said I can’t, there’s no escape and in a few years time you’ll want me to sod off and leave you alone, believe me!
In reality all I want is 5 mins, just 5 mins sometimes. Not even that. I’m also lucky, toddler P is good at independent play, she’s doing so right now, but is doing so sat on my knee so I’ve to try typing this on my phone rather than the laptop or iPad and have to keep pausing as I get an elbow, knee or foot in my face. Because she can’t sit next to me with the mag-na-doodle no she has to do it on my knee, spinning upside down and hanging off me like an apple eating, balloon drawing orangutang! She’ll happily play in the garden but I have to be there, which is obvious due to her age, but woe betide me if I sit on the bench, she’s to sit there too or I’ve to stand and “watch this mummy!” I can’t walk into the kitchen to make a coffee whilst she watches Winnie the Pooh, she’ll be entranced by it but if I show any signs of hydrating myself she’s like a predator on high alert for any sudden movements from its prey, following me like a shadow into the kitchen/bathroom/hall/insert relevant small task here.
Truth is she’s not asking much, not much at all, she just wants mummy nearby. She wants the security of knowing I’m there and like I said it’s not always undivided attention she wants, just me nearby. Yet ironically she doesn’t suffer separation anxiety anymore, she happily trots off to childcare waving me off excited about her day. She happily likes to run off and play when we (were allowed) go on play dates and adventures with friends. So is it the current circumstances that have made her alter her attitude? Maybe, I don’t know, she’s not daft, she’ll have sensed the change and I know she misses her friends.
I’ve said before, I’m not bad at dreaming up activities for her to do and I enjoy doing them but I sometimes want a quick set up and clean up, I want them to give me just five minutes of freedom and peace. I want them to have not taken a lot expense, resources or energy to have them fall as flat as a fart and her run off asking to do something else! I just want to be able to set something up quickly, it to capture her attention and imagination for a bit of time to give me a breather.
Well a good friend recommended a book to me the other week and not only have I been reading it but I’ve passed on the recommendation to a couple of mates, followed the writer on Instagram, Facebook and twitter and penned (can I say penned for writing on an electronic device?) this post about her. Conveniently she’s called herself The Five Minute Mum and is also a fellow blogger here on WordPress sharing her experiences good and bad.
Her book and posts gives quick and easy activities to set up in 5 minutes or less. They usually use typical toys and resources you have in the house. It’s invigorating and refreshing to have some new suggestions, I follow other such pages on social media and Pinterest and love seeing messy play ideas. However a lot can take some setting up, packing away which can be draining especially when toddlers have such a short attention span. Some can also imply a pressure to spend a lot of money on equipment and resources to create the activities. The teacher and environmentalist in me prefers a more creative, use what you have and a bit of imagination kind of approach. Which is what the Five Minute Mum does.
She’s also down to earth, her insta stories and live videos show that she’s just like all of us. She also wants five minutes peace (cue tonight’s bedtime story) she also longs for a hot cuppa, to pee alone, for a soak in the bath without a small person jumping in and fuels herself on wine and gin. She’s my kind of mum, she loves the fun mum, picture perfect games and creative activities with her little ones but admits that she needs to use dry shampoo to hide the lack of time to wash and blow dry and that sometimes being a mum is really bloody hard work.
If you do anything this lockdown, buy and read her book (on the sofa after bedtime with a glass of red) or follow her pages. She’s helped me a lot recently because all it takes is five minutes and all I need sometimes is five minutes. It’s also nice to have someone else dream up the activities, as much as I don’t struggle, I’m a single mum, I’m the only one suggesting things so it’s nice for someone else to say, “hey why don’t you do this?” So ease the pressure a bit and check out the Five Minute Mum. She’ll make you laugh.
P.S. (I know I don’t need to P.S. on a blog post but it’s for effect) Don’t play extortionate prices for her book, there’s been a shortage of copies recently due to Covid-19 but more are being printed and it is available on Kindle so don’t skint yourself either and save extra pennies for coffee and cake!