All posts by nleaper

I am a bad shouty parent

Hello, my name is…

And I am a bad  shouty parent.

Does saying it outloud / writing it down make it any less guilt inducing? Do I get points for being honest at least? Will my children read this and understand that I didn’t mean to be shouty, and forgive me?

I can only imagine no, to all of the above.

Some days though, they just manage to irritate beyond any sensible level of acceptance. They push every button, to see how far they can go, to see if I will snap, and I fall for it far too often. Not every time, but more than I would like.

I should make them laugh (I said I would!!!!), distract them, ignore it, smother them with love, a million different things. But not shout. I know I should not shout.

But what do I do? I shout. And when they ignore me (because I’m shouting) I shout some more.

And I know it’s ridiculous. I am a grown woman of  almost 40, I can run a team of people and get great work done against all odds, I can manage budgets of millions of pounds, and justify my actions to Senior Execs, even when I have made mistakes… And it all turns out ok. I don’t shout at work. I can think of maybe 2 occasions in 12 years at my current company when I have shouted. I’m just not a shouty person.

But 5yr olds, and almost 4yr olds – they get me every time.

So once today’s guilt subsides, once I have tortured myself enough and begged their forgiveness, once I have got over myself and my ego, I will promise to be a calmer parent, and I will mean it, and I will try really hard.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

Make me laugh and you have my attention

Humour is without a doubt the best medicine. And no matter how busy my day, make me laugh and you have my attention.

@manwhohasitall makes the slow morning commute fly by. And a good friend at work summed it up so nicely – it makes me laugh, and then it makes me angry, but then it makes me laugh again. Maybe humour is the best way to broach ridiculous sexism?

Amusing early morning banter with the team starts the day off with a smile.

Lighthearted sarcasm makes the silly requests more bearable.

And I know this works with the kids too, I’m just not so good at using it to my best advantage.

So, as I head home for the weekend, having worked late to clear the decks as much as possible in view of Monday off (thank you jet-lagged hubby for running straight back into kiddie duty), I’m going to try and laugh at all the things I normally get irritated with, and more importantly, I’m going to try and make the pickles laugh too.

Because the real truth of the matter is, make me laugh and you have my heart.

Guilty Pleasures – and a good day after all

Flint Dry from Chapel Down – my guilty pleasures of the day start with this.  It was meant to be a bottle for tomorrow night when Hubby is back in town, but after the day I’ve had, it has been opened, and maybe I’m showing an English bias, but it’s good. It’s really good…

Guilty pleasure (number 2) will be the chocolate consumed on the sofa post dinner – Willies Cacao Sea Flakes Milk Chocolate.

And number 3 was actually earlier, after an early meeting finish (hurrah, never happens) – I sauntered along quite happily to Waterloo, sat down on my train and started reading a book… Jane Green Summer Secrets – it’s pure rubbish, but the combo of London and Nantucket is making it irresistible to me, and it was so nice to read something long, not just a short tweet, or a facebook post, or even an article… I just want to keep reading.

So post dinner on sofa (far too late, after a doctor’s visit, a late kiddie pick up from after school club, a pharmacy run, a no bath bedtime for the kids, and then the clear down of work), I shall retire to bed and read some more. Just because I can…

Having it all? Doing it all!

On days like today, with the rush from meeting to meeting at work, coupled with kiddie chaos, I’m amused by the concept of ‘having it all’. What does that really mean?

I know that I’m doing it all.

Get up, get kids up, drop kids off, get train, (pick up coffee), head into meetings, sandwich at desk while on call, more meetings, text hello to hubby, call from nursery, run out of office, collect said sickly little one (calpol has kicked in, not noticeably ill at all), collect bigger one, home, fruit, bath, most of milk, out to collect biggest one (slightly hyper from all the dancing, screaming and sugar), call and say goodnight to Daddy, more milk, more baths, reading, singing ( v v badly!), laundry, clear up, bins in, log back on to work, clear inbox, pay bills, pack up school bag, reheat dinner (chilli – yum – thank you hubby), SIT (Grand Designs – architecture porn!)

But I haven’t exercised, I haven’t been mindful, I haven’t done anything worthy, I haven’t read. I’ve kept myself moving from one thing to the next, and I know that I want to find a different way… I just don’t think I can sensibly manage that when I’m on my own.

But to get to where I am in this exact moment, to have the three pickles sleeping quietly upstairs, to have these few moments to blog, to know the world’s best duvet and bed are waiting for me… It’s ok. It’s no disaster. (The wine and chocolate help too…)


That feeling of dread when you see Nursery’s name calling your phone.  How often is it ever good news?

So the littlest pickle has a high temp. and is out of sorts. The gathering of bags, the apologies for leaving early (although the timing wasn’t too bad, and I’d had quite a productive day), the hope that it’s nothing serious, the wondering whether she’ll be well enough to go in tomorrow, the mental juggling of what ‘really’ needs to be done versus what can wait (but for how long?) and the overwhelming desire to get there quicker and administer cuddles…

I think about how it might be easier if we had a nanny, less disruption to work etc, but the honest truth is, that if she’s ill, I’d rather that one of us could be with her. And with hubby an ocean away, this time is my time.

It’s making the late pick up of biggest pickle from Spooky Disco more of an issue, but in pyjamas and blankets, I’m sure the car seat will be a fine snooze location…

Made it…

So, as hoped for, day 1 back at work but without the hubby has gone ok. Everyone made it through the day with all limbs in tact, behaviour has been less than great but hey ho. The littlest one was full of smiles, and the others made it to bedtime without actually killing each other, so…

I just wish I didn’t feel the guilt thing so often. And I also wish I was better at cooking for myself, but a reheated bolognese did just fine. And I even made it on to the sofa for a little sit and see… (Shortening of a hallowe’en costume for spooky disco at school!)

So, not as early to bed as hoped, but…


So, a friend at worked asked whether i had managed to start blogging, and I was super proud to say yes.  She then enquired what the blog was called… And a small panic attack later, I managed to stutter that it wasn’t really ready to be read yet… But why? If I’m blogging, surely the point is that people read it? If not, then why on earth am I bothering?

My fear of being ‘found out’ (as what? A fraud? A fake working mother??) or of having an opinion is strong… Anonymity is my favoured state…

Alone (& really should be in bed)

So, hubby departed this morning, to the US for the week – and you’d really think that by now I’d be okay with it – but I’m not.  I turn into a gibbering wreck, as if the idea of 5 nights without him is just so unfeasible… Parenting solo just feels like it will be so much harder.

The reality is that it’s not that much harder at all, I just don’t have anyone to share the gripes with – or anyone to talk to at the end of the day. A park run, a bookshop visit, a family dinner out – time passes with no issues, and everyone is still alive at the end of the day – the only real sign of success.

And so then, when I know I will get tired as I chase around at both ends of the day, with Breakfast Club drop off, and Nursery drop off, and car parking, and trains, and meetings, and then the reverse – what do I do? Do I rest up and go to bed early?

No, I clear my inbox, I start the Birthday and Christmas present lists, I look for holiday cottages, I do laundry, I clean shoes, pack bags… and get to 2240 and wonder what on earth I’m still doing sat downstairs at the computer.

So – I’m going to log off, go clean the day off my face, climb into the world’s best bed, write my one sentence journal, read some pages – and then miss the lump that is normally doing sudoku in the other side of the bed.

When I’ve made it through tomorrow, I’ll have reminded myself that it can all be done again… But for now, there is a small gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach that makes me feel like it all might just be a bit too much…

A coffee shop hipster (not)

How many months has it taken me to find the time to do this? Two many… But now, for today – it’s official. I am a coffee shop hipster (or not…)

But today was my first proper, on my own, day off – and I was determined to make myself blog… and I have.

I now work nine out of ten days – and so have every other Friday off – to myself.  Up until now, since my return to work in August, hubby was off as well – so the time was shared – with him, and the kids. But now, he’s back at work as well, the oldest is in school, and the younger two are at nursery. And I am claiming this day as my own.

Yes, I could have taken the kids out of nursery, but you know what, this time is for me.  The guilt does occasionally weigh heavy here (does this make me a bad parent?) but then i do something that makes me smile (have a coffee with a couple of the mums I made friends with at the school gates while on maternity, who I rarely get to see now) and I breathe in and I realise that this is part of making me a better parent. I am quite introverted really, and so I crave time on my own – and what with work, the kids, the hubby, the very small group of great friends, it can feel like I never have any headspace for myself.

So today, after the coffee (which was lovely) and the blood test (which meant I didn’t need to take time out of a working day) I decided that I would grab the laptop, and my notebooks and head to the loveliest of coffee shops near home – to just sit and actually blog. It’s me, the mac,a leather sofa, an extravagantly expensive ‘special reserve’ drip coffee, and time.

So I’ve updated the ‘what I’m reading / watching / listening to‘ pages, and then this post…

And it feels like a really special treat.

It’s been a busy time at work, with more travelling than I’m used to (and I’ve become a useless traveller – I hate it, airports are no fun at all), and pressure put on myself by myself to be the ‘perfect’ working person – as the guilt that I leave early and have this day off mounts.

But I’m starting to realise / believe that actually I’m pretty darned efficient in the nine days that I’m in the office – and for everything that anyone has asked of me, I’ve delivered.  It’s a work in progress, and I know I need to get better at caring less what other people might think.  But it’s going ok. And whilst the ‘love’ of work has yet to really return, I’ve done some good stuff, I’ve helped some people out – and that’s what makes me happiest.

I’ll grab another coffee, together with an exceptionally good brownie, and then I’ll go collect biggest Pickle from the school gates.  There will be a bike ride, some monkey bars – and then off to collect the littler pickles and head for some Friday night family tea.

I think I’m going to like these Fridays.