At the moment I spend most of my days in play parks with my kids.
Probably because these are the places I grew up in, and these are the places that my memories are made of.
There are several types of park near us. The closest we can walk to and it even has a small bridge before you arrive at it (where trolls live). Another is next to a cricket field, so once bored with the park the kids enjoy running up and down playing football or tig. Our favourite though, has to be a new one that we have discovered which is next to a lake, with ducks to feed, an ice-cream van and a really BIG slide.
If I am being honest I have become very grumpy nowadays.
The tidal wave of cancer seems to have crashed over our little world and the trail of destruction it has left behind seems to creep up on me at various points of the day. Some days I am 100% fine and then it hits me randomly when I least expect it to…
I am tired. Even after a full nights sleep I feel quite weary and everything seems to be an effort. My husband often asks how I am feeling on a given day – and there are only so many times you can say you are tired (I am even beginning to bore myself), but then there it is, the honest answer.
Sometimes I get so tired I get snappy and irritable with the children. Of course I try not to be, but the truth is I am only human and inevitably after someone asks me the same question on repeat throughout the day – eventually I just have enough and retort with an answer that I know better than to say. The worst case of this is when my son (who has quite a repetitive nature at the best of times) says ‘Mum? Mum? Mum? MUM?’ and when I finally stop halfway through what I am doing, exasperated, and ask ‘YES?!’ He says ‘I love you’. What a little heartbreaker.
So my answer to the tiredness and being a grumpy mum is to hit the park. My old friend the park.
Back when I had a baby and toddler and I couldn’t drive, we would spend most of our Summer days in the local parks because these were the places that I could walk to easily.
Even nowadays the kids love it. They love the freedom of running around and challenging themselves to do the things that they are not yet old enough for (the monkey bars) whilst I cringe from the sidelines. They meet other children and have funny little conversations about their games and what they like to play.
I inevitably cheer up because fresh air helps, I’m not sure how it does but it does. No matter how shaky you are feeling, a deep breath in and lung full of fresh air instantly makes you feel better. Eventually after a rest on a bench in the sunshine and lots of thumbs up to various achievements, I begin to feel like the old me again. I have even been known to chase the cheeky monkeys around – not really caring what I look like or what other mums think, because I don’t really have the time or energy to worry about such things anymore.
After the park we go and get an ice-cream and sit and watch the ducks on the lake, and it’s just nice. We sit and have a little chat about the day, or attempt to learn about the different types of ducks (well not really, but there is a board to tell you). We have even been known to walk all the way around the lake on a nice day – which is no easy thing when your kids hate walking.
When it is time to leave nobody wants to – me nor them.
The few hours leading upto teatime have passed away and we leave to go home – shattered (just me) but happy. Dinner hasn’t been prepared (around that time we had been enjoying a giant 99′ ice- cream), bathtime is late, as is bedtime – but non of that really matters.
I achieved what I set out to do – I left grumpy mum at the park, the children have another little memory for the bank, and our lives go on as normal once more.