I’m sat, on the sofa, comfy, relaxed. Typing.
My daughter is sat next to me, contentedly supping her warm bedtime milk.
My husband is cooking our dinner, having just bathed and dressed our daughter, following a day looking after her whilst I was at work.
I’ve just enjoyed 4 long days off with my little beauty, enjoying the bank holiday sunshine and having fun.
This is balance. This is something we’ve not had in a while, and it feels, well, balanced.
Summarising the above gives me a sense of relief, and makes me realise how very lucky we are.
Tomorrow, Lylah will be at my mum’s, enjoying a day at her Nonna’s, playing and being spoiled! Then the next day she will be with daddy again, tiring him out and making lots of messes!
Lylah benefits from spending time with different people on different days, with a healthy dose of mummy every morning and night, and across a nice long 4 day weekend. The point here is, that while Lylah is getting that daily variety, so is everyone else. Chris and I are both parents and workers, on different days of the week, and at last I think our lives are slightly less juggled.
Yes, we still have a lot going on, but there is now a more dominant sense of a daily family life – we’ve even eaten meals together recently! At the table!
For the first 15 months of Lylah’s life, apart from paternity leave and the odd burst of annual leave, Chris has worked over an hour away, juggling long hours, and because of this we didn’t spend a huge amount of time together with Lylah.
Hang on…Lylah has finished her milk…she’s on me…she’s on the laptop…
…I’m back, teeth brushed, cuddles and sleepy kisses done and she’s in bed, ahhhhhh.
So, I was saying, for the first 15 months of Lylah’s life, Chris has worked hard, commuted long hours and been generally exhausted every single day! Combined with the stresses of his job, this led to us both desperate for him to find a job closer to home, so we can make the most of our time with Lylah together. Up until now, I expect Lylah wondered whether Chris and I ever saw each other, as the three of us were rarely in a room together!
3 weeks ago, Chris started a job 10 minutes from home – that’s 10 minutes walking! It has made such a difference, and we now have something that is so very precious – time! Time together, time as a family with Lylah, and just as important, time to ourselves. We have joined the gym, we are getting exercise, we are having breakfast and dinners together. It is wonderful!
On Saturday, we met for lunch, had a coffee together, and had fun with Lylah. It makes such a difference to the day when you get to spend that little extra time together as a family unit.
It does make me feel for those who aren’t lucky enough to have their husbands and daddies at home all the time. Those in the military, working away and with jobs that mean they are working hours on end, starting early and finishing late. I admire the mummies and daddies out there who are doing it alone, struggling day by day to provide everything that 2 people should for a child. A lot of the time, these situations are out of people’s control, but where you can, it is so important to have a balance.
Work, but not too hard that it has a detriment to your family. Play, but not too hard that it means you are hungover for your one day with your child at the weekend. Spend time together, but also spend time apart, to make you appreciate each other and to give your own mind some space and relaxation.
There is no one set way to be a family, no right way of doing things, but I’m just happy that in this moment, we have found the right way for us.