Image: Moyan Brenn
A lot of people believe that mothers are supposed to be completely selfless, perfect beings – angels without the wings. Most moms at some point in time or other fall into this line of thought, which can be detrimental to their physical and mental well-being. Why? Because no one is perfect and if you put that much pressure on yourself to attain the impossible, you’re setting yourself up for frustration, disappointment, and possibly even depression. Mothers are people too. We’re individuals and it’s time we allowed ourselves to get pampered every now and again without the guilt.
Embrace life outside your home
Childhood isn’t all shiny new toys and trips to the cinema. Kids have much more emotional intelligence than we think and they know and appreciate when their mom and dad are happy and satisfied. It’s important to show your kids that you’re a full human being besides being their mother. Young boys and girls need to see you engaged in the community and world around you – whether in charity work, hobbies or friendships.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom, charity and volunteer work is a great option to look into. You can decide how much time you can devote to each project and focus on areas that interest you the most. Do you like animals? Call up the local shelter and see if they need help. Are you political? Perhaps there’s a political campaign you can volunteer for and help out the larger community that way. Connecting with the world outside your own family does not make you less devoted to them – on the contrary, it teaches your kids an important lesson about civics and duty.
When you became a mother, all the things you liked doing before didn’t just up and disappear. Unfortunately many friends I’ve talked to have expressed guilt about missing hobbies and activities after having children. Don’t feel guilty! Set aside some time for yourself. Take a dance or music class for adults. Learn a foreign language. Dig out your old art supplies and start painting again. Your children will appreciate how well-rounded their mother is. A few of my friends started making jewelry and their kids just adore the handmade gifts they receive.
The next point cannot be stressed enough. You must maintain friendships. It’s so difficult to plan friend dates when you have young kids, but it needs to be done. By being social, you’ll teach your kids how to be social. You are the best teacher your kids will ever have and it’s so incredibly important that you show them how to maintain strong, healthy friendships for life. Absolutely do not feel guilty about calling a sitter for a night out with good friends.
Keep your dreams alive
J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, E.L. James – all these women wrote super successful book series while raising their kids. Don’t use your kids as an excuse to not follow your dreams. Moms should have plenty of ambition!
Have you always wanted to own a flower shop? Draw up a business plan and see if it’s something that can work for you and your family. Have the acting bug? Why not try out for a local community theatre production? Whatever you choose to pursue, your kids will be in awe of your talents and fearlessness.
Dreams can be simpler than becoming a local actor or successful writer. Take Jenn Burston for example. This mother-of-two from Exeter won £3 million from the National Lottery by playing the lottery online from the comfort of her own home. There are lucky moms on both sides of the Atlantic. Marie Holmes, a single mom of four in North Carolina recently won hundreds of millions in US Powerball. Obviously winning the lottery is incredibly rare, but it can be a really fun activity to daydream about what you’d do with the winnings. Iconic songwriter Patti Smith’s mom used to write down a list of what she’d buy with a lottery jackpot, which inspired Smith to later pen “Free Money”.
Jump back to reality and write a list like Smith’s but with things you want to accomplish or experience that can be more easily attained. Work your way through the list and satisfy some of your desires and dreams.
Treat yourself and your relationship right
This is the most obvious point, but you deserve a treat every once and awhile. Don’t feel guilty when you book a salon or spa appointment, as long as your finances allow for such a treat. If you’re on a budget, invite some of your fellow mom friends over and do each other’s nails while the kids watch a movie or play together. Take some time out every day to read a book. Relax and enjoy.
Talk with your spouse if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a break. Suggest a date night for the two of you and go to a nice restaurant, art gallery, or live show. Maintaining a romantic and loving relationship with your spouse is one of the most important things you can do for each other and your children. They need to see a healthy relationship in action, so never feel bad about taking a night off for a date.
Your most important job is to keep your children happy and healthy. But remember that to do so means that you need to also be happy and healthy. Strive for that and do it guilt-free.
I know people who hate talking on the phone. Others simply love to call. Many things can be done today by email but some people feel the need to call you and talk directly, it feels faster and more secure in a way. I was always somewhere in the middle. I’m not a phone addict but I don’t really love it either. A phone that constantly rings tends to be a nuisance, people always want something from you, don’t they? They do, but my perspective changed, I can see the bright side now.
Smartphones are more useful with NobelApp
Well, my indifferent attitude about phones changed now that I have kids. I’m thinking of a few things. First of all, with apps like NobelApp created by NobelCom I can basically call anyone in the world at super-low rates through my Internet connection or just regular phone lines. This allows me to get in touch with friends and family from all over the world to ask about stuff that I am interested in, to get ideas and to talk about how fun and hard it is to raise kids. So I am becoming the annoying one who calls people, but that’s fine because I’m not the only one.
I am also grateful that such services exist. My kids are growing up and they start to be interested in travelling. The day will come when they will be independent enough that they will want to go on holiday in Spain, the Canary Islands or even Thailand and my only way of getting a hold of them without breaking the bank will be through apps like Nobel App. Maybe if they can also call cheaply back home they will do it more often and not forget about their parents completely.
Being able to reach anyone in the world quickly and enjoying excellent voice quality at super-low prices is certainly something I could have not imagined a few years ago. It used to be super-expensive to call overseas. Now you have this app you can install on your smartphone or on your computer and you can suddenly make calls for less than 2 cents per minute anywhere. Companies are using VoIP services like this more and more to lower costs and the lowering costs part is also useful in any household. Why not save money? Especially when you can get better service for less? I can even call my friends in Lapland now and chat for hours without worrying about the cost.
Going on holiday
You know why else international phone cards are amazing? Because sometimes, once in a million years, parents get to go on holiday without the kids. When that rare event happen they do want to be able to get a hold of their children, a few times per day actually, and that can lead to incredibly high phone bills. Luckily NobelApp jumps to the rescue and allows worried parents to drive kids mad with phone calls to check on them without spending a whole lot. Isn’t it wonderful how parenting and technology intertwines?
Argh, grown up stuff is stressful, isn’t it? As soon as you’ve got one thing sorted another comes along. I’ve finally got all the right insurances – house, car, dog, cat – sorted out and start feeling like a grown up, like I’m winning at life. And then someone comes along and mentions something about pensions and now I’m all ‘argh, I don’t have a pension, I’m a failure. I’ll have to work till I’m 292 years old’.
Seriously, can’t we just have one week off from all this being grown up stuff? Just a few days to catch our breath?
I don’t know anything about pensions. They’re for old people surely. What do I, a young 21 year old, need to know about them? They are for people in the 30’s… oh, wait a minute… Mmmm, I seem to have inadvertently got old.
So erm, pensions. They sound interesting…
Actually no they don’t. They sound utterly terrifying. What if you choose the wrong one? How do you know which is the right one? Are there good and bad ones? I can feel myself drifting into a sea of hopeless paralysis at the mere thought of it. It’s all just too grown up and I don’t think I can manage.
We all have reactions like that to big scary things though, don’t we? This was my reaction a few days ago before I started doing a little digging and sleuthing (okay, I googled it for a few hours) and I think that maybe, possibly, it’s not as scary or complicated as it initially seemed. Lots of companies do pensions and they are investment led, so the company you have your pension with invest your money in various things with the view to increasing the amount of money you have in your pension. I had a gander at Nutmeg and their pension calculator that I found online (other pension providers are available), which made things seem a lot clearer.
So okay, pensions are still scary – words like investments and portfolio are the sort to send me into a blind panic – but It’s not quite as horror inducing as before. What about you, do you have a pension? If not will you be getting one soon? Do things like this scare you as much as they do me?
Now If you’ll excuse me, I have to go deal with another scary big grown up thing – paying the bills. Gah.
It seems like everyone except me is planning a camping trip to France this year. I swear everyone I know with a camper or caravan is off and every other discussion on T25 forums seems to be about route planning in France or what fancy plug thingies you need there. And well, I’m not having it. I refuse to be the only person in the known universe that isn’t going to France camping soon.
And so I’m trip planning. Probably for next year, but trip planning nonetheless. Me, Poppy (the van) and possibly the kids if they are good, are going to take a wee road trip for a few weeks and see some of France. Ooh la la!
Poppy the VW
The thing with taking the kids though is making sure there is plenty of stuff for them to do. Whilst I may have dreams of vineyards, unspoiled coast-line, pretty fishing villages and castles the kids are going to need something a bit more… well, fun. Like other kids to play with, a pool, entertainment, activities and so forth. This sort of thing…
Luckily Yelloh! Village, a company that has won loads of awards for their campsites in France including from the Michelin Camping Guide, have asked me to take a look at some of their sites and write about them here. Planning a camping trip in France is both fortuitous and much more exciting than looking at holidays in Bognor watching acts that failed to win televised talent shows, right?
Yelloh! Village have loads of camping sites around France that seem to offer the best of both worlds: swimming pools and fun for the kids, whilst set in gorgeous natural surroundings and close to local points of interest. And they all seem to cost just €18 per night for a pitch which comes to around £12.
The trouble is which one to choose: I counted 62 Yelloh! Village campsites in France!! Crikey. I guess this is where the road trip planning comes in.
I’m thinking of taking the ferry from Portsmouth to Roscoff, see some of Brittany and then head down to the beautiful sea-faring town of La Rochelle. And I guess there is nothing to stop us spending a few nights at lots of different sites.
Les Mouettes campsite is close to the port of Roscoff. It’s a seaside campsite with heated swimming pools, paddling pool, a tropical river, leisure pool and slides – everything you could want for a relaxing few days after taking the trip over to France.
Heading down the coast through Brittany the lovely looking site of La Plage is set in a prefect location for exploring some of the medieval and fortified villages and towns of the region. Plus it has pools, slides and is close to the beach to keep the kiddos happy.
And then down further, La Rochelle, a town I have long wanted to visit, is close to Le Littoral, the five star Yelloh! Village camping site. This campsite is also really close to the famous seaside resort of Les Sables d’Olonne which has the ‘most beautiful beach in Europe’. Plus it has it’s own draw too with a 2000m2 pool area with slides and a beach nearby.
I think 4 nights at each site should provide us with enough relaxation and fun time, enough time to explore the surrounding areas without feeling as though we are constantly on the go. And without the kids whining too much that they are bored, which is basically the most important element of any family holiday, lets face it.
So what about you? Where would you go camping in France?
I swear my kids are bonkers, completely off their heads. An affliction that seems to effect them most exactly at the point where I say “right kids, bedtime!”
You know, that bit of the day where you think you can start to relax and unwind. Maybe even put your feet up and enjoy some peace and quiet.
Ha ha ha. Peace and quiet. Yeah, right.
So far in the last couple of weeks we’ve had toothpaste spat up the bathroom walls instead of down the sink.
The bathroom floor flooded
Nerf guns filled with water cause they really want a water gun
All of the little dental stick floss thingies flung out of the bathroom window and onto the trampoline below.
The bathroom turned into a armory; the bath filled with all manner of swords, guns, and hitty shooty things.
Naked sword fights with wooden swords up and down the stairs.
And then a couple of nights ago, just as I thought they were finally quieting down and going to sleep my son comes running down the stairs shouting “look at me, mummy!” I look up and there is half a toilet roll trailing him, one end stuck up his bum!
He thinks he’s fricking hilarious, his sister is up stairs wetting herself laughing and I’m trying to keep a straight face whilst shouting “Will you go to bed!”
It’s not surprising I drink, is it?
It’s not just my kids, right?