With an extended mid-term break announced in Northern Ireland as part of recent Covid restrictions, I have found myself with some unexpected time on my hands and two very busy boys to entertain. I must say it has been a quite welcomed ‘break’ if that’s what you can call it; an opportunity to try and slow down and an attempt to reduce the mum guilt by spending quality time together. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Doesn’t matter if we are working mums, stay at home mums, single mums, full-time working or part-time working mums. I think guilt comes with the territory. Maybe it’s a sign of just how much we truly care!
As a mum of twin boys who are 19 months, I’d say I live a very frantic and busy life. I teach part-time, run my Little Learners business and most importantly try to be a good mum and keep the house running. Wow…it can be pretty overwhelming at times. Then add into the equation a world pandemic. For many that’s a recipe for disaster. I’m quite open about the fact that I suffer from anxiety and have done for probably most of my life. In recent times I have been so overwhelmed by ‘life’ and what is going on in the world like most of the population. Restrictions that we are all living with certainly put added pressure mentally and emotionally to an already busy and overloaded brain. I rely quite heavily on family support in order to run my business and have the boys taken care of and I put extreme pressure on myself to ‘get things done’ and to ‘cope’. Sound familiar??? Thought so!! A bit of a step back is what I needed and a few days to slow down and just do things with the boys for fun and enjoyment rather than for a purpose or on a time limit.
Going to public places with twins can be extremely stressful. It’s a logistical nightmare in itself! It’s like packing for a two week holiday, it’s a two man job or more and that’s just getting there. After 19 months I still haven’t got used to the attention we get in public…the questions, the stares, the comments (all mostly meant with good intentions). I get anxious, I get worked up and stressed and it’s hard to not feel like you are being watched at all times. Toddlers always seem to pick their moments too to throw a tantrum! Then comes the mum guilt again…when I admit that I probably avoid going most places therefore depriving them from the experiences other babies and toddlers get to have. With this in mind, I’ve been working on my mindset and how I react to situations. Through the anxiety and the worry, one thing is for sure…I am so truly lucky and privileged to have been blessed with this amazing pair of miracles. I found the courage this week and the four of us went to Streamvale Farm (just outside Belfast) to their annual ‘Pumpkin Patch’ this week. We survived and I can honestly say we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The staff were amazing with the boys, the Covid-secure measures they had in place were fantastic an we felt safe at all times. It certainly didn’t take away from the fun and enjoyment of our first family trip to the farm.
To continue our pumpkin themed week we did some mark making on our pumpkins at home using our Little Brian Paint Sticks which we purchased from the Little Learners Shop. I’m always looking for simple activities to do with the boys at home. As their ability and independence increases they are becoming more enthusiastic about mark making and enjoy sitting down together to engage in activities. I thought it would be lovely for them to decorate their own pumpkin to display with pride as last Halloween they were too young to have much interest.
There’s really not much to it but child led mark making and decorating. The perfect Halloween activity for under twos! The boys gave themselves plenty of claps and praise when they were finished. They have taken pride of place on our window sill for everyone to see. If you’re like me and apprehensive and worried about introducing more chaos to life with babies/toddlers, definitely give this go! I promise it’s a manageable one.
Fiona xx From Little Learners Lisburn & North West Belfast
Check out more amazing Halloween & Pumpkin ideas here!