I Miss My Stroller

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Photo credit

My boys are five and nine now and I’ve not pushed a stroller for quite some time. Believe it or not I kind of miss it! Not enough to expand our family any further (not tempted at all) but certainly enough to feel quite nostalgic about my strollers and prams.

Of course there was the practical aspect that was great, getting little ones from A to B in superfast time, being able to cover them up properly in the wind and the rain and of course the amicable nods and chats you would have with other stroller owners, whether you knew them or not.

Carrying my own shopping was the first thing I struggled to relearn after Taylor became too big for his pushchair (you soon learn to buy less!), as was walking upright and not ever so slightly stooped and with a stride and would mean no kicking the underneath of the buggy!

There are other things I miss too, like the long walks, sometime the power walks with the boys in their stroller enjoying the fresh air and the view, or napping and enjoying sweet dreams. Funny how I always had time to take them for a long walk every day even though I was working (from home) but now with them both at school I never seem to take the time to enjoy a good stroll out just for myself.

There are some things that I don’t miss however. I don’t miss the clunky room-filling models I had back then. I don’t miss needing a PHD in engineering to fold the things up to go in the car without pinching skin off my hands (every time) and I certainly don’t miss the never-ending and fruitless quest to find a cosy-toes or pushchair apron (everyone has a different name!) in order to keep my lanky-legged little boys warm as they sat!

Thinking about it, the stroller users of today seem to have it fairly easy. One touch folding and opening, accessories easy to find or included, strollers for travel which weren’t the £10 ones you picked up at the supermarket to go on holiday with and were so flimsy you wished you hadn’t bothered…..

As much as I do miss my strollers (or perhaps more so being a stroller user) I think if I could choose my favourite to have again it would opt for one of the newer ones instead. The ones that work for Roy at 6ft 5” and me at 5ft 2” (and a half) and that are better designed for walks or even one of these jogging stroller travel systems which would have been ideal for getting out on all terrains here in rural North Yorkshire with its forests, walks, fields and cobbled market places! I’ll choose one that would grow better with the children than mine did as all of mine promised to go from birth to finish, and none of them did and I’d look for one that closed with one hand. I’m a non-driver and regularly use public transport. Trying to fold and stow away your stroller while the bus driver and passengers are growling at you impatiently is about as much fun as it sounds.

I do miss having a stroller in a way and not just because I now have to carry my shopping (the struggle is real!); I really did enjoy the baby / toddler years so much and am astounded now looking back how quickly they flew by! If I were starting again however (I’m not) I’d be a lot more savvy about what I really want and need from my stroller!

 

A collaboration piece

The Work From Home Holiday Plan

bwprofA lifetime ago (just over 9 years) I held my newborn firstborn in my arms at my “back to work” interview and told my manager that I wanted to put my notice in. It wasn’t planned, or terribly well thought-out however it just felt right. I left the interview feeling lighter than I had for weeks and went to see Roy at his work to tell him what had happened. He was overjoyed as he loved the idea of me being at home with K however hadn’t said as much because he knew how important my career was to me and didn’t want to colour my decision.

Fast forward to 2016 and I’ve been self employed pretty much since, full-time for the past 6+ years as a freelance copywriter.

I love my work, I really do but above all I appreciate the flexibility being my own boss offers me as a Mum. It’s this flexibility that I’m writing about today, and how it enables me to continue working while being on hand for the boys and enjoying days out and more.

This long Easter/end of term break (18 days door to door)  has been my testing ground to see whether or not I’ll be able to continue working over the long summer holiday without using childcare, which I always have in the past, even if only for a few days a week. Kieran is nearly ten so doesn’t need to be in childcare (and has outgrown the local holiday play scheme) and Taylor would prefer to be at home at the same time. It has been a juggle however I’m pretty sure I’ve got my holiday working routine down to a fine art.

The Work From Home Holiday Plan

The Night Before (usually 7pm after the boys have gone up / to bed)
Check my emails and update my bullet journal with everything I need to do the following day.
Make any packed lunches, sort out any clothes and do any chores that I would usually leave until the morning.
Enjoy a leisurely evening (unless of course I have time scheduled in to finish work, however if I do I limit this to 1hr max) as I need my “me” time and my time with Roy.

First Thing
First thing during the holidays really is first thing. I’m up, have coffee and am at the PC for 4am. This is not something that works for everyone but I am much better in the morning than I am in the evening and enjoy the quiet, uninterrupted time.

From 4am-8am I write, and I do mean write. I don’t write social media posts. I don’t email people. I write. These four hours are the only guaranteed quiet hours I have during the holidays. It doesn’t sound like much but a minimum of four hours five days a week is a minimum of twenty hardcore writing time hours. It’s amazing how much you can get done under these early morning working conditions!

From 8am-7pm
I am Mum now. I play, I referee, we go out for day trips, walks, to the park, we bake, draw and generally have fun. Being one of those mean mothers I limit digital time and scheduling what they do have is working to my advantage. If we are in the house in the afternoon I let the boys have an hour of digital time. This is quiet time. This is when I send more emails, check messages, make notes, sort my social media accounts out and what not.

7pm
If we are out all day and so the boys don’t have their digital time and I don’t get that extra hour I tend to take this now (7pm-8pm), prep for the next day and I’m done. Again, it is rare that I work during the evening as by this point my brain isn’t in writing mode and besides, a little self care is required after a 4am start.

That’s it. This is my “working really well and being pretty flexible” holiday working routine. Could I work like this full time? No, although elements of it are incorporated in my usual working pattern, such as prepping the night before.

Is it Working?

So far, so good! This works for us and so will be what we do for the rest of the hols and over the summer.

If you work from home over the holidays how do you manage the juggle? I’d love to hear!

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