Sociologists typically look at the sandwich generation as an ageing phenomenon but, for me, the experience hit me too young. It is only recently that life has started to re-find its equilibrium. Mum's recovery has been slow and taken huge bravery on her part.
So, my point here is that as the partner of a parent at home, you, whether you realise it or not, provide much of that validation. Next to our children, you are the most important people in our lives. You are the other half of this parenting team and your opinion means a LOT
Parenting is hard work and when faced with entertaining our little people for six whole weeks it can make us a little crazy. Factor in the financial burden as well and this time of year can become more expensive than christmas.
Although I did tell her today that carrots would help her see in the dark yesterday, and in my defence it worked... No, nothing too severe. Merely those little white lies we tell when we try to spare our children from the harsh reality; sometimes, we just don't wanna.
That's not to say that my toddler son and I don't pack out day with a multitude of fun things...it's just that these particular activities have the tendency to drive us (ok, me) to the brink.
It's only now, that I'm going through all the milestones again with child number two that I realise how stressed out I was with my first born. I worried about literally EVERYTHING. I was so clueless and a completely nervous wreck during his first few years and all it took to calm me down was having another child and throwing my life into such total chaos that I no longer had the time or energy to stress.
Apparentlly about 97% of pregnant women experience this instinctual response. I think it shows how primal we still are - we have the same instincts as other mammals in pregnancy and in labour. We want to create a nest for our new arrival and we want to feel safe and comfortable during labour and birth.
We became ever-so-slightly smug. Somewhat foolishly, we let ourselves believe that we were right. Balancing university and pregnancy had been the hardest part; everything now was just an easy routine. It was reinforced when I graduated with a First Class degree, and Daf graduates this year with a 2:1.
In a big family house by the sea, I watch my four-year-old blonde daughter launch herself across the couch to gleefully 'body slam' her doppleganger blonde father. One and the same Mr Happy our sperm donor, Scott is now my husband and Leila's dad.
Now, don't get me wrong i'm not saying that being a mum doesn't require us to use our brain boxes. God I've discovered things I never thought I could do thanks to Motherhood. I'm talking about the parts of my brain I used to have firing on all cylinders pre baby.
Over eight years ago, my family started a new journey: Home Education. It was a journey ahead that felt extremely frightening, as I knew I would be wholly responsibility for my children's learning, and super exciting as I knew that there would be many adventures ahead!
At my lowest point, I hand her to my husband and say, "There was nothing even wrong with us before. We were fine, just us two. Why did we ever think a baby was a good idea? I don't even want her." I don't even want her. I actually said that.
Every day I plan to factor in a little relaxation, a few stretches - something to soothe and refresh my tired, frayed mind. And then, the day whirls by in haze of toddler negotiations, baby feeding frenzies and a whole heap of nappies, and all of a sudden I'm clocking in for the night shift again.
For the first time he will have a whole life away from me. New friends and new experiences that I won't be able to directly share with him. Of course it will be good for him. I know that, but my Mummy heart wants to scoop him up and hold him close. I want to be the one that knows his every mood or whimsical thought. Each night I spend a little longer with him, as time marches on into September.
There's nothing about the job that is better suited to men. The days are long gone when the driver was also expected to roll up their sleeves and fix mechanical problems. There are team of technicians for that.
Is there a way of readying your little ones, or not so little ones, for the festival world, or should you just let them experience it for themselves, warts-and-all? Is it as much about educating yourself, as your children? Whatever the answer, here's how you can prepare:
When I became pregnant with my first son I was both filled with joy and terror because I just had no idea how I was going to be able to labour and give birth in a hospital. That was without any doubt my worst nightmare! My husband and I decided to look for alternatives and came across home birth.
Prizing kids apart from technology can be like tearing barnacles from rocks fused together. I must stay strong. We will have fun and we will have fun together. So, I inflict a temporary gadget embargo. Reminiscing back to my favourite days as a lad