Where I want to be

I've been off work for just over two weeks now, and the kids have been out of childcare for the same length of time. I realise what I'm about to say will ruffle a few feathers, but I have to say it - the difference in them for being home full time is phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal. They're more relaxed, they're getting on so much better, (they're also arguing much more effectively as well but I'm going to go ahead and include that in progress as they're learning to stand up for themselves as well as when to back down) and they seem so much more confident. It's a huge change for me as well, but one that I'm absolutely loving. I was so nervous about this time, especially considering a few months ago I couldn't even manage them on my own for a few hours. I was worried about being home full time with no car - what would I do to keep them entertained? Would they be missing out if I wasn't able to bring them places? Short answer - needn't have worried in the slightest.

With this on my doorstep, why would I go anywhere else?
It's been wonderful. The longer we've been off, the more relaxed we've gotten. The days are just sort of unfolding without any need to plan. I generally have a loose idea of what we'll do - usually some variation on walk/bake/arty stuff/movie etc, and they've also gotten a lot better at keeping themselves entertained in between times. It took them a while to adjust to not having the structure of creche, but they're really settling now.

I did suggest they try using paper next time - but look how well they're working together!!
As for me, I'm much more confident, and I'm actually enjoying this time, properly enjoying it. That's not to say there haven't been times that I've wanted to tear my hair out - there have, many of them - but that's ok. It's part and parcel of being home full time with small people.

What's really struck me the most about it is the impact it's had on their confidence, D in particular. He's always been anxious, would tend to stick close to myself and Hubby, and generally wouldn't go and instigate play with other kids on the estate. This has long been a concern for us - should we push him? Should we stay out with him? Should we let him stay in? But the last couple of weeks have allowed us to try all of the above, and realise that he just needs more time. He's really confident one on one, and once he's with someone he knows well, there's no holding him back. But, it takes him a while to get there. Before, we just didn't have the time to help him with this, but now I can stay outside with him till he feels confident enough to join in with the others on his own, and if he doesn't want to, he's still getting plenty of time to run around. As for M? She now trots across the green on a regular basis to call for her friend, and my house closely resembles a train station with the amount of coming and going that's going on. I love it!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that what I suspected all along is true - for my family at least, the absolute best case scenario is to have the kids home as much as possible. We've all been through so much the last 6 years, it's bound to have impacted on them as well as myself and Hubby. We need this chance to reconnect and get to know each other again. If I wasn't feeling great I could easily spiral into guilt for having had to put them in full time childcare for the last couple of years, but it couldn't be helped, and it was the next best thing I could find to being home. But for me, for us, this is what works. It almost feels like I'm finally getting the chance to make up for all the missed time of those early years, and I'm so, so grateful for that. Right now, I'm exactly where I want to be.

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