I don’t spend enough time with my children, despite the fact that I mostly work from home. I am always busy and when I’m not busy, I’m so knackered that I’m no good to anyone. I know that a lot of this has to do with the recent house move (added to the previous three) and a very, very stressful few years, but a) this is not going to get any better and b) that will be no comfort to me when they’re suddenly eighteen and have left home or simply don’t want to hang around with me anymore.
Boy the Elder spent most of this weekend with a friend (at the Cosby Air Show) and after we had dropped him off, Boy the Younger and I decided to go for a walk at Foxton Locks. On a whim, we popped in and took one of his friends along as well. We had a lovely time but as we drove back BTY asked if this friend could come back for a sleepover.
Now, I am ashamed to admit that I absolutely hate having my children’s friends over for sleepovers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with their friends, but particularly with the younger ones, I resent the extra responsibility of another child. Isn’t that awful? And particularly at the moment, when there is still so much work to be done in the house before it will be as I want it, the additional pressure leaves me feeling absolutely drained.
The boy sleeping over was fine but I couldn’t wait for him to be collected, mostly because I could feel a massive headache coming on of the kind that requires a day in bed with hot water bottles on the back of my neck.
I’m also not very good at being spontaneous. I used to be spontaneous years ago, renowned for it in fact, but not anymore. Spontaneity suggests large chunks of free time that have been unaccounted for and I rarely have those. When they boys are at their dad’s, I usually spend my time catching up on jobs or asleep. By Sunday evening, I’m starting to relax a bit but then Monday comes again all too soon.
But after the friend had gone and BTY and I were on our own, I felt far too guilty to go to bed and leave him downstairs alone, so I suggested that we bake a cake together. This was extremely well received and although he got a bit silly and messy, he eventually produced a multi-coloured cake decorated with bright yellow buttercream and Smarties. He declared that it was a Happy Cake and couldn’t wait for Boy the Elder to come home and have a slice. My heart melted a usual.
While we were waiting for the cake to cool, I suggested that we get a jigsaw and we returned to an old favourite depicting three Spitfires against a stormy sky. We got the straight edges out and did the outline first and then he got to work on the Spitfires. He was so thrilled when he managed to get pieces in the right places and we really enjoyed doing the puzzle together.
When Boy the Elder came home, the dynamic changed, but it brought it home to me very strongly that I have to make more time for them. When BTE was little, he didn’t have an older brother muscling in on his time, telling him what to do or generally being a git. I also had the time to do creative things with him on a regular basis. BTY has always had to share his time and I have not been in the position to do lots of creative stuff with him. He needs to spend quiet periods with me, just being together and having a bit of fun.
Must try harder. Otherwise I’ll live to regret it.