5 Things | How My Children Have Made Me More Fun

Summer 2019

I still find it truly unreal that people are interested in the things I share online - but never more so than when I was asked by the amazing Zabby Allen to write an article for her zine, The Procrastination Paper. The theme of the issue was Play and I was given free reign to chat about whatever I fancied (terrifying!) but this has been a '5 Things' post I had wanted to write for a while and when better than for a brand new audience.

I often find that parents are quick to discuss all the things they miss from their pre-baby life but I for one cannot thank parenthood enough for making my life a million times better in pretty much every sense (except that sweet sleep deprivation) For some, having children ends a care-free life of career, travelling and being able to do as you want, when you want but luckily for me, having my first baby at the age of 22 was the very start of all these things. I can’t remember what life was like before Ivy and then Ted came into my life but I’m not sure I really want to either - I love the person they have shaped me into and the way my life has unexpectedly turned out and I have undoubtedly become a lot more fun since my life became child-led - and here’s how!

1. Playing In
Gah it’s true, a lot of parenthood is playing games you really wish you’d rather not (playdoh in a rented house for example) but there is something so magical about playing with the toys that take you right back to your own childhood with your own little person. In between the moments they are driving me mad, it’s kinda cool to say it’s my job to build a brio track on demand, cook extra lunch for the soft toy of the moment or playing Jenga at 10am as well it as bringing a lovely sense of nostalgia for my own enjoyment. But the fun doesn’t stop there, in order to keep the kids entertained for 24 hours of the day, everything becomes a game and even the most mundane tasks become ‘Why don’t we play get our shoes on?’ Or ‘Whoever tidies up the quickest, wins!’ Which is vital for my sanity.

2. Playing Out
However fun things can get at home, we are very much a family that copes better out of the house and I have a forever-growing list of places that we are keen to get out and experience - most of which do not cost a lot of cash. Nothing makes me happier than seeing them learn and explore when we’re out and about on our adventures which just encourages me to seek out even more places for us to go to together. Before I had children, I still had the list but never seemed to find the time or motivation to just get up and go and now, I have been to far more museums in London in the last 5 years since I moved away than I ever did when I actually lived there, and I happened to work  a 10 minute walk from South Kensington (home of the V&A, Natural History and Science Museums) so I had no real excuse not to. I tend to stick to places that have a level of enjoyment for us all but I’ll admit I’m the first to get stuck in when we visit a new playground.

3. Playing Dress-Up
Despite working with clothes before coming a fashion-blogger, my children are probably much better known for the way they dress than I am, but why should I let them have all the fun? Dressing my own children in bright, bold garments has given me the confidence to get so much more playful with my own wardrobe. We need to ditch the idea that dungarees are exclusively toddler-wear as I have never known comfort or practicality like it and yes, you can absolutely rock those patterns together if you feel happy in them. I still wish I could carry myself the way Ivy does all self-assured in retro florals and knee high socks but I’m certainly in a much better mind-frame than I was before her oozing confidence became my daily inspo.

4. Creating My Own Play-Time
I know now that in order to be fab and fun with my babies,  I have to make sure I’m getting that all important time to myself too - proper play time that is just mine but ultimately makes me a much better mum. I cannot tell you how long it took to get over the guilt of not being with them (which is ridiculous when you’re a Stay At Home Mum and are with them almost every minute of every single day) and even now I race to get home to them after my weekly, hour-long yoga session but it is having them and wanting to do my best for them which has taught we the true-art of self-care. The odd cinema date with a friend, a 20 minute walk with a coffee whilst they nap in a buggy or simply finding time to repaint my nails mean so much to me and my mental health that I really find the effort to get those moments in and savour them

5. Realising Life is Far Too Short Not To Enjoy It
There is nothing like watching your children grow up in the blink of an eye to make you realise just how very short life is and makes you wonder why you’d want to waste any of it. I am more spontaneous than I ever was pre-kids, I understand that just a little more effort creates a lotta more fun and each playful moment I get with them needs to be savoured. It won’t be long before they won’t want to play on the swings with me any more and that rush of joy as you try and get as high as you can is just the same at 50 than it was at 5 - so find those moments, create more and then treasure them forever.