Here I am, hid away in the office with a cup of Yorkshire and a few strawberries in my Cadbury chocolate yoghurt (i’m a Galaxy girl but its desperate times) in need of some blog therapy and this is only DAY ONE!

Day one? Yeah – Today was the first day back into our normal routine where Ash is at work, the boys (or boy depending on nurse cover) are at nursery in the afternoons and I am just flying solo, keeping the plates spinning – an empty shell!

I feel this way and Ash worked from home majority of today, helped me with nursery drop off and pick up, so it wasn’t even worst case – but I lost my shizzle all the same because today was just a stark reminder, that after 3 weeks of lovely family time (albeit highs and lows – we were in it together) I am back to being that STAY AT HOME MUM that I never planned to be, and do you know what, if I am brutally honest – it isn’t who I am. It’s not me. I love my kids beyond measure, I have given them everything I have, all that I am and more, and my god I dig deep, I dare a single person out there to question my parenting, but my soul, my passion, my brain, thrive in my career, that career I left behind over 3 years ago, and today was just a reminder that there is no point at which I can get that back, pinpointed in the diary.

Yes, sure, I will at some point be able to return to work, but the reality is that we can only have nurse cover for the hours of funded childcare, as the funding is given to support Rory’s development, not to allow me to work. I am Rory’s carer and parent, and so to be honest, whilst he has the trachy, and he isn’t in full time school, I am at home with him and not at work! Even if it was an option, to buy in a nurse and pay for childcare ourselves, it wouldn’t be financially viable, as it would cost me £30 an hour just to send them to nursery. It isn’t a choice that I made, it isn’t a path that I chose, but I longed to be a parent and I would do anything for my children, and that I have, but if we are putting our cards on the table, I long for that balance of having something for me too.

Some days that something for me can be an hour in the office to blog and have a cuppa in peace, a shower, a shower to wash my hair AND actually dry it if I am lucky, chance to scroll down Facebook or call one of my friends and have a conversation that isn’t disjointed between toddler tantrums and dog yaps, but I mean something that really is for me, that keeps the rest of my being alive, not just the maternal part!

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I know my situation is different from most, its not like I just have two kids, I have twin boys both with additional needs, I am a full time nurse, as well as a parent. I have so many other tasks to complete in a week that you probably don’t even realise, managing appointments, medication, ordering and managing medical equipment, nurse and pre-school rota’s and organising and delivering training of nursery staff, new nurse staff, daily trachy cares….on top of all the usual mum stuff and with very little sleep and very little break to focus on anything else.

It wouldn’t be so bad if my days consisted of some adult conversation, but as our plan to phase nap out didn’t work, and I am led by the boys and their needs, my days are literally, morning routine, nap time, nursery drop off, nursery pick up, tea time routine, bed time routine. Cleaning the house, doing the washing, all of the admin that there is to keep the house turning, car insurance, life insurance, house insurance, mortgages, MOT, TAX, banking, cooking the tea, washing the pots, walking the dog, all the usual shit that mums do but with all the extra of a parent/carer, nurse, medic, pharmacist……There is very little time to meet up with friends, play dates, go anywhere and do anything else. I sit here right now and I just see one continuous period of time where i do the above, on repeat.

Some would argue that I do have something for me, my blogging and social media, Mum’s The Word feature in local magazine, Secretary for Mates of Milton community group, and then I help manage Mr Handy & Hardy Electrical Solutions business accounts, marketing, comms etc but all of that is done from mobile phone, laptop, ipad….none of it requires me to go anywhere, meet anyone, do anything strenuous or challenging. I thrive on the rat race. I thrive on pressure and targets and climbing the ladder. Im eager, searching for something to get my teeth into. I suppose starting Ash’s business this time last year kept this overwhelming empty feeling at bay because I played a big part in the business planning and start up of Hardy Electrical Solutions, which is now thriving and then when my Dad retired, I did the same again. But now, i’m just back to where I was, itching for a challenge. Something for me!

In June last year I bought the web domain for Austin & Rory because the blog had outgrown the free web space we were given by wordpress, and that is how we ended up with our own website and I bought into various advertising packages so that wordpress was no longer making money from companies who advertised on the blog – but that I was. I also look into lots of other opportunities that the blog and Austin & Rory’s following was open to, all of which require a great deal of time, passion and commitment. Now I certainly have the passion and the commitment, but what I don’t have much of is time. You could help me grow the blog though – like, share, tell the world and its neighbour about Austin & Rory. Ironically, even today, I am still hearing from friends or followers about bumping into people who read our blog, sparking conversations up ‘oh I follow Austin & Rory and the other day they wrote about…..’ and ending up with ‘no way, I followed them from the start’ or ‘shut up! How do you follow them? Kelly is my friend.’ and as the blog grows organically, those opportunities grow bigger and eventually, if it is kept going, I will find the time and I can work on it then, but that doesn’t solve these feelings now!

I drive past empty buildings and think about what business I could open, I watch my Husband turning work away because he is just too busy and genuinely consider whether I should retrain as a sparky and join him on the road? Could you imagine! Equally, none of this is possible because for now I am stuck. I have no control. I have no soul. I just have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going, keep giving, keep believing, keep loving my boys and hope that in the end, their struggles, their adventures will just add to my rucksack of tools, qualifications, experience and qualities and just make me a better catch on the employment market when the time is right!

On another note – first day back at nursery today, not for Rory as we didn’t have nurse cover, but for Austin. I was worried about it as they have had 3 weeks off, but I asked parked up, asked him if he wanted to go to nursery and play with Jess & Norah and he said ‘yeh’ jumped out the car, I could barely zip his coat up as he ran through the playground, even another parent said ‘i’ve never seen him look as happy to be at nursery’ and I had to agree, i got his lunch box and water bottle out of his bag and he took them and skipped off, taking the nursery ladies hand, to choose a seat for his lunch. Didn’t even look back, it took my breath away. I looked through the window and my eyes filled with tears, my little man all grown up. I wonder what Wednesday will bring for Rory when it is his first day back with Super Claire, our nurse!

I hardly took any pictures today, which is unusual for me, once we did nursery drop off, Daddy went back to work and me and Rory went on an adventure, we went to Sports Direct, The Post Office, ALDI and Boyes. This might not seem much of an adventure, but he walked holding my hands, so sensibly and it is actually  a massive deal for him to have done that in 4 different places. Getting in and out of the car, coat on, coat off again. Parents with children who have additional needs, tracheostomy, development delay, social and communication challenges….the struggle is real isn’t it! Well today – we absolutely smashed it! I was so proud of him that we went home for a snack and to put the shopping away before nursery pick up and I let him have 15 minutes of Peppa on the TV, breaking the 5PM rule but he loves it, laughing his head off and running round in circles like a giddy kipper.

After nursery, I had put a load of washing in and like usual, A&R love to muscle their way into the utility room and mess about with the cycle. My washing machine is so confused with life that i’m surprised it still works, sets off on a quick wash, is half way through when it gets swapped to something else, then something else, paused, stopped, started again. The tumble dryer gets turned on when there is nothing inside. Drives me mad. Today, I had put some vanish crystals on some yellow trousers of the boys and put it in the washer ready to go with the uniforms when we stripped them down for bedtime, and Rory had pulled them back out the washer, so there were vanish crystals EVERYWHERE and the hoover wouldn’t pick them up out of the grout channels of the tile. Aaarghh!!

And then the next minute they are playing nicely with a wind up toy robot and soldier having a race across the table.

Two sides to every toddler!

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