Some things take a leap of faith

Most of the time I feel like I’m winging it – life, work, parenting, you name it, I’m doing the best I can and am always nicely surprised when there’s a positive result. On many occasions life decisions are taking an (almost) blind leap of faith and hoping for the best. It was on Tuesday night I was having (non-alcoholic) drinks with my best friend when she encouraged me to stop and take a minute to look at how far I’d come in the last year. Uncharacteristically for me (I like to always be looking forward) I did this and I remembered this time last year, sitting in the garden with my great friend, who was over from America. I was talking to him about work and wondering if I needed to give up This Demanding Life and get a ‘real’ job. We batted the pros and cons back and forth over a bottle of wine and didn’t come to any conclusions. I didn’t get a ‘real’ job and I didn’t make a decision on what I was going to do. I just carried on carrying on.

At the beginning of October this year I incorporated This Demanding Life as a company. Then had to do all the boring legal stuff, set up bank accounts, check out insurance etc. Turns out, I do have a real job. One that utterly rocks. I get to build awesome websites, chat to my readers on 5 Things each week and am in the process of setting up next years project – 5 Minutes With. The website I’m currently working on is my favourite ever website, working with amazing people – I can’t wait to share it with you when it’s finished. Taking a leap of faith and incorporating the company was one of the most nerve wracking things I have done and one of the most rewarding at the same time.

Rules aren’t always fair but you have to play by them

In my spare time (ha, what’s that?!) I run a Child Contact Centre. Over the last 6 and a half years this has been a labour of love and a much needed resource in our community. It takes a lot of time, patience and sanity. It’s easy to see what goes on at Contact Centre during the sessions but what people don’t see is the behind the scenes work. Not only do we have the day to day communication with families but also the National Association whose rules we have to adhere to. Over the last few months we have been fighting a losing battle over GDPR compliance. I handle GDPR on a daily basis with my work so felt prepared by the deadline and got everything in order. The National Association however require a certificate of compliance which isn’t a legal requirement and is a waste of everyones time, resources and money. Emails have been flying back and forth for months and I’ve had to finally accept that if we want to stay a part of the association we’ll have to waste precious resources fulfilling their requirements. I tend to think of myself as a 50/50 rule follower and rule breaker. I guess in this instance it’s knowing when to play by the rules and when to follow them to a quicker conclusion.

Children will always get ill when you plan family trips

This week my partner’s family have been over from Jersey and as we don’t get to see them often we try to cram in as much as possible so everyone can spend time together. So far so good. They arrived on Sunday, Monday was spent with everyone doing their own thing, getting together for dinner in the evening and our first day trip was to be on Tuesday. With clocks set, everyone prepared for an early start and excitement mounting, we woke up to my younger son being too ill to go. Why does illness always blight the kids on holidays? Why can’t it be during school days when I’m working from home and have no plans other than walking the dog.

We waved the fighting fit members of the family off for their trip and tried not to feel too rubbish that we were relegated to being home alone. He’ll be better by the end of the week we thought and planned a swimming trip. I picked my little one up from his Grandma and it was quite clear from his croaky voice and streaming nose that we wouldn’t be making it to the swimming pool. We cancelled the trip and found something else to do, which was fun but a bit of a disappointment in the face of all we’d planned to do this week. The moral of this story, don’t plan things for every minute of the day when having family over.

There are (inventive) ways to accommodate everyones’ tastes

When kids are little you (stupidly) think they’ll like everything you like. I’ve tried everything, indoctrination, encouragement but turns out, they like what they like. Both boys have heartbreakingly told me they don’t like Bon Jovi (a cardinal sin in my house) and food tastes have become more complicated the older they’ve become.

This week has included a lot of catering and trying to accommodate everyones’ tastes, including a vegetarian, 2 pescatarians and the rest carnivores. I don’t mind making lots of different savoury dishes but when it comes to puddings, there’s one thing on offer only and unfortunately for the kids, never ice-cream as I don’t like it so forget to buy it.

I hate strawberry and my son hates raspberry. We had a cake to feed all of us and in a bid to reach a compromise I made half of it with raspberry jam in the middle and the other half with strawberry. Win-win. We made sure we knew which side had which by colouring the icing (pink for raspberry, white for strawberry) and made sure neither of the jams were touching each other. It worked! And while I can’t promise I’ll be this inventive every time, it was worth it for the (short lived – I do have 2 boys who squabble after all) harmony over the dinner table.

If you turn up to an appointment on time, they’ll run late

It’s half term and we’ve just about survived but not without me having a big old whinge. October half term is always when we go to the opticians. Having had the experience earlier this year with my partner choosing glasses, where I didn’t know we’d get out of there before we were old and grey, due to his indecisiveness, I left him at home and took my eldest son. Even though I live on the doorstep of Kingston I don’t go in that much so decided to bundle returning a load of stuff to the shops. I figured the eye test would take 20 minutes so put an hour and a half parking on the car meter.

The minute we got to Specsavers you could tell things didn’t look good. They told us the wait time (for our pre-booked appointment) would be at least 45 minutes. Brilliant. Oh and we couldn’t go and come back because we’d lose our place. An hour and twenty minutes later we were finally done and the promised McDonalds was eaten in the car as we hurriedly fought our way out of the car park before getting a ticket. The shopping to be returned is still in the boot and I’m hoping for better results next time when I go to Kingston with absolutely no other appointments booked during the trip.