It’s 6am in the morning and I’m on holiday. I was toying with the idea of skipping this week's blog but I couldn't handle stopping the stream so close to hitting 200 writing weeks in a row. So here I am. The sun has just peeked over the horizon. The kids are still asleep (a miracle as they’ve been up before 6am all week) and I’m sipping a cup of Melbourne breakfast tea from a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mug. Life is good.

For the last week I’ve had the kids by myself at the family holiday home (a bach as we call it in NZ) in Skenes Creek. This was a tactical move. Part childcare solution for a week during school holidays, part mental break for me and part space for Matt to do some much needed deep work. This is the first time I’ve parented the kids solo for so long and it's been a trip.

Taking a 6 and 7 year old away for a week has been awesome, as long as I didn’t expect any personal space or time, which as a parent, I’d honestly given up on years ago. Everyone thinks their kids are amazing but mine are by far the best. We had a big chat on the drive down last friday about how I was by myself so I was going to need the kids to listen and help me out so we’d all have a great holiday and they have (so far) delivered.

This week has been a good example of stepping up because you have to. I’ve needed the kids to take more responsibility for themselves and in giving them the opportunity to do so, they’ve become more responsible. I’ve been so proud of them. Things like going into a store to buy something by themselves. Waiting for me in a particular spot. Letting me know when they want to go look at something, before they run off (this is a big one)! In short, my kids are growing up!

This is most obvious when I see young families at the beach. Families with children under 5. I’d forgotten how hard taking toddlers and babies to the beach is. All the stuff you need. The constant monitoring. Making sure they don’t eat the sand or get knocked over by a wave. Matt and I have always taken the kids to the beach. It wasn’t so long ago that we were one of those young families when going to the beach was an ordeal. Now I rock up with a backpack containing a couple of towels and a drink bottle each and we’re good for a couple of hours.

All those stressful beach visits when the kids were younger have paid off, so have the swimming lessons. Both the kids are so confident in the water. The beach is the ultimate playground and boy, do 6 and 7 year olds know how to play. It’s their superpower. They’re at that perfect age where they just play so hard. They don’t yet care what other kids think. Their imaginations are overflowing with ideas - interestingly most of the play becomes making shelters and collecting food. Very primal. 

I’ve basically spent the last 7 days marvelling at how grown up the kids are becoming. I know Mum will be reading this and say ‘imagine how I feel with my baby about to turn 41!’. Growing up is a series of subtle changes. It’s like the frog in the pot of boiling water (kind of). The tiny changes go almost unnoticed day to day but over the weeks and months the kids reveal a new and improved version of themselves.

This week I’ve watched that happen in real time. I knew this week would be a special one with the kids so I’ve worked hard on removing distractions so I could focus on what was happening around me. The best thing I did was trick myself into thinking that social media doesn’t work here. I almost went as far to get Matt to change my passwords when I found myself scrolling on friday night but it wasn’t necessary in the end.

The more focused time I spent with the kids the more I wanted to hang out with them. It made me realise that distractions and having other things on your mind are what makes life stressful. I appreciate it's a luxury to have the week off in a lovely beach house in the beautiful part of the country but I feel like we’ve used it well. Matt will be joining us today because I know this tranquillity won’t last forever (and we miss him) but it's been an absolute treat spending this week with the kids. 

Hopefully this holiday with mum will go down in the memory banks as a good one, filled with trips to the beach (even though the water is freezing), bacon sandwiches for lunch everyday (franks choice) and spending countless hours snuggled up on the couch watching old Simpson episodes.

Video of the week
Nina Simone - Feeling Good (Bass cover by Harry)
Podcast of the week
Smartless: John Mulaney
Font of the week
Komplekt: Font of the week by East of Rome

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