The Truth about… the unplanned weekend

The unplanned weekend

So I’m quite the old hand at this parenting lark these days. Unfortunately that doesn’t actually mean I know what the flip I’m doing at any given moment all the time. As bad luck would have it, I’m constantly being left on my own with small children (and sadly a degree in American literature is no qualification for dealing with the task of herding two full on, obstreperous little people). At no point, for example, has either child referred to naturalism in the novels of Mark Twain, and sadly, What Maisie Knew by Henry James hasn’t shed any light, for me, on what goes through a child’s mind (then again, my husband hasn’t left me for the governess yet – pah ha ha!!).

Maybe it’s because I lived 38 years of my life quite happily sans children before embarking on this incredible journey into parenthood, or maybe it’s because I’m just not what I would think of as a ‘natural’ – you know, we all have one friend who we would go to with our troubles, rely on for tea, sympathy, hugs… that person who knows you better than you know yourself, tucks in that sticky out label on the back of your t-shirt… just simply knows what’s wrong and how to soothe it, picks up waifs and strays and knows how to make someone else’s screaming baby gurgle with delight? Yeah, her? That ain’t me. I am reserved, uncertain, lacking in self-confidence. These are not the best traits in a parent. Never let them see the whites of your eyes, you know?

Having said that, I know what I’m dealing with here – two boys, full on physical, toilet humour gags abounding.. Listen, it’s hard to describe to a childless friend just how huge a mental leap you have to make to go from sophisticated woman about town ( πŸ™‚ ) to the butt of a ‘poo poo head’ joke. But I digress.

I was once again alone with the little mentalists this weekend as the hubster was sleeping off late shifts. What to do, what to do? I had to bundle them out of the house eventually after the noise reached critical levels but I had no idea where to take them. I realise that there are people out there who research stuff, or even people who would just take their one, chilled little girl to see the latest Tracey Emin at the Tate, but that second adult, or that child’s temperament really do make a difference.

To cut a long story short, we ended up at the local playground. It was flooded. It was muddy. Some friends unexpectedly showed up. I bought them tangfastics from the cafe in the park*. They bloody loved it!

Two hours later, we returned home. It was only 2.20pm. Plan B: let them loose on the ‘washable’ paints! This is something I have always avoided like the proverbial plague in the past but I was a) past caring about whether my child likes the taste of black paint more than the taste of peas, and b) desperate.


I knew that my children probably weren’t going to take after my father who made a career as an artist but apparently, mixing red, blue, green and yellow to a murky brown and proceeding to ‘brown-wash’ an A4 sheet of paper is the best thing since, well, jumping in muddy puddles (hmm, beginning to suspect a connection there…).

Yes, there have been meltdowns, yes the kind of injuries you might incur when rushing to stop someone from emergency dialling Father Christmas may have occurred (ahem.) And yes, I may be secretly thrilled with the very thought of heading to the office on Monday morning (something I never thought I would ever hear myself utter), but when I look back on these lessons in common or garden parenting in years to come, I’m guessing they will only make me smile.

*Our town boasts a local charity that provides support services for adults with learning disabilities and part of the remit is to promote inclusion in the community for their members and offer them work experience in this little portacabin cafe. It’s open quite irregular hours but it’s a lovely little place and also bloody good value for money – what’s not to like?!


36 thoughts on “The Truth about… the unplanned weekend

  1. Well done for letting them loose on the washable paints! Sometimes, it’s more the worrying about the mess they could cause than anything else that prevents us from letting them have a bit of messy play, isn’t it? That little impromptu trip to the park sounds nice, too! (awww, Tangfastics!)

  2. I love unplanned weekends these days, and think sometimes the scariest ones end up being the best. I was on my own all weekend with the girls in Jan, when I was 8 months pregnant and tbh dreading it but we had sooooo much fun. I think the key is just letting the kids dictate what to do and joining in with them as much as possible. Great post, glad you’ve been enjoying it more! xxx PS – the paints and pens are never fully washable are they? Certainly not with eco-friendly non-bio anyway πŸ˜‰
    Mummy Tries recently posted…Become the Best YouMy Profile

    • Mm you mentioning letting the kids take the reins – isn’t there some term for that ‘Lovebombing’ or something? I’m not sure if I’m quite ready for them to have absolute power πŸ˜‰ To be fair the paints came off pretty well. Xx

  3. I’ve linked up again, thanks for having me πŸ™‚
    Your weekend sounds fun , I totally understand how having them on your own of a weekend can send one into a bit of a spin! (Or major panic in my case!!!) Sometimes those unplanned days turn out the best though don’t they xx
    Spidermummy recently posted…Cleaning with a SpiderbabyMy Profile

    • It was a good day for the kids in the end – I think there is a trade off sometimes that you have to make when you’re on your own with the kids – if they’re happy, then I feel less stressed, but its not necessarily the most fun I’ve ever had πŸ˜‰ Having said that, I’m hoping that when they’re a little bit older our fun times will somehow meet somewhere in the middle πŸ™‚ Xx

    • Ah thanks Laura! It is hard to find ways to keep them entertained – especially with their three year age gap, but it’s always nice to know that they enjoyed themselves in one way or another on an ordinary day. Thanks for the writing compliment too – comments like that make me happy πŸ™‚ Xx

    • I think they had some fun for sure Sian! I think that these are the kind of things that keep children of their age happy but I do look forward to having more options when they’re a little bit older!! πŸ™‚ Xx

  4. I totally feel you on this! I feel like I never know quite what to do with my little one, especially when we’re stuck on our own! I’m a stay at home mom, but judging by how I count down to Almost-Husband’s days off so I can hide from the munchkin, I reckon I would also be looking forward to Mondays if I worked outside the home! Kids are exhausting…but in the best ways!
    Brandyn Blaze recently posted…The Truth About Co-SleepingMy Profile

    • I think it is definitely down to the temperament of the children (as well as how we are in ourselves as parents and people) but I have never been able to just embrace the kind of things that other people seem to do with their children all the time – sensory and messy play, crafts and all that jazz. They are *completely* exhausting but yes, they are my gorgeous little people so I can’t feel negatively about that. X

    • It’s hard to believe that you ever felt scared about doing stuff with Monkey Caroline – I feel a bit inadequate as a parent when I look through the range of activities you have created and set up for him. I’m sure you’ll be just as brilliant with your little girl too Xx

    • You have three children with an age gap of what? Six years? That’s not an easy one to reconcile! I think it looks like you have great fun times just pottering around your little kingdom with your little ones X

  5. Ahhh what a great weekend. I loved unplanned weekends they always mold into the best times. Even with threats to call Santa! hahah There is an app you can use that actually pretends to call Santa. It’s brilliant. Just a note. lol Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme
    Jenny recently posted…Share With Me ~ wk 42My Profile

  6. This is brill Sam. I really love the way you write, even about ordinary weekend moments. You always make me giggle! I hope you have suitably recovered now! πŸ™‚ xx

  7. I’ve just come across your lovely blog on the’ share with me’ linky. Sounds like you all had a fun day and I agree the unplanned days tend to be the best! I also have a Literature degree (English) and have so far found it of little use to raising my 8 month old. Maybe one day I will be able to discuss the pastoral and post-modernism with her… or maybe not… x

  8. Great weekend. Sometimes the best ones happen when you just let loose and let them do things they don’t normally do. Lucas would definitely like all the mess involved!!! Love the idea of the cafΓ© in the park – what a great idea. #sharewithme

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