After reading this article I started thinking about the rules of my own household. The honest truth is that no one person always comes first – whoever needs the most attention at that point will get it. For the past year or so, due to one reason and another, our eldest daughter has needed much more tlc than our youngest. I’m certain the tables will turn some time in the near future though – probably coinciding with the terrible twos. In June my husband started studying for a professional qualification as well as working full time. This means I’ve taken the girls out at weekends to give him some peace and quiet to work. Come Xmas time when his last assignment has been handed in he’ll be returning the favour, because I’ll be heavily pregnant and need the peace more than he does.

Certainly for the greater good of our family dynamic, it’s best not to have a clear cut hierarchy system in place. As a couple my hubby & I spend 95% of our evenings together, which affords us precious alone time. (I’m leaving a generous 5% for the rare occasion one of us goes out to dinner or has to go away with work.) We eat, talk about our days and usually watch a film or a program or two if we’re working our way through a TV series. We also used to book the odd day off work as annual leave while the kids were at nursery and have hours and hours of just us. It was bliss and a day always included good food, a few drinks and great natter.

Of the ten golden rules at the end of the article, I agree with most of them and have written about a handful in previous posts. I think top of the list for me has to be communication – without it I can’t see how any marriage will ever go the distance and survive long term. Here are a few examples of how we’re getting through the early years in one piece!

– our girls are always in bed around 6:30pm which is the key to us being able to have an evening together

– to avoid bottled up resentment we bicker every day and get it out of our systems

– if there is a problem with us or the girls we talk about it, and never leave anything open for assumption. To assume just makes an ASS of U & ME!

– although we have our own interests we socialise mainly as a couple or family, and don’t spend too much time outside the family home

– we are loyal to each other. There is nothing worse than a person bitching and moaning to anyone that will listen about how crap their other half is

– we are pragmatic about our lack of sex life and know it’ll come back one day when the kids are a bit older. I’m pretty sure that we are both so utterly exhausted all the time, neither of us would have the inclination to even ponder the thought of extra marital bedroom antics…

What are your top tips? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

Linking up to #PoCoLo over at http://vevivos.com

20130823-102504.jpg

I’ve read blog posts recently where people have written letters to their kids, which is lovely. I briefly considered doing the same, but decided it would be too easy for me. Although my girls have their moments, I have loved them both from the second they entered the world. I have never questioned this love and I never had doubts over my abilities to parent them when they were little babies. I could write many posts on how wonderful they are, but I won’t.

The way I see it, there wouldn’t be any children without my long suffering utterly amazing husband. He truly is my rock, my knight, my everything. So here’s a little story, about my darling.

We met on our travels in Asia and spent a blissful six weeks together before having to go our separate ways. He was Australia bound and had a years working holiday planned. I was heading home. My brother had spent the previous month in a mental institute and my mother had convinced herself (and me) that I was the only person that could talk sense into him and ‘save’ him. What actually happened signalled the beginning of the end for me and my family – he was rude and obnoxious telling me I’d come home for other reasons, and that I was trying to make him feel guilty. She was completely disillusioned and I realised that we had been here before. Rather than stay behind to watch the car crash in slow motion I went to the travel agents, and was in Australia within a fortnight.

We partied hard and travelled a bit, enjoying a very carefree six months before heading home. Didn’t last very long in Blighty before going back out to Asia with grand plans and big dreams. We had some very dark times over the course of the next year but left in one piece, albeit separately. There was another dark year ahead, but he patiently waited for me to come out the other side. Most men would have cut their losses long before, but he didn’t and he has never held a grudge.

With the odds stacked against us back then, we are now the envy of most of our friends. We don’t have a perfect life, far from it, but we’re a team. We communicate and work through our troubles. We have interests outside the family unit, but have found ways to accommodate them sensibly so they aren’t bones of contention. We have made sacrifices which enables me to only have to work part time, but neither of us views this negatively. He doesn’t feel I’m not pulling my weight and I don’t feel like I’m ‘living off a man’ because (I’ll say it again) we are a team.

On the flip side we bicker every single day. We snipe at each other and are some times plain horrible on the really sleep deprived mornings. But we always find our way back to a happier place by the time we go to bed. I don’t think we’ve ever closed our eyes without a kiss or a kind word in the moments before sleep washes over us.

Life hasn’t always dealt me a very nice hand, but when it comes to my little family I lucked out. So thank you darling husband, I know I will love you until I take my very last breath.

20130801-163701.jpg

I have to say that I’m getting a bit peed off by all the blog posts, tweets and Facebook statuses implying that people are dreading the school holidays. As if spending six weeks at home with their kids is the worst thing that will happen to them this year. Here’s an idea: if you think something will be hideous it more than likely will be. It becomes the worst kind of self fulfilling prophecy.

I’m writing this post on the train to work, it’s not even 7am and I’m not feeling great. At 10(ish) weeks pregnant with my third child, I don’t need to bore you with the ins and outs of my constant nausea and sheer exhaustion. However, one thing that’s guaranteed to make me feel even worse is constantly going on about how crap I feel. The saying ‘I think, therefore I am’ springs to mind. So many things are completely out of our control – over analysing and dwelling will get us nowhere.

Rather than dread something and build it up in my head to be a terrible event, I tend to focus on the positive side of a situation. If a positive seems impossible to find, then I try not to think about it at all. Us Brits usually love a good whinge, but I prefer to be grateful for all that’s fabulous in life and not waste my precious energy getting upset over what’s wrong with it.

If I were getting stressed out by the thought of the holidays I would write a list of all the things I’d like to do but couldn’t usually because of being restricted by school times. Top of my list would more than likely be catching up with my lovely friends that live miles away that I don’t get to see as often as I would like. Not having to rush around in the mornings would surely be in there somewhere. As would not having to contend with the mummy mafia at the gates. I say if because my eldest enters the school system in Sept… watch this space, my attitude might be different this time next year ­čśë

20130719-081615.jpg