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Self care – making time for yourself in the midst of motherhood

Day 18 of #blogtober is ‘relaxation’ – something I don’t do a huge amount of, but something that is so vital to your well being!

The past 7 weeks I’ve been working full time, whilst juggling home life and parenthood. It’s been really really hard work, and 2 days away from half term, I’m feeling incredibly burnt out. There’s been a lot of burning the candle at both ends going on, and so this post is really a memo to myself: you can’t pour from an empty cup. 

Me time used to be a shopping trip with friends, or coffee and lunch in a pub. Sometimes I painted my nails, or fake tanned my legs… Since becoming a mum, relaxation and me time sometimes reaches the dizzying heights of treating myself to a 49 second poo in peace. 

So how do you make time to relax amidst the busy goings on of life?

Nowadays, for me, it’s with a cup of tea (preferably piping hot, no sugar, a dash of red milk; leave the tea bag in, thanks). Sometimes I don’t even have time for a cuppa full stop, but when I do have time to sit and enjoy one, it can really keep me going!


I rarely get a bath in peace, so I can’t say that’s necessarily a go-to for relaxation, but occasionally I get treated to a child free bath, and I absolutely love Lush bath bombs when I do! A friend recently gave me this one – I can’t remember what it was called, something with honeycomb, but ahhh it was bliss!


Sometimes me time is pub night with my girl friends. A rare treat, but all conversations over a bottle of prosecco seem to soothe the soul! 


Sometimes relaxation is reading a blog post from another inspiring Mama, or catching up on the goings on on social media. 

Occasionally, I get to read a book – something I absolutely love to do but don’t often have time for. I have quite a collection of books on audio so I can be read to – Harry Potter is my favourite!


Lastly, sometimes relaxation is curling up on the sofa with my hubby and chatting about our days. This seems to happen less and less nowadays – we’re both often still working until 10pm, but I love it when we do get a chance to chat about nonsense! 

How do you make time for yourself? 

See you tomorrow,

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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#blogtober day five: 9 truths about being a teacher

#blogtober day five is all about ‘education’, which is fitting as education is my job! I’m a primary school teacher, currently teaching Year 5 (9-10 year olds) and honestly, I really really do love my job. 

Think you know what it’s like to be a teacher? Here are 9 truths about teaching that might surprise you! 

1. Teaching is only about 40% of what we do

Yes – I spend only some of the time actually teaching at work. So, so much of my time is taken up with other things: paper work, planning, marking, more paper work, meetings, courses, phone calls, break duties… the list goes on! My life at work would be so easy if all I had to do was ‘teach’!

2. We’re not just teachers

Teachers wear so many other hats on a daily basis: at work I’m a social worker, counsellor, nurse, mediator, referee, friend, parent, mentor, bouncer and so many other things, to both the children and their parents, and also to colleagues!

3. Paper towels fix EVERYTHING 

Yes – genuinely! If there’s a sore knee or a wobbly tooth, every teacher worth their salt knows that a paper towel, preferably a wet one, will fix any ailment. And coupled with a drink of water and removal of a jumper, any child will be as right as rain in no time. (This occasionally bites you on the bum when the wet paper towel suggestion fails to fix projectile vomit…)


4. Teachers have bladders of steel

At some point during teacher training, your bladder becomes accustomed to the strict times that you’re allowed to have a loo break. I won’t need a wee all morning until the second it turns 10.30am and my bladder knows it’s time for a tea and a wee!

5. We don’t get paid for the holidays 

Yep, you read that correctly! The assumption is made that because we get 13 weeks holiday a year, we’re paid for it. But this Is Not True! We are only paid for the days we actually work, and then this pay is divided up between 12 months so we get a monthly wage. And a side note on holidays – most of our time off is spent catching up on sleep, planning for the next term and organising our classrooms! Honestly, only half of our time ‘off’ is spent actually ‘off’!

6. We don’t know everything

People, and especially the children in your care, assume that because we teach, we know everything there is to know. There are so many things I know nothing about, and sometimes the kids know more than me. Sometimes they ask questions that I just don’t have the answers to – but everyday’s a school day, so when they ask big questions, we try to find the answers together! Except I’ve learnt that even Google doesn’t have the answer to ‘is there really a God?’ much to the disappointment of my class…
And I’m not ashamed to admit that I had to ask a colleague for a lesson on long division this afternoon, ahead of tomorrow’s maths lesson!


7. We attend so many meetings…

…which could have been an email…!

8. It’s not a 9-3 job!

It’s more like a 7.30am to 6pm working day, with a short break for dinner and to spend time with your own kids, before another few hours of work before you sleep. We’re only paid for the hours that the children are at school, but teaching is a job which takes up most of your waking hours. I’ve got better at the whole work-life balance thing since Squid came along, but I often still tread a very thin line. 

9. You never really switch off

Finally, this is the one which will resonate with all teachers. You never, ever truly switch off. My mind is always whirring, thinking of ideas for lessons, things I need to mark or plan. But more than that, it’s consumed with the children. That child who didn’t have any breakfast. The one who was lonely at break time. The kid who lashed out in Science, seemingly for no reason, but you know there definitely will be a reason. The boy whose mum just walked out and the girl who only speaks to her dad via Skype. Yes, we worry about our children, wonder how they’re doing, if they’ve eaten, had a wash or been cuddled that day. Certain children stick with you long after they leave your classroom. 


And the kids are why we do it. They’re the ones who brighten our days, even when our own personal lives are difficult, when we’re tired, and down heartened by the newest government initiative. 
And anyway, what other job would I get to mummify bananas, sing songs about pogo sticks, laugh about the poo emoji and have my heart swell with pride on a daily basis in?!

Love,
Squidmamma xx 🐙
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#blogtober day three: birthdays on a budget 

So #blogtober day three’s prompt is ‘cars’, and I thought I’d merge two ideas into one! The link to ‘cars’ may be very tenuous, but bear with me!

Squid turned 2 a few weeks ago, and as anyone knows, birthdays can be very expensive! However, with most of my wage going straight back out of my bank account to pay for child care fees, we like to save money where we can, and for us, birthdays are no different! Most of our furniture and clothes are second hand, and I get a real buzz from finding something lovely!
I absolutely love searching through charity shops and boot sales for bargains, and so Squid’s 2nd birthday presented an excellent opportunity to hunt around the local charity shops to find some cut-price presents. We’re not fussed about ‘new’ things – so long as I can clean up a pre-loved item, if I want it, consider it sold!

Squid’s birthday goodies!

We did buy one new thing, which was this Aldi puppet theatre – and at £29.99 I thought that was a great gift to invest in – plus we purchased it in June, so it was a nice bonus for us to have that stashed! I think this will be the kind of gift which lasts for years and we will get lots of play from! I made some Gruffalo puppets to use with it – printables from Twinkl, on lolly sticks!


Squid is an avid fan of all things Julia Donaldson and so I jumped for joy when I picked these books up for 20p at a car boot sale! These books complete our JD set and Squid absolutely loves them. The rhymes are so fun and child friendly, Squid knows ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’ and ‘The Gruffalo’ word for word!


Next I found this Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler interactive magnetic farm book for £1. Absolutely hours of fun, and in excellent condition!


I thought this would be good for out and about – in restaurants when bored toddlers want to cause mischief!

This Early Learning Centre aeroplane was also just £2 – complete with 3 little characters! A great addition to our Happyland sets.


Finally, I found this. A beautiful, vintage wooden farm (£2!) and stable (£1). They go perfectly with the wooden farm animals we already have – also a charity shop find!


Squid ADORES this farm set and has spent many happy hours playing with his animals, feeding them hay and herding sheep!

£37 well spent, I’d say! Considering how much money all of these things would have cost new, I was really pleased to keep the costs down.

Birthday boy!

And the ‘car’ element of today’s post? Well, Squid’s beloved ‘Daddad’, my dad, turned up with THIS monstrosity… I can’t exactly put this on the Kallax next to the wooden farm can I?!

Where I am supposed to keep this?!

What’s been your best second hand bargain?! Share it in the comments!

Join me tomorrow for another post, and on Instagram and Facebook to see what I’m up to!

Love, Squidmamma x

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Story time: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt!


Ahh. Bank Holiday Mondays. Every Brit loves them right? A free day off and all that. Not that it makes much difference to me – I work Wednesday to Friday so never have to go in on a Monday and anyway, I’m a mum. That’s a full time job right there in itself. 

But in the spirit of enjoying a ‘free’ day off with my husband, we took a stroll through a deep dark wood with our friends, Squid’s godparents. And what an experience it was.

I had wanted to see the bluebells in bloom for ages so we all trekked to a local wood which was full of them. Squid’s godparents have just got a new puppy so along the pup came too. Squid calls him ‘Bank’ so we’ll go with that. 


You know how the saying goes ‘never work with children or animals’? Well, yes. That. Never do. 
Three days off together really is just too long, isn’t it? Especially after 3 years of marriage. After a morning spent bickering over whose turn it was to change the small boy’s nappy, or whose job it was to replace the loo roll, we should probably have just stayed home. 

Nevertheless, we persisted. To the woods! I wanted some pictures of Squid, candidly frolicking amongst the bluebells. You know, like on Pinterest? So into the bluebells we went, as I ‘candidly’ placed my mini human on a log and asked him to smile. 


No such luck. Toddlers don’t have Pinterest. Squid wouldn’t play ball and looked, quite frankly, disgusted at the bluebells. I was beginning to feel the same way too. 


Squid wouldn’t stand with Bank for a photo either, and Bank wouldn’t keep still or look at the camera, so my Pinterest worthy snaps were out of the window!


Nevertheless, we persisted. You know I said ‘never work with children or animals’? Well, I have a third thing you must never work with: husbands. My husband and Squid’s godfather, let’s call him Bobby, insisted on throwing the tennis ball (meant for Bank, the pup) to each other, using a cricketing type throw, for the duration of this relaxing stroll. I think they thought they were actually competing in the Ashes, as our walk was complete with a running commentary of the precision of ball-throwing. Men and their balls… Squid tried to join in but I had to draw the line when the ball bounced off his head. 

Nevertheless, we persisted. Squid wanted to be carried, no, walk, no, be carried, which was excellent fun. Eventually, after another minor marital disagreement, Squid settled on daddy’s shoulders, holding on to his ears as reins and commanding ‘go go go!’ And all was happy and good in the world. 

And then Bank did a poo. And then Bank ate the poo. 

Why? Why do dogs do that? It must’ve been delicious, because he was sniffing the ground for more. More delicious poo! Yum!

Which got me thinking: there are SO many similarities between toddlers and puppies:

– Neither have a fear of danger

– Both want to be carried at every opportunity 

– They’re both unpredictable 

– Both have a tendency to do unpleasant things with their own faeces

– Both can be very easily clicker trained *

– Both are really bloody adorable (which is a good job. Because poo.)


After the poo eating incident we were all a bit horrified and so had to very quickly find our way to the nearest pub. 


I don’t think I’ll bother with the bluebells again. Can’t quite see what all the fuss is about, anyway. 
(Of course, though, I did gush on Facebook about the lovely afternoon we had, complete with angelic looking photo of Squid treading candidly through a blanket of bluebells… because you have to keep up appearances, right?!)

Catch me on Twitter and Instagram @squidmamma and on Facebook for daily Mama-baby-life-work-family updates! 
Love, 

Squidmamma x

*As Bank is just a pup and is learning the dos and don’ts of ‘walkies’, Squid’s godparents use a clicker, which they click when he does something good. Every time the clicker clicked, Bank ‘sat’ beautifully for a dog treat, which Squid gave him – so in the end, every time the clicker clicked, both Bank and Squid were there waiting patiently for the treat!