Please Yourself While Pleasing the Children
This last week I’ve been stepping out into the garden a lot more as the weather has become pleasantly warm. It’s no secret that I work 8-6 every weekday writing so when I do have any time off I’m usually surrounded by my three adorable children (*cough).
This of course suits me down to the ground, as I do like to spend as much time with them as I can and my husband is the main carer during the week- so it’s only fair, yet it leaves me little time to do exactly what I want.
Gardening is a major pastime of mine, and I’ve been itching to spend a full day titivating the borders, planting pots and mowing the lawn yet with a 2, 8 and 13 year old I’ve had to be a little inventive to get what I want.
The Whole World is a Beach
I won’t lie, I am one of those working mothers that suffer from guilt and I occasionally try to justify my long working hours with gifts. This year I’ve been quite selfish in my gift buying, choosing many outdoor toys, a sand pit, paddling pool and scooter to add to the swing set and trampoline. It’s not the cheapest way to get what I want but it solves the first obstacle of getting them outside in the first place.
It’s Not Gardening, It’s Making Dens
Our garden was so overgrown when we moved in that we’ve spent a lot of time trying to simply tidy it up. As I’ve cut back overgrown hedges I’ve found the previous residents have hidden washing machines, pots, even children’s car seats instead of going to the tip. The advantage of the overgrowth is that they provide the perfect hideouts, so I’ve given the children 6 spots that they can make their own. They’ve taken pride in their dens and cleared out any rubbish and although I occasionally fall victim to a spud gun attack as I mow the lawn, it does keep them busy and entertained.
Al Fresco Dining
It goes without saying that I feed them every meal outdoors, so while they’re enjoying breakfast lunch or tea, I can fit in a few minutes of gardening.
Usually I wouldn’t encourage the children to compete against each other, but I am human and I want to garden! So, I’ve set them various challenges. They now spend a good hour with me outside tending to their own plants as they try to grow the tallest sunflower, the biggest broad bean, the juiciest beetroot and the fattest pumpkin.
Instead of simply watering them, I let them know about pests and diseases and last week they came up with some ingenious ways to keep slugs at bay including a salt maze!
Of course, my toddler doesn’t understand much of this but I have found she’s the easiest one to please as long as I let her get dirty, give her a trowel, compost, water and a pot and she will play forever. Trying to keep the soil out of the sand pit is another challenge altogether!
At the End of the Day
Even on the sunniest days it can turn a little chilly when the day comes to a close. This is when I ask the children to collect sticks for a fire indoors. There’s nothing better than a great day in the garden finished with a lovely hot drink and fresh pyjamas by the fire and the children love this more than most (especially when their DS’s are returned and the telly is on!)