Ten ideas for solving summertime bedtime battles

It seems that a lot of people are struggling with getting the kids the bed at a decent hour now that the summer is here. I won’t at all pretend we’ve cracked it. Some nights are a dream and others are a lot more challenging. I thought I’d pool together a few thoughts on what’s been working for us as well as suggestions from other families. Please do chip in with your own (and leave behind anything listed here that’s not helpful).

1. Declutter
We’re all impacted by the environment we sleep in and kids are no different. Could it be time for a teddy cull? Is the bookcase overflowing? A bit of decluttering may make for easier settling in the evenings. It may not be possible to ban toys from the bedroom, especially if the room makes for prime storage space but even reorganising how things are laid out can help.

2. Blackout blinds
Is the room dark enough? The evenings are confusingly bright at the moment. It could be worth considering black out blinds or curtains to help children wind down.

3. Earlier bedtime
It may sound counter intuitive but sometimes going to bed earlier can make for faster bedtime routines, later waking up times and even better quality sleep. This is certainly true for my two-year-old. I think, realistically, a ridiculously early bedtime of 6.30 or even 6pm suits her perfectly, though that’s often not achievable for us. At the very least, starting bedtime early can mean we finish it around the time we originally wanted to so I’m not stumbling downstairs at 9pm, frustrated that I don’t have much of the evening left to do my own thing.

4. Later bedtime
And now I’m going to suggest the opposite! I know a lot of families who opt to let their kids stay up until they naturally want to go to sleep and they find this works well for them. They avoid bedtime battles and the kids sleep in later. Obviously, this only works if you don’t have commitments the next morning and it could mean swapping your adult-only evenings for adult-only early mornings.

5. Cool down
With the warmer weather at the moment, could your kids actually be feeling the heat when they’re trying to unwind? Children’s rooms are often the smallest in the house and therefore most likely to trap warmth. Cooler pyjamas, opening windows, lightweight bedding and even a fan could sort that out.

6. Essential oils
Some people swear by a drop or two of lavender in a bath or a chamomile spray in the bedroom before bedtime.

7. Exercise
Are the kids getting some time to run off some steam earlier in the day? Extra points for physical activity taken in the outdoors.

8. Light
Is it too light? Too dark? Could switching from a blue night light to a red one help your littles? It might be worth playing around with this a bit to see what works best for them.

9. Staggering bedtimes
If you have more than one child, putting them to bed together can make for dreamy synchronisation. Other times, they may just keep each other up. We find this is sometimes the case here. Five-year-old Talitha might be keen to go to sleep while her two-year-old sister is anything but. They share a room so it can be tricky. We’ve been considering letting Talitha stay up while we put Ophelia to sleep and giving her a lamp to read by until we can be free to tuck her in.

10. Accepting that this too shall pass
Sometimes, nothing works and the only way around a battle is not to play your part in one. Blink and things will change. The Summer solstice is almost here and, without wishing the summer away, you can hold on to the fact that Autumn and earlier nights are on their way.

Over to you, do you have any ideas to add?


Now she is five

Somehow my first baby turned five last weekend. Like, she was this tiny newborn I was learning to breastfeed and then – suddenly! – she became this CHILD with all these ideas and opinions.

Talitha's 5th birthday-7

As I’ve mentioned before, Talitha is currently obsessed with dinosaurs so it was no surprise when she requested a dinosaur party for her birthday. Her favourite is triceratops so we asked Cakes by Rachel Clare to put one on top of her cake. Can we just take a moment over this cake, though? How amazing is it?!

I always find baking a cake the most stressful part of organising a party so opted to buy one this year and it’s practically a work of art! Rachel even made it gluten-free and with goat’s butter. Inside was the lushest chocolate cake too.

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I was pretty nervous about throwing her a party this year as I knew I’d be bang on 35 weeks pregnant. A friend pointed out the power of the number five for our family that weekend: first child turning five, five weeks until the baby who’ll make us a family of five is estimated to be due.

Talitha's 5th birthday

So we made things really low key by only inviting a few friends and having a ready made craft. I got these dinosaur moneybox painting sets from Hobbycraft for a mere £1.50 a pop and they seemed a hit.

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We also played musical dinosaur statues, got the karaoke machine out, had a picnic on the kitchen floor (it was raining outside) and played pass the parcel.

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With the party over, we went to lunch with family and the weekend was made extra special by having cousins stay the night. I must admit, it’s taken some time to recover from it all but I’m so glad we said yes to a small party this year.

Talitha's 5th birthday-5

Every year feels like such a big change but five really does feel it. I’ve seen such a leap in the way she reasons and works things out and even in the way she argues with me. I won’t pretend I’m always thrilled with that last bit but it’s fascinating and healthy all the same.

I love getting to know her and look forward to seeing what this next year is going to bring her in terms of growing, changing and finding her place as the eldest of three children.


Buying and Selling a House

We recently came to the end of our three-year mortgage agreement and have been going through the arduous process of renegotiating. Obviously, it was on our radar for a while, cue lots of discussions about what we should do. Sell up and buy another house, maybe upgrading or going for a fixer upper this time? Should we move to another part of Bristol? Should we think about whether somewhere totally new is where we’re meant to be?

I’m sure we’ll continue to have these discussions (we never seem to completely settle) but for now, having a new baby is enough without the stress of moving or even of renovations this close to the due date (I’m 35 weeks now). So we’re staying in this house and thinking about what we can change over time. To be honest, even a thorough decluttering will be enough of a change!

With buying and selling on my mind, it’s been interesting to look through Carpetright’s Property Guide and Survey. They’ve put together tips on buying and selling a property as well as a survey that you can complete to enter with a chance to win £500 in vouchers and a hamper.

The house we’re in now is our first property. When we were looking to move out of renting we looked at maybe twenty houses or even upwards of that. It honestly got to the point where it felt like it didn’t really matter which we bought, though obviously it did. We’d set our eyes on moving to South Bristol, a bit more centrally but were put off by the fact that we wouldn’t be able to afford anywhere with a decent garden.

Meanwhile, closer to where we were currently living, the houses are much bigger, the gardens excitingly spacious – vital as we’ve got so much into gardening – and it feels like we’re in the countryside in some bits, even though it’s a quick drive or bus journey into the city centre. All of this was going for far lower prices. Granted, property in our area has shot up since but it probably still compares favourably. Anyway, we decided to stay put and it’s absolutely been the right decision for us so far.

The first point in Carpetright’s buying guide is to work out what you can afford and this was key for us. We already knew that we were going to be home educating as well as having more children (Talitha was a toddler at the time) so we wanted to get a mortgage Laurence could pay on his own. Although I do work, I earn very sporadically and not enough for us to rely on. The pressure of a mortgage based on a double income would have dictated our lifestyle in ways we weren’t comfortable with.

Looking at their selling guide is a bit daunting. I can’t imagine our house ever being clean enough or toned down enough for a sale, though I’m sure we’ll manage when we eventually do, especially as our area is becoming so desirable. The cats might have to live outdoors for a while!

Are you thinking of buying or selling? Do take a look at Carpetright’s guides and don’t forget to enter the survey to win.

This post is sponsored by Carpetright


A “not half term” flash camping trip

Laurence has a quiet time with work at the moment so we decided to take advantage of the ebb and flow of freelanc to fit a quick camping trip in to Wookey Farm, just forty minutes from where we live in Bristol. Packing the car in a record one and half hours, we reflected that once we got there that the campsite was just far away to feel like a change without being daunting.

Not half term flash camp-2

When Laurence emailed the farm to ask whether they had free pitches, they explained that there was lots of space since it was no longer half term. Half term. We hadn’t even thought of that. We felt incredibly grateful to be able to take advantage of both the freedom of home educating and the sunny weather.

Not half term flash camp-5

This is our family’s third year camping at Wookey Farm. Laurence took Talitha in March two years ago while I stayed home with newborn Ophelia. Then last year, we all went with another family. This year it was just the four of us (well, five with baby in utero) and it was wonderful seeing Ophelia experience the farm camping experience very differently as a two-year-old.

Not half term flash camp

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From putting up the tent to building fires, toasting marshmallows to feeding the goats and donkey straw, swinging in a wildflower meadow to splashing in a river, both children loved every bit of being there.

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I was even surprised that the compost toilets – a bit of an issue for Talitha and I last time – didn’t phase any of us this time. Even Ophelia, newly out of nappies, was keen to use the compost loo though we’d brought the potty along.

Not half term flash camp-9

The experience proved a bit much for me, admittedly. I’ve been far more comfortable in this pregnancy than in either of my previous so I felt optimistic about camping but even with all our sleeping gear, pelvic girdle pain hit me in the night. I pushed through it for most of the next day but eventually had to sit in the field while the others went to the river. The change of scene and time outdoors together was well worth it, though.

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As it turned out, the weather was changeable (ah, Britain) so the girls got good use out of the wellies and a parka they were sent by Verbaudet. Both pairs of boots have handles which make them easy and fun to pull on and, better yet, their patterns change colour in water! Cue lots of splashing in puddles when it’s wet weather, which thankfully we didn’t have this time. Talitha’s 3-in-1 parka is lined with a detachable gilet on the inside which makes it perfect for all the in-between weather we’ve been having recently.

Not half term flash camp-10

I imagine that this will be our last camping trip all together until the baby is here. We’re planning to camp come September at The Good Life Experience festival which may be its own madness but in the meantime, Laurence plans to take Ophelia on her own some time then the two of them together. I’d like to get a solid bit of one-to-one time in with each of the children (and with Laurence!) before baby number three joins us next month.


This homeschooling life – What May looked like

Writing these monthly summaries always feels a little odd because I could never include everything that’s happening. Home education really is a whole life pursuit. I find it helpful to look back on some of the highlights, though, and I really enjoy getting glimpses at what other home educating families get up to. Here’s what the month of May looked like for us.

This homeschooling life - May-9

Deeper interests
Dinosaurs have continued to be a strong theme here. It started with watching Dinosaur Train on Netflix and has gone far beyond that into books and museum trips, looking for answers on the Internet, weighing up conflicting information and lots and lots and lots of drawing.

I got Talitha a dinosaur activity pack from Usborne and she’s been enjoying making her way through them, absorbing all the dinosaur facts and insisting we do the crafts, including dinosaur cards as invitations for her birthday party.

I suggested we start writing her questions down in a book so we remember to look for the answers. We covered a little exercise book with paper and she’s drawn dinosaurs on both sides. Sometimes she writes in it, other times she dictates to me and I write in it.

She’s also asking lots of questions about how the human body works so we’ve been looking at books and spending time in the body section of At Bristol Science Centre at her request. I’m struck that these themes are not so much about actual details of what she’s learning but that she’s learning how to learn. That makes having more facts than I can absorb quoted at me before I’ve had my morning coffee more than worth it.

This homeschooling life - May-2

New routines and rhythms
Laurence was away working in London for a lot of May, which always drives me to keep a lot more to a routine than I normally would. This time, it’s made life so enjoyable we’ve kept it up – mostly anyway.

It’s all stuff we were doing anyway but actually giving things a time of day has just helped everything run more smoothly, whether it’s gardening, cooking or reading.

We read a children’s Bible and pray together over breakfast most mornings, followed by a chapter book. Then Talitha observes her cherry tomato plant. This started as a little activity I took along to our home ed group for a food theme but she’s really got into it. She draws it, measures it, observes it and writes her observations down. I’m not sure how much longer we’ll keep it up, though, as her interest seems to be waning so we may plot a height graph soon and maybe just keep a height chart once we’ve re-potted it in the greenhouse, which will be this week.

This homeschooling life - May-4

Our caterpillars from Insectlore also arrived this week, so they’re keeping an eye on them with their magnifying glasses and we’re all getting a thrill out of watching them grow, sometimes seeming to double overnight! They’re getting ready to build their cocoons right now so both girls are extremely excited. They’ve even named them: Susie, Tiss-Tiss, Tree and I can’t remember the other two.

The biggest change has been re-organising their play room. I’ve been decluttering and working at making everything accessible, easier to find and easier to put away. It’s made a huge difference to the way they operate in that space now and the things they find to do on their own. I’ll write more about this when I put together a post on the playroom soon. I just want to re-paint and do a last bit of sorting first.

This homeschooling life - May-8

We’ve also really enjoyed taking life outside this month as it’s been so sunny. A parasol sent to us by Homebase from their garden furniture range has allowed us not only to comfortably eat lunch and read outside – making both feel like a treat too! – but drawing and more structured activities have taken to the garden table too as a result. It’s a brilliant blue and has given us yet another reason to welcome the sunny weather.

This Homeschooling Life - May

What we’re using

She’s pretty obsessed with her Alphablocks magazines so I’ve been keeping the one she’s working on in a folder with the tomato plant observation sheets so she always knows where it is and that’s usually what we do next, as long as we’re not rushing out to something in the morning. If we are, she comes back to it in the afternoon. Ophelia gets busy with stickers and pens or the toy kitchen, a puzzle or dressing up while I’m helping her with this.

Talitha also asked for more books that she could read on her own so I got her the first set of Oxford Reading Tree books. She’s flown through them and loves reading them to Ophelia so I’m about to order the next set.

Most afternoons we get the Spielgaben out, either to just build together and play, counting things and talking about what we notice or using the printed resources that come with it. Talitha has asked for something like Alphablocks but for numbers, though, so I printed a few lessons from MEP and we’re going to see how that goes. For Ophelia, I’ve been using some Montessori ideas from blogs with the Spielgaben, which she’s loving, often changing the rules entirely and finding creative ways to use objects that I would never have considered.

What we’re reading

This month we’ve read Firwood – The Magic Garden, a real treat for Talitha because she met the author in Waterstones and had the book signed. I felt like not much happened in it before it got overly exciting towards the end but Talitha loved it the whole way through and has requested other books in the series. We also read Gerald Durrell’s The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure which tied in perfectly with her dinosaur obsession. His books are gripping, beautifully written and take you through so many ideas. We both enjoyed it as much as the prequel, The Fantastic Flying Adventure.

This homeschooling life - May-5

What we’ve been making
While sorting the playroom, Talitha discovered some light catchers she was given by her godmother a couple of years ago. She’d done some but there were a few left to paint with acrylic paints. When she ran out of sun catchers, she didn’t seem done so I offered her some little canvases I’d found. Putting acrylic to canvas proved a real thrill. It was fascinating seeing her work out what she could do with a new medium. We looked at acrylic paintings around our house and talked about how the artists use space on the canvas. Ophelia had a go too.

This homeschooling life - May-7

Last reflections
This month I’ve been struck that I’m constantly learning to strike a balance with the way I get involved in the things they’re doing. On one hand, I do want to remind them about what they wanted to do and encourage them to complete and keep at stuff. On the other, I don’t want to exert too much control over what’s happening and stifle the process.

I’ve also been amazed at the huge developmental leaps Ophelia is taking. She’s obsessed with colours, counting everything, building, putting together puzzles and has started to connect sounds to letters. She’s particularly excited to point out “O”, never failing to tell you that that’s her letter.

Above all, I love seeing my girls together and am grateful for the extended uninterrupted time that home education has given us.

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Every month, I’ll give a little update on what we’ve been up to as part of This Homeschooling Life, a new linky I’m hosting with blogger friends Jess, Polly and Laura. If you blog, consider linking up.

This Homeschooling Life is a linky sharing a week, a day or even just a moment from your life as a homeschooling family. We are hoping it will be a great way to discover new blogs and learn how we all do things differently.

The linky will open at 8am on the first Monday of every month and, throughout the rest of the month, the hosts will share your posts on their social media channels.

The Hosts:

Adele who blogs at Beautiful Tribe
Laura who blogs at Side Street Style
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / PINTEREST / INSTAGRAM
Polly who blogs at Enchanted Pixie
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / PINTEREST / INSTAGRAM

The Rules:

1. Link back to one of the hosts. You will find the code for the badge at the bottom or if you prefer you can use a text link.

2. Link up a post from your month, no more than 3.

3. Link directly to a specific post, not your main blog.

4. Follow the hosts on at least one of their social media platforms.

5. Visit and comment on some of the other blogs linking up.

6. If you share on social media then you can use the #thishomeschoolinglife so we can all find each other.

This Homeschooling Life

An InLinkz Link-up



34 weeks pregnant with baby number three

Six plus weeks to go still feels a long time but a look through our calendar with most weekends booked up until then and it really isn’t a long time at all.

Physically, all is looking as it should. A midwife appointment last Thursday confirmed that the baby is head down and that my iron levels are in good shape. A Spatone smoothie a day has kept the anemia away so far. This is my first non-anemic pregnancy.

The girls went with me this time. Talitha was delighted to hear the baby’s heartbeat and fascinated when the midwife took my blood. I’m not sure how much Ophelia understood because she was mainly fixated on showing the midwife her boots, repeatedly.

Other than being a bit sore and stiff at the end of a day when I’ve overdone it, pelvic girdle pain isn’t an issue this time so far, which I’m so grateful for because I haven’t been able to make it to an osteopath as I did in my second pregnancy and I was practically housebound at points in my first.

I do have to watch it, though, and am trying to listen to my body in terms of walking and lifting. The kids inevitably keep me active, which is a good thing, even if I pay in soreness later. I’m finding a shower in the evening really helps with that.

I am, however, feeling utterly, utterly exhausted. I can honestly say, I don’t think I’ve ever felt this tired in my life. Not even in that first sleep deprived year with Talitha when she woke all. the. time. I’ve upped my vitamin D but I think feeling tired just going to be the theme for the next few weeks. I remember feeling so much better after having Ophelia so I’m hoping that will happen again.

A pregnancy massage at the Lido in Clifton yesterday was just what I needed. Laurence bought me a voucher for my birthday as he had in my first pregnancy five years ago. I may have drifted in and out of sleep, hopefully without snoring! I’m still feeling its effects today, despite nursing a headache.

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Emotionally, I am really looking forward to the birth. I’ve been listening to Katharine Graves’ hypnobirthing CD and despite falling asleep by the first few affirmations (I need to start listening in the day time too!), it’s been helping me to get into a really positive, empowered mindset. Maybe it’s reminding me about the things I loved about the last home birth?

We also went to another Bristol Home Birth Group meeting last night, which was interesting because it raised a big topic for us. We’ve been discussing whether to have the kids there. We planned to just keep Talitha home last time but I changed my mind last minute as I found her too distracting. In retrospect, though, I was still in the early stages of labour and had quite a long way to go. If she had been around, perhaps I wouldn’t have given my surges more attention than they required too soon.

Talking about it last night, we realised we had a conflict of approaches. I want the birth to be normalised as a part of our everyday life as far as possible and I feel it’s better to focus on what we want and expect to happen than give to much energy to what might happen. Laurence, on the other hand, is being far more pragmatic, probably because he’s the one who will be saddled with their care. In the end, I think we’ve seen that both perspectives have value and balance each other. So, we’ve made arrangments with various family members (we’re so lucky to have so many in Bristol) and we’ve agreed to wait and see.

I’ve almost completed the blanket I’ve been crocheting for this baby. The last bits are boring so finishing them feels a real labour of love, which it is. I love her already. It’s my first project of this size so it’s been a real journey getting here, even though it’s far from perfect. I hope to share it with you soon.

Practically, I haven’t sorted most of what I had by this stage the last couple of times. I’ve gathered clothes here and there but I haven’t actually laid everything out to see what I need. Hilariously, a pregnancy website I was looking at was telling me that at 34 weeks, it might be worth giving the hospital bag a last minute check! I’m definitely not there yet.

Nappies weren’t sorted up until the weekend when a friend sold me her cloth stash at a bargainous price. I said I was going to make cloth wipes since all of ours are pretty much threadbare but it doesn’t look likely now and having seen the quality of some Cheeky Wipes the same friend had, I may just buy a set of those.

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I’ve also been starting to think about what I’m going to wear after the baby’s here. I didn’t give this any attention in either of the last two pregnancies and found myself with clothes that were either annoying to breastfeed a newborn in or didn’t fit well in the postpartum period. So I’m appreciating getting my wardrobe started with this blue dress [pictured] sent to me by Vertbaudet. I can wear it now while pregnant but it also has poppers for breastfeeding once the baby is here. I think I may well end up in dresses until the autumn now, especially when it’s hot.

Parenting feels like it’s evolving as we get ready to add a third child to our family. I’m aware that having a baby sibling will be different for Talitha at five than it was at two years and eight months. Yet I’m also aware that it will be different for Ophelia than it was for Talitha, not just because she’ll be three months younger but because she is a different person.

While they’re both more conscious of my bump than I am a lot of the time, Ophelia is the one who draws most attention to it, probably because she’s the one who most needs a lap, a cuddle in bed or to be carried. It melts me when either of them talks to the baby but Ophelia is the one most prone to do so.

Ophelia is still breastfeeding, albeit for only a few moments at bedtime, only ever on one side. Often she will decide she’s had enough. I find it a relief because I’m experiencing even more nursing aversion than I did with Talitha. Perhaps my body is saying, “Too much.” Her latch has also changed and I’m not convinced that she is getting any colostrum, though it is there.

It seems entirely possible that she could wean in the next month. Part of me feels sad to think that she could wean so soon when I breastfed her sister to age four. There may also be some guilt there because I know I’ve encouraged her quite a lot, with more limits than her sister had. Yet, breastfeeding isn’t something that can be measured or predicted.

I wonder how both girls will adapt to a new sibling. Attentions already divided will become more so. Already they don’t always get what they want or need. It’s just not possible. I have to trust that what I give will be enough in the long run and appreciate how much they have already gained in each other.

I look at these two, how different they are and how easily I love them both, and wonder what my love will look like when it expands to a third.

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Read more updates from this pregnancy with baby number three:
31 weeks pregnant
28 weeks pregnant
25 weeks pregnant
22 weeks pregnant
20 weeks pregnant
18 weeks pregnant
16 weeks pregnant
12 weeks pregnant


Reasons I’m struggling to blog right now

You may have noticed that things have slowed down around here. Or you may not, since – as is the way of social media – when one channel falls silent there are lots out there still switched on with lots to say.

It’s a little inane to blog about blogging, kind of like someone having a sulk about how social media is ruining our lives – in a Facebook status. Yet sometimes, the only way to get through the block is to talk about it. And even if you don’t blog, there may be something here you can identify with. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

Here are ten reasons I’m struggling to blog right now.

1. I’m physically exhausted
That pregnancy with baby number three has really taken it out of me is no secret. Most days I have a small window of feeling human between 8am and 1pm. Some days I wake up tired and get to the evening near tears. Others I just go to sleep when the kids do. The sofa, the television and a bar of chocolate call me away from the computer not only because I’m unconvinced I’ll coherently string a sentence together but because I worry I’ll bring too much negativity to the screen.

That said, I’m writing this in the evening, hoping I’m not going to look at it in the morning and realise I need to delete it all. I also apologise for any grammatical or spelling errors gaping out at you. I blame interrupted sleep and possibly not enough omega-3.

2. I’m preoccupied
I’m actually spending a lot of time thinking! There’s the birth and the new baby and what’s going on with my kids day to day and some tricky private life stuff I can’t talk about and lots of ideas too – things I’m imagining, things I want to do, things I’m really grateful for. In a way, it’s a bit of an overload trying to organise my thoughts enough to write anything, especially since a lot of those things aren’t things I would write necessarily write about.

3. I feel vulnerable
Something that’s occurred to me a lot recently is that blogging lays my life and opinions open. Of course, I’ve always known it. I put something out there and I welcome conversation but I’m also making myself vulnerable to judgement, real or imagined. I’d love to say that it doesn’t bother me and, actually, it mostly hasn’t. But recently, I feel increasingly weary. I kind of want to get on with my life by just living it without having to deal head on with what others think about it. I’m aware that an honest post like this one flies in the face of that. I can live with that contradiction.

4. I’ve softened in my views
Earlier in motherhood, things seemed a lot more black and white and it was easier to blog about things I held to be true. I felt inspired. I wasn’t just sharing my experiences, I was advocating. I still stand by a lot of what I wrote back then and I know that some of my posts have helped others to make sense of their own experiences and to feel less alone. However, as time goes by, I feel less and less like I have the answers and more and more like no one else does either. When I write about my family, I really am just writing about my family. Not yours. I do think that’s still valuable to share but it doesn’t erase the fact that I’d find it easier to blog about “Ten things I know” than “Ten things I reckon could be true…for me anyway”.

5. I literally have less time
Not only do I have less time in the evenings because I’m either falling asleep early or might as well be but I literally have less time in the day as well. I’ve finally reached the point where I can’t function in chaos and have become a lot more routine about keeping on top of the house and life.

The kids are great playmates now which thankfully has given me a lot of space to get on with things I need to or to rest if it all gets too much. Still, Talitha has a lot of things she wants to do that require my active involvement and I generally need to have a few ideas up my sleeve to occupy Ophelia long enough to allow me to come alongside both of them. Yes, I know, I’m about to have even less time with the new baby. I read a funny post recently that said the only way to manage having three kids is to only have two in your care at any one time – not an option for home educating families!

6. I’m not sure who I’m writing for or what they want
This is a difficult one. I’m probably meant to be all gung-ho about blogging for self-fulfillment or whatevs but would I honestly bother to put my work in a public space if I weren’t writing for others? And if I am writing for others, what do they want? I’ve had a lot of real life people tell me recently that they love reading my home education posts but those aren’t the most successful in terms of social media response so it’s really hard to gauge. I feel it’s about finding that sweet spot between what I want to write about and what others want to read. I’m just not confidently hitting it yet.

7. There are so many options
Between Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram and everything else, there are so many things I could be doing around blogging that it’s actually a little overwhelming. Yet it’s hard to ignore. One of the benefits of blogging has been a first hand education in social media which has led to many work opportunities outside of this blog. Also, because the blog straddles the line between personal and commercial venture, I do feel the need to do more than write but to keep up to date with what’s out there, improve my photography and so on.

8. There’s some cool stuff happening out there
Speaking of which, there is so much online now that it can feel a bit wimpy to “just” spill my guts. Photography and video standards are high and increasing. The quality of the writing I stumble across sometimes is, frankly, daunting. Writing “a little thought I thinked today” without tons of research and links to books and sites to back up what I’m trying to say feels inadequate.

9. I struggle with perfectionism
Related to the last two points and possibly all of them, I find it difficult to step out into the unknown. I’ve always felt like I need to be sure I can succeed at something before taking it on. When parenting gets me down, it’s usually because it lacks clear measures of success or because there’s a lot that happens that I can’t know beforehand. Similarly with blogging, I feel like I need to be sure about what I’m doing before I attempt anything and that’s not always possible. Hopefully, publishing a post like this one will help me push beyond that.

10. Not blogging is a self-perpetuating cycle
Finally, the less I blog, the less I feel able to blog. The challenge grows insurmountable. I worry that I’ll return with a whimper rather than a bang (and see point 9!).

Here’s to breaking that cycle. This blog has survived six years and has taken me through a lot in that time. There may come a time to call it quits but it’s not today.