21 November 2011


I am lucky enough to be a stay at home mum. I get to spend all the time in the world with my girl - something that I know many women aren't able to do. I chose this, and I try to value it every day. I have a very generous 15hrs a week to "get stuff done" thanks to a divine local nursery school. But once the daily grocery shopping, cooking, washing and cleaning are finished, that doesn't seem to amount to all that much.

Just occasionally I wish that - by virtue of a paid job, nearby relative, or live-in maid domestic helper (lets not even get into that debate just now) - I could, just once, throw my hands up in the air and sod off to go and do my own thing without a backward glance (...or a quick look down at my watch for the ever-looming school run/babysitter deadline).

I realised last week that there have only been two nights in nearly five years where I have slept away from my daughter. On the one hand, how incredibly lucky am I? (And this hand is definitely the winning hand, I know it holds the top trumps.) But on the other, I felt the need to scream for my lost independence.

But I can't do that because I live in a block of flats and it would've woken the neighbours. How bloody frustrating.

If you've ever felt this way, and you're the parent of a preschooler, I've found a sort-of short-term solution. It's simpler than you would ever have imagined. I can't magic up a childminding granny, a full-time Mrs Mop, or an undemanding morning job in a divine local boutique (aaah dreamy)... I don't have the cash or the work permit to make any of those things happen.

But I can do buttons.

Seriously, if you don't have a tin of buttons, go to your local cheapo craft shop and buy the biggest mixed bargain bag they have. They induce remarkably long periods of contented, educational quiet time, during which I retreat to my room to knit and read. Knitting and reading isn't exactly asserting my independence to the world, but sometimes a bit of peace and quiet is all I need to restore perspective.

And when I start to crave her company again, I can always go and join in with the colour sorting, the threading, the adding, the size grading, the tiddlywinking, the endless mesmerising possibilities...


They've been known to save my day.


  1. Although I don't have children, I can understand the need for time to yourself. I remember I used to love sorting buttons, it's amazing how much time that could entertain me as a child. Plus, like you said, educational too... Sorting, categorising, sizing, lots of things to learn :)

  2. I can relate to all these things. Being a mom at home is the most wonderfull job on the planet, but we still do need some me time. I know i feel like that too. I have a love for buttons too andnhave lots... What a great idea.

  3. haha! great post - made me laugh. i need to get some buttons. i am lucky to be home with my preschooler too - but, i don't even get 15 hours break from putting him into a preschool. i am the preschool. and i haven't ever spent a single night away from him. but, although sometimes i do want to scream too, i actually couldn't spend a night away from him (or maybe i actually could) because the thought just makes me a little sad because i know he'd miss me.

  4. oh i do so feel for you. buttons are a great idea, i remember my children played with them too, as well as a lot of other sewing knitting supplies. so i could get some sewing/knitting in. my youngest's favorite was to pull all the pins out of the tomato pincushion and put them all back in, in patterns or colors, i used to be so grateful for that too.

  5. Everybody loves buttons.
    I have bought a beautiful big selection of all kinds of buttons for my Grandma's Christmas. She is a manic knitter so I know they'll go to good use!
    Only about 8 months til she goes to school! Can you believe that? You baby going to school???? It's utter madness.


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