Family, Health, Relationships

From Venus and Mars to Ying and Yang?

Now this isn’t entirely meant to be used as a way to vent my relationship frustrations, but if it comes across that way please bare with me!

At the start of my relationship with my partner, it was obvious we were very different, but I liked to think of it as opposites attract, or as some would say, Ying and Yang. Overall I feel like this is probably still the case, but its taken a lot of fall outs and make up ‘discussions’ to try and figure out a way around our differences. For anyone in the same situation (basically for any women feeling stuck on Venus, and for any man feeling stuck on Mars) read on.

My partner is a very black and white logical individual, and I am what I would describe as colourful! I like talking, he does not. I like Art, he likes computer programming. I like to keep the house tidy, he doesn’t see the mess even if its causing him to jump over items in order to get to the kitchen! Trivial I know, but these little things add up. The main issues however are the differences we have towards work and family life, and putting effort into one another. I like to cuddle up together in an evening and spend quality time together as a family at the weekend. My partner on the other hand is not one for affection, deems the word ‘love’ as fluffy and unnecessary to say aloud, and would prefer spending most of the weekend ‘getting his Geek on’ (if he could get away with it!). Neither way is wrong of course, but the two opinions literally spell disaster!

Recently our differences landed us in relationship counselling, and I have to admit even this did not seem to allow us to find a solution! So what did we decide to do? Well, on the verge of breakup we came up with a plan to accommodate our differences. We both love one another, and we have a child together, so making our relationship work is important to both of us. When things are going well between us we have such a laugh together and enjoy one another’s company – so why on earth would we not be able to overcome our differences?!

On a Saturday afternoon we made a plan. It was structured and simple, outlining who would take responsibility for the childcare on certain days, and when we would fit family time as well as ‘me time’ in. At first I was unsure, but a week or so in I can see it definitely has its benefits. Between us we get to take it in turns to lay in, have time to ourselves (yes, I actually get to go for a run now, come home, and then have a bath!!), and have time together. The time together is less often, but of better quality. Due to my partner stating that he did not appreciate the dinners I made for him, or the laundry I washed for him, we also decided that I would no longer do this. Those that are on childcare duty must also leave the house in the same condition as they found it. And when on our own time we can choose to spend that time however we like for as long as we like (as long as it is within your dedicated time slot for ‘me time’).

It sounds simple doesn’t it, and it is, but I can assure you this has so far worked better then anything we have learnt in counselling. I feel that because it allows both of us to have breathing space, it means that we don’t feel suffocated by one another or family commitments. The children seem to prefer it too, as quite often they get more one to one time with either parent. So if you are feeling strained by your relationship and family commitments, give this idea a go. Sit down together and mutually agree a weekly rota that allows both of you to have time to yourself.

 

 

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Days out, Family, Parenting

Fun-mum on a Budget

IMG_0364Recently I was on the verge of becoming a single parent (again), and I started to tighten the belt pretty rapidly. Whilst in my relationship the worries of money was never too apparent, not that I had much to spend, but I could at least indulge in a Costa Coffee once or twice a week without the price playing on my mind afterwards. Hell, I would even throw in the occasional cake just to go all out!

As soon as I started to contemplate ending life with my partner, I started to adjust my spending habits and look out for good deals and inexpensive ways to entertain myself and the children (especially during half term). Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much adjustment to get the same outcome, and even though me and my partner are still hanging on in there together, I have continued with being a bit more money aware. I actually get quite a kick out of spending less for more!!

Moors valley is a great place to go when the weather is nice, but the parking is ridiculously expensive if you are watching your spending. Instead I would park at Pottern Park on the outskirts of Verwood and walk in. The walk itself is beautiful and full of wildlife, taking you past the lakes and golf course on the way through. The route is footpath and buggy/bike friendly for those with pushchairs and young children. It takes about 25 minutes to walk in, but once we arrive we tend to pitch up at the play area, have a picnic, and then walk back. Not bad for a free day out!

Now I know most families are aware of Tesco clubcard points and how these can be transferred into days out, but I want to give it a mention for those that may not maximise what’s on offer. Basically you can exchange every £2.50 in vouchers for £10 worth of day out vouchers (I think this is the general rule, although places like Longleat are slightly different). My favourite one to do most half terms and school holidays is Adventure Wonderland, as both my eight year old and eighteen month old enjoy themselves here. Again bring a picnic (and a flask of tea/coffee), and it makes for a free day out.

For those of you with children aged 6 plus, I strolled across a gem of an offer last summer, and I have just heard it’ll be happening again this year. ‘Life’s an Adventure’ is a water-sports course offered through Dorset Council aimed at getting families to try different water-sports over a 5 week course (every Saturday or Sunday afternoon for 5 weeks). We had a great time trying out paddle boarding, Sailing, raft building, and other such things. Before each session began we would take a walk on Chesil beach and stop for lunch, before getting our wetsuits on and hitting the harbour for fun and games with other families. And get this – £10 each for the whole course! Bargain!

This blog could go on, I haven’t even gone into the traditional forest, beach and parks on offer, or the low cost toddler groups and entertainment events that arise over the year. So if you’re in a similar situation to where I found myself, just bear in mind the alternative low cost methods of entertainment out there, and enjoy spending time as a family without blowing a fortune.

 

 

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