Making “me time” in the most unlikely places

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Rainy days with the monkeys

So today it is raining. TM is at school, I have collected MM from nursery and BM is fast asleep. My mother in law is at home cleaning (yes I am very lucky) so we are not allowed there for a couple of hours. There is only one place for it. Soft play. Eeerrrggggh!!! If you are reading this and you don’t have children over the age of 2, chances are you have no idea what a soft play is. Lucky you, I say. When I started this blog my very good friend told me that I must write about my love (or not so much) of soft play. It occured to me however that this does not really apply to getting back into fitness. On the whole you mostly sit still, drink and eat overpriced drinks and snacks, whilst growing ever more resentful as your vitimin D levels drain away under the flurescent lights of a smelly wharehouse with no windows. Uninspiring and energy sapping. Although all of the above applies, what I have learned is that soft play is a price worth paying when you are desperate for 5 minutes peace on a rainy day. Understand however that by peace I mean space between me and the older two monkeys not peace and quiet. Firstly let me share with you my history of soft play in a nutshell.

Soft Play: a depressing history

I was introduced to soft play by friends with older children. It is safe to say that I hated it. I could not understand why anyone would want to go to such an awful place. It smelled, the air was stale and the levels of hygiene felt questionable. Problem was, the kids loved it. On my first visit, TM loved it so much he refused to go to the toilet. He was having so much fun that he happily wet himself in the middle of the craft area. (yes it was a posh soft play). As I apologised to the attendant, unfazed herself by this event, she disclosed that this was not a problem. It was only when such accidents occured in the ball pool that cleaning became problematic!!! Although one would think that this was the lowest moment in my softplay experience, I can confirm it is not. The worst moment ever was to come much later on. So MM was 2 and TM 4 (almost), and a friend has invited me to a free soft play event. It is the holidays, it is almost definitely going to be horrendous. The lure of adult conversation and free entertainment for the kids was enough however, so we went. All was well, it was a brand new facility so hygiene seemed to be acceptable. I was lulled into a false sense of security. A happy couple of hours were spent drinking hot beverages and making adult conversation that only consisted of approximately 68% talk of our children. As home time loomed, my monkeys and I were not required to dash off for a school run, so we opted for a leisurely exit. Or so I thought. My parting words to my friends were “we’ll be right behind you”. Boy was I wrong.  As the door closed behind them I realised MM had disappeared. TM was sent in to the padded jungle to locate him, but he returned empty handed. I removed my shoes and came in too. Very undignified. Once again we emerged with no MM. By this point 20 minutes had passed and I was beginning to suspect that an abduction had occurred. After approaching a member of staff I discovered that there is a “drill” for such occurences and a search party was organised. No sooner had several staff members been dispatched when MM emerged from his hiding place. He waddled towards me with the wide legged gait that meant only one thing. It became obvious that MM, requiring his daily ablusions, had found himself a quiet corner in which to do this. The evacuation however, had been so large that his already wet nappy (such is the excitement of soft play to a small child) had not been able to withstand the pressure. It had then exploded all over the place, escaping from every opening and covering all layers of clothes. This was quite literally a disaster!

As we left the soft play that afternoon, blinking in the sunlight, MM wearing nothing other than a nappy, socks and shoes, I felt as though I had been permanently changed and not for the better. It was some time before I returned to soft play and longer before I understood it’s true potential.

Enlightenment under fluorescent lighting

“What changed” I hear you cry “and why are you now trying to sell it to us?” Well, whilst heavily pregnant with BM and suffering with SPD symptoms, soft play saved me. It was a bank holiday Monday and hubby was working. I had no plans and I could not face a day at home with my energetic monkeys. That day they played well, I read a book and sipped a hot beverage. That day it worked. Does this happen every time we go now? No, of course not. But get this. I almost finished this post today whilst in a soft play. Any change in life requires time to think and plan. Meet the needs of your monkeys and they will gift you (sometimes) with the time to clear your head and plan your next move. Don’t get me wrong however, if it isn’t raining heavily my first stop will always be the park and the great outdoors. But in desperate times, there is always soft play.

So with one walk ticked off this week and another planned for tomorrow, I am making progress. Slow progress is still progress. I am also starting to put my needs back on the family to do list and that includes talking to you all. Keep liking and sharing as all your support has been motivational. Stay tuned for a change of pace coming soon…

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