This week I have been off work on annual leave. It is the first time I've had off in over 8 months where I've just been allowed to do what I want, when I want and not have anything else at all to worry about.
I didn't have anything significant planned. It was nice to have a whole stretch in front of me without having to set alarms, iron my uniform or go to bed early.
We haven't done much as a family together, most of the time you need money for family days out, tickets or anything else. It's not been warm enough for picnics or park trips - although we've fitted a couple in.
But most of all, it's been amazing to spend some quality time with my Princess. I haven't spent any real time alone with her since I started my job, and although I know she is in perfectly capable hands with her Daddy, I can't help feeling left out a lot of the time. Gone are the days of shouting for Mummy in the middle of the night, or rushing to me when she needs comfort. I've been feeling a lot like a part time parent who is only good for bath and bed time.
As I said, even though I didn't have anything in particular planned, it's been lovely to get up with her in the morning, help her pick out what she would like to wear and make the ever so important school runs. I think a lot of parents take these privileges for granted, I see no end of people complaining about the daily tasks they have to take part in with their children, but for me it's a rarity and I've absolutely loved doing it.
Walking her to nursery is a particular favourite. She is happy and chatty and it's wonderful to see the sheer excitement on her face as she races towards the school gates. I get to find out about all of the things she's been doing in class, who her friends are and who she played with that day. Information she's usually forgotten or too tired to tell me when I get home from work.
Finding things to do together has been easy. Even if it is something as simple as sitting and watching cartoons or reading a book together, I'm just happy I get to do it with her. Yesterday we made cupcakes and I allowed her to wash up afterwards. It really does become apparent that it's the little things that are the most important. She couldn't have been happier helping to mix the ingredients and then dive her hands in to soapy water.
Like any toddler though, Princess can be extremely hard work. We've had our share of tantrums, bad behavior and shouting matches, but just having her come to me afterwards and say sorry, and for a sneaky little bit of comfort, fills me with so much happiness.
I miss out on so much by working. This week has really made me realise just how much.
Sometimes I need to stop and appreciate the little things more with my little girl. Like how she will always stop to pick me a daisy on the way back from the shop. Or how she wants to sit on my knee to play on my phone. Even though I now have a pile of dead daisies on my TV cabinet, those daisies were for me.
From now on I plan on spending more much needed quality time with my Princess. This week couldn't have been more amazing, I'm just sad it's almost over.