Like many mums I’ve experienced guilt as a new parent. And last week whilst I was having a lovely day out with Miss Belle and my best friend and her children, I felt a new type of mum guilt. A Stay At Home Mum guilt. I felt guilty that I was the one watching Miss Belle have so much fun when Daddy was hard at work. It wasn’t a family day out. He was missing out. Yes Daddy is always the favourite parent at the weekends, but there are definitely some perks to being a SAHM. But, as my friend quite rightly pointed out, we have to deal with all the crap stuff too. The tantrums, the food throwing, the refusing meals, the poonamis, the sometimes constant whinging. And at times that feels so so relentless. But that’s why the good days feel so much more special.
The perfect family day out
This weekend I was determined we would have a lovely family day together so that Daddy could get in on the action. We decided to make use of my annual pass to Pensthorpe Natural Park as he hadn’t been before. Pensthorpe has been voted Norfolk’s Best Large Attraction in 2014 and 2015 and it’s the perfect place for a family day out. There are beautiful gardens to walk around, lakeside nature trails and woodland walks, flamingos, cranes and ducks and geese gallore. Pensthorpe is a birdwatchers paradise and they also have little huts where you can sit and view the surroundings.
My annual pass gives a discount to the entry price for up to two guests and discount on food. I’ve already been five times with different friends since I took out my pass in the summer and it’s definitely been worth it. Not only is Pensthorpe beautiful, but there is a fantastic indoor play area, Hootz House, and a brilliant outdoor play area. Although the weather is now turning and most of the pretty flowers have disappeared, the autumnal feel to Pensthorpe in October was really nice. I’m not really an autumn person, but even I could appreciate the beauty in the turning leaves.
We got there at about 11:15 so went straight to the indoor play before lunch. There is also a really lovely cafe and courtyard which sells hot food, snacks and delicious cakes where we had lunch. Then Miss Belle wanted to feed the ducks, her highlight of our Pensthorpe visits. They sell special duck feed for £1 and we walked around the lakes stopping to feed the ducks and geese.
We carried on walking and taking the scenery in when Miss Belle napped in the buggy. After she woke up we fed some more ducks and went to the outdoor play area where she could go on the slides, swings, crawl through the tunnels and run round in the little play houses. It was so nice to see her and her Daddy having so much fun.
I was never really outdoorsy before I had Miss Belle. In fact, a few years ago I’d have thought going to a park full of gardens and loads of birds was a bit dull. Oh how I have changed. What can I say? There’s something about seeing the magic that nature brings to my toddler’s little face. The pure joy that comes from watching her smell flowers and feed the ducks. But what made the day for me, was seeing how happy it also made Daddy. A quality family day is what weekends are all about.
If you’ve never been to Pensthorpe or if you’re visiting Norfolk in future, I can highly recommend it as a lovely family day out.