"Have you not got a coat?" Toby had an appointment with his consultant last week. Usually she is happy to just speak to me about how he is doing as to not disrupt his routine by taking him out of school but as she hadn’t seen him for over a year she asked if I could bring him in. A friend kindly offered to take us and help out as I can’t manage to two of them by myself when out and about. It was much easier when Ted was a baby and would happily just sleep in the sling and I could supervise Toby however these days he’s a lively two year old who likes to run off. The combination of the two of them together can be pretty challenging as Toby needs one to one supervision for his own safety and often becomes overwhelmed when out and about. Any parent will know that getting out of the house on time can be challenging! I decided to not put Toby in his school uniform (even through he was going back to school afterwards) as he would be really distressed that he was in his uniform but wasn’t at school. However I packed it to change him in to after the appointment. After getting both of the boys and all of their stuff into the car (they don’t travel light you know!) I grabbed my phone and my keys and as I was locking the front door Jen shouted, “Have you not got a coat?!” I joked that I didn’t even know where my coat was and despite the temperature being just above zero I left the house in jeans and a tshirt. Thinking about it, I had remembered and organised two boys fully dressed (that’s a challenge in itself as Toby prefers to be naked) two car seats, Toby’s pushchair, a changing bag, Toby’s school bag, his PECS book, his ear defenders, his iPad, drinks and snacks of the two of them, Toby’s school clothes and shoes, couple of trains for Ted (he doesn’t go anywhere at the moment without a choo-choo!) Toby’s picture of school from his visual timetable (to show him after the appointment to communicate that it was time for school) change for parking, the appointment letter and, of course, coats and hats for the boys as it was freezing outside. I however was stood there in a tshirt with my hair still slightly damp wondering if I had everything I needed for the boys. That phase, “Have you not got a coat?!” has been going through my head several times since then. I think so often parents and carers (especially parent/carers) can be so busy taking care of everyone else’s needs that they don’t actually think about themselves. Lack of sleep doesn’t help me as often I struggle to think straight especially if Toby has been up most of the night. So this week I’m trying to remember to not leave the house without my coat – physically or metaphorically! The ironic thing is, I was asked by the Family Fund to write them a blog post in Dec looking at carers needs and feelings and I just didn’t find the time to do it! Going out without Toby’s iPad or ear defenders etc would be a nightmare – forgetting his iPad is a mistake that I’ve only made once! I need to take some time to remember me too rather than just running around sorting out everyone else as I so often leave the house without a ‘coat’. I’m still on a journey with this…but this week I’ve been trying to remember my coat – actually eating breakfast, reading my devotional book before leaving the house, planning in activities that don’t involve two little boys, going to bed early etc. They might not sound like big things but small changes sometimes make the biggest difference!