I don't feel that I'm a bad mother or all that negligent. It's true that I sometimes shout; it's true that I should probably find time to sit and read with eldest daughter and it's true that perhaps A or E would like a bit of time with me without always doing everything together, but life is busy and sometimes there just isn't enough time.
Having said that I am feeling extremely guilty and a little shakey when I think of two things that happened to me in the last week. On Sunday the weather was great and everyone had enjoyed playing in the garden. At the end of the day dh was taking bikes back to the garage and I was getting dinner ready in the kitchen with A&E. The eldest two were bouncing on our trampoline in the garden. I was busy discussing with A&E what we were about to make as I turned to wash up my cheese grater in the sink. I was still talking to them but they didn't reply and when I turned round a few moments later they had disappeared. I assumed they had gone upstairs or into the garden to play on the trampoline again. I called their names but no reply came. I popped my head out of the back door but couldn't see them. I ran past the two eldest children on the trampoline but they said they hadn't noticed them. I hurtled down the side passageway of the house through the open gate and into my front driveway where I found them standing on the doorstep holding hands with our neighbour from across the street.
In a matter of about 40 seconds they had run through the garden, down the passage, across the drive and decided to cross the road. Thankfully we live on a reasonably quiet street and my neighbour knew they were our kids and when she realised they were out alone calmy brought them home to me.
It took me a while to get over the shock and now we ensure that the routes out of the garden are always firmly locked.
Thinking I had put this episode of adverture behind me I was shocked when a similar event happened again yesterday. The girls were heading upstairs for a bath. I was just finishing putting boy in the middle's dinner on the table and then twenty seconds after A&E left the room I followed them. I screamed in horror as I saw the front door was wide open. I ran out and saw a lady opposite with her dog staring into my drive. I saw one girl and screamed "Where's the other one". The lady pointed out she was right behind me. I scooped them up, told them off, came into the house and firmly locked the door.
My other kids never behaved like this. Perhaps it's safety in numbers that they think it's fine to leave the house provided they are together. As for me - I am locking all exits from now on and starting to feel that all those people who say "Double Trouble" to me may just be right!