I wasn’t going to publish this post, but after a little pep talk from a lovely reader, I decided to hit the ‘publish’ button. I am constantly doubting myself, worrying about ‘oversharing’ and whether readers of my blog will have any interest in my personal life. But if I think about the bloggers that I follow, what I love most about them is that they share so much of themselves and it makes me feel like I ‘know’ them. So here we go…
For SO many reasons 2016 was a pretty shocking year on a global level, but personally, 2016 was one of my best years. I am finally doing something that I love passionately and it was the first year since having children that I picked them up from school almost every day. That may not sound like much, but my eldest is 11, and I know how much it means to her to finally see my face at the school gates every day. Those journeys home with them moaning about the ‘ below par’ after school snacks or me moaning about how ‘lucky they were that they got driven home in a comfy car and even had a snack to eat’, weren’t always jolly of course, but it was time spent together. The time when they reveal snippets of their day and get things off their chest and the times that I had missed up until the beginning of the year.
Resigning from my job and heading into the unknown and the world of unemployment was scary, but I knew that the time had come and I needed to stop plodding and do something that would make me feel alive again. I am hugely grateful for all the opportunities that my blog has provided, and without you, reading it, none of that would have happened. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you, for enabling me to make something of it. It really has been one of the most fulfilling and exciting years for me and I am so excited about 2017.
Another thing that made it such a special year for me, was that my husband resigned from his job too, and was on gardening leave for 6 months. It meant that we spent so much time together, as a family and as a couple when the children were at school. Precious time together that reaffirmed what a great friend he is, as well as an amazing father and husband.
So heading into a new year year, I had a think about the things that I feel I need to work on in 2017. Not resolutions as such, but little things that I need to be more mindful of. So I thought I would share them with you.
- Switching off the phone and picking up a book – Given what I ‘do’, naturally I spend a lot of time on my phone. That’s part and parcel of being a blogger. But I do need to have a cut off point, when I put the phone down, leave it downstairs and read something that isn’t on a screen. My phone is the last thing and first thing I look at every day and I know that is not good for me. There are so many books that I want to read, but I very seldom pick them up. So this year, I aim to try and read one book a month.
- Trying to have more structured ‘work times’ that don’t creep into the children’s time – ‘Mummy get off your phone’ was a phrase I heard too often this year. What they don’t realise is me being on my phone is me working, and when you are trying to establish yourself and build something, those hours ‘on your phone’ are important. I had often heard people who worked from home saying that they never stopped, and it’s true. I always thought the payoff was that you were physically ‘there’ but I have realised that that isn’t good enough for children. You need to be more than just physically standing in the room with them. They want your undivided attention and with three of them, it’s virtually impossible to try and work at the same time. So I am going to try and introduce more of a structure to my day, whenever possible.
- Always Making time for Exercise – There have been plenty of weeks when I have said I haven’t got time for the gym, but the truth is, for me, there is always time. Even if it means getting up an hour earlier or heading out after the children have gone to bed. I know it makes me feel better about myself, it allows me time to think and breathe and just get off the hamster wheel for an hour, so my aim is (and always has been) three times a week. I have recently got into boxing and have a brand new pair of pink boxing gloves for Christmas, so I am very excited to get them in the ring!
- Learning to shout less – I know I raise my voice too much, because the children tell me every time I do it! Except now they shout back. I have taught them to shout and I plan to get us all speaking, not shouting, when we are frustrated with each other this year. In 2017 I plan to be a less shouty mummy. There, I said it!
- Improving my cooking skills – My husband does most of the cooking, but he has a new job starting which will mean that he won’t be home early enough to cook dinner, so I will have to up my game. I am not too bad when I put my mind to it, but my mind is very often elsewhere, so my aim will be to focus, plan and make more varied dishes. I also want us to entertain more. We have been a bit lazy this year and cooking for friends is such a lovely thing to do.
- To stop comparing myself to others and doubting myself – This year I made a big effort to stop comparing myself to others and I’ve definitely improved, but it’s always something I need to work on and be aware of. I also doubt myself more than I should, so this year I hope to have a little more self-belief.
- Explore London with the children more – We are very lucky to live in such a beautiful city and have everything on our doorstep, but we are guilty of not exploring enough. So this year, I would like to do one trip a month, where we take the children to places that they haven’t been before and soak up all the amazing history and culture London has to offer.
- Planning a trip to see my father – This is probably one of my most important goals for this year. My parents (who divorced when I was 9) both live in South Africa. My mum comes over and lives with us for 6 months of the year, so we do get to spend good chunks of time with her, but I haven’t seen my dad for three years. Flights for the five of us to South Africa are prohibitively expensive, but we need to save and make it a priority as I miss him and the children don’t really ‘know’ their grandfather as they should do, and that makes me sad.