So we are now a good way into the year, somehow it is April already and the toddler will turn 3 at the end of the month…..where has the time gone!?
My Year of Me is well and truly underway and here are just a few of the things I’ve done to reinvigorate myself…
1. Realise it’s ok not to be ok
“…we don’t have to do it all to have it all.”
A big thing for me when I became a Mum was this huge fear that I wouldn’t be good enough, that somehow I wouldn’t make a very good Mum. I wrote a blog all about it (Crisis of Faith) in fact and actually the response was incredible. So many people got in touch, people who I had always assumed ‘had their shit together’ and yet here they were telling me that actually they had been through similar things – and not all these people were Mums, or women for that matter. Ultimately it showed me that in this day and age (and perhaps fuelled by social media) we are all desperate to show our happy perfect lives, when in actual fact there are days where we’d all like to crawl back into bed and hit the snooze button. It made me realise that sometimes it’s ok not to be ok, but more importantly I can still be a great Mum even on days when I do feel a bit like that.
I’m so encouraged by the amount of women who are proving on a daily basis that we don’t have to do it all to have it all.
2. Find an interest
I have a lot of interests, I think I always have. After all I am huge sucker for learning anything new. And yet there is one thing that I have never pursued because I didn’t think I would be very good…..and that is anything creative whatsoever.
Yet here I am, a term in to an evening photography course and I am absolutely loving it. So I’m not a pro by any means, but I’ve found that I’ve taken some alright pictures of the girls and the places we’ve been…..and most importantly I absolutely love it. It encourages me to get outside so that I can take new photos, and I’ve also built in 2 hours every week where I go to college and think about nothing else. Easily one of the best things I’ve done.
3. Book a whole load of things!
Always keen to plan things, my husband and I have booked several things to take us right through the year varying from meals out to trips away and from skydives (yes skydives!) to music festivals. Coming up in the next few weeks we have a Cluedo-esque style hunt in the middle of Gloucester, a kid-free trip to visit some friends in Portland and that ever-lingering skydive for charity.
“I’ve realised that everything I have is a culmination of decisions that I’ve made”
Whilst obviously a lot of these options have a cost associated to them, I’ve found that even by planning to meet up with my Mum for a cup of tea, going for a walk or booking in a yoga class (I genuinely don’t know who I’ve become!!), these things all give me something to look forward to. It’s not always a case of planning things without the kids, after all we are taking them to the Isle of Wight music festival, but it is about getting round to doing things that we have always wanted to do and saying yes, let’s do them now. I’ve gone a bit Jim Carrey circa Yes Man perhaps but ultimately I am enjoying the time off I have before I go back to work.
4. Speak to people
For as long as I can remember I have struggled with small talk. I still do to a great extent. And yet these last few months have seen me speak to a whole range of new people – mums at toddler groups, local people on social media, and even just chatting to the people who serve me in the shops. I’ve actually found that by making an effort to have some more human conversations, people are pretty nice and generally have quite a lot of interesting things to say. Even just by saying ‘Hi, how are you?’ to the grumpy lady in Tesco, it turns out she’s not actually that grumpy but she’s just had no one make any effort with her all day. I feel good, and so does she. Equally by talking I’ve realised that lots of people, and especially parents, are all in the same boat 99% of the time and are probably trying just as hard to wing it as you are.
5. Stop and smell the roses
This kind of goes back to my first point.
More than anything so far this year I have realised that everything I have is a culmination of the decisions that I have made – either by myself, with my husband, friends, family etc.
And actually I am really bloody lucky.
I think for a while I was convinced that everyone else was doing something better, or progressing further in their careers, maybe travelling across the world, finding new passions, falling in love. I guess I was jealous of what I thought I was missing out on.
Recently I went for some Head of Department interviews because I thought that was what I wanted, what I felt would be the right decision to keep my life moving forward. Needless to say, I didn’t get it. But rather than feel upset, I actually felt relief. Relief that I wouldn’t have to go back and work full time, doing a job that I love but that would ultimately consume a lot of my time, time that I could otherwise be spending with my 2 wonderful girls. Perhaps when they’re older I’ll think about it again, but in the meantime I am more than happy to be the best possible teacher that I can be at school, and then still have time to work on being the best possible Mum I can be. After all, as I said to our amazing HR lady, I know which I’d rather have on my gravestone at the end of it all….cynical but true hey!?
I’ve made a conscious decision that, in those moments where I’m scrolling through my timeline or Insta feed, rather than go “Oh I wish I was in ______ (insert exotic location here)” or “______ is so lucky, I wish I could do that”, I will actually try to say “good for them, now what adventure am I going to have today?”
There will be days where I’m cursing you in Hawaii or Dubai or wherever you may be, but for the most part I will just try to be happy for you! Honest! 🙂
So the first quarter is done, any suggestions on what I should try to achieve this quarter? Do you feel the same since becoming a Mum or a parent, or perhaps you’re not quite there yet and wish you could be? Let me know, and in the meantime check out my Instagram for all the exciting things I’ve been getting up to.