Today, Valentine’s Day is my 2 year blog anniversary. Happy blog birthday to me! I was going to write a post about the stuff I’d learnt in the last 2 years of blogging but a week ago, after just a year of procrastinating and thinking about it for far too long, I finally took the leap to self-host my own blog.
You might think that the trick of getting your child out the door and into school should be a relatively easy one right?
On the good days it can seem effortless to get everyone fed and dressed without too much whinging, out the door on time and deposited into school without any clinginess or crying. Then there are the more hellish weeks where everything goes wrong.
Memories are a funny thing. Triggers like songs, films, people and even smells can transport you to another time, another place from years ago. It’s amazing to think how strongly memories and emotions are re-called over something so fleeting.
Music is a powerful reminder. We all have certain songs which instantly spark a memory of what we were doing or where we were and who with.
Here’s just a few songs which bring back instant memories for me:
- Groove Is In The Heart by Deee-Lite and Rhythm is a Dancer by Snap – These songs always makes me think of driving around in a battered car with my school friends after we had passed our driving test.
- The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield – Was the first dance at our wedding and always makes me smile.
- Time to Say Goodbye from The Phantom of The Opera – I always found this song emotional but will never be able to hear it again without shedding a tear as it was played at my father in-law’s funeral.
- That’s Not My Name by The Ting Tings – This reminds me of the summer before I got married and how it was played constantly at the festivals I went to as well as on my hen weekend in Bath.
- Anything by Billy Joel’s An Innocent Man album – This CD was played continuously on family holidays to Devon and Cornwall. They bring back happy memories of us on holiday as well as fighting in the back seat of the car with my sisters!
Let me start by saying that generally I am impatient about most things. Impatient to get the kids out to school, impatient to hear back from a client about work, impatient to get the kids to bed, impatient to get the sodding decorating finished!
I may or may not have inherited this particular trait from my dad who is not the most patient person I know either. But this week has seen my levels of impatience reach a new high (or should that be low?!).
Refusing to Get Dressed
For some reason the youngest, who has always been chatty, over confident and loves pre-school, has now decided that she doesn’t want to go. Her avoidance tactics this week has ranged from refusing to get dressed, to hiding around the house when it’s time to leave the house. I’ve tried to deal with this calmly. I wish I was one of those jolly mums who laughs at such behaviour and joins in the game of hide and seek, but I inevitably end up losing my temper and insist on her getting dressed and going to pre-school because “I’ve got shed loads to do today!”
I love reading but in between managing two small children, trying to keep on top of my freelance writing business and keeping up to date with the latest boxset viewing (currently catching up with House of Cards Series 3), there’s precious little time left. I often collapse into bed too tired to read at the end of each night.
The day before New Year’s Eve, I sat down and started writing out my resolutions for 2017. I came up with a list of 16 (yes sixteen!) goals which included everything from running, reading and writing more to less shouting at the kids, drinking less wine and spending less time on my phone. After a good five minutes, I decided to scrap the lot and save myself from the depression of never being able to live up to such high expectations.
But I did decide to set myself some writing goals for both my freelance work and for my blog which I hope are a little bit more achievable.
So it’s a new year and I thought this would be a good opportunity to look back at the best of my blog posts from 2016.
It was a mixed bag for me, I can remember in the spring feeling really motivated and driven to write loads and grow the blog. I was posting regularly and my stats were doing well. Then during the summer and into autumn my freelance copywriting business picked up. I was busy and struggling to juggle this along with childcare and as a result, the blog suffered a bit. It meant that over autumn and winter I’ve been posting far less regularly with an obvious effect.
Before you all think I’m a complete Ebenezer, let me start by saying that I adore Christmas. I love spending time with family, seeing the kids faces as they get excited by the tree, the presents, the advent calendars and what not. I love the fact that it’s an excuse for more drinking, eating and partying with friends. BUT there is no doubt about it, this season is, quite frankly stressful! So here’s my list as to why this season sends me slightly crackers:
It has dawned on me recently that along with the big changes that happen in your life after having kids – you know, like a permanent lack of sleep, being suddenly responsible for the life and survival of a new human being and err… watching more kids TV than your own programmes, there are other smaller changes that affect us as parents. Things that used to embarrass me, no longer bother me at all. And likewise, things that I never thought about much, now seem to take on a new meaning in the embarrassment stakes.
Things That No Longer Embarrass Me
1. Doctors – I used to cringe whenever I had to go to the doctor and reveal certain body parts. Now I couldn’t care less. They’ve seen it all before, I’ve had to pretty much show everything off before so let’s get on with the job shall we?
We have just had a fantastic half-term break. The first part of the week we were in South Devon and then we went to stay with relations on a farm in South Wales.
I’m not sure if it was down to the mild, sunny weather, perhaps it was because we packed in so much stuff, or it could be due to the fact that the kids were so well-behaved with hardly any tantrums and playing up like we had back in July, but we all had an amazing time.
We arrived in Devon late on Friday night and over the next couple of days managed to enjoy some beautiful coastal walks. We’re lucky to be able to stay at my mum and dad’s flat and so we know the area fairly well. But walking any kind of distance is something we’ve never really attempted with the kids before as Eva has always moaned on about her legs being tired. Strangely enough if there was any complaints this year it was from Alice! Anyway it was fantastic to get out and explore some of coast by foot. We also took a day trip to Dartmoor and took the girls to see a miniature pony centre which the girls both really adored!
On Wednesday we moved on to Wales. My husband’s aunt and uncle run a farm near Usk and again, we’ve been lucky to be there before last October half-term. The kids love getting involved with the animals as well as the tractor and quad bike. And we all love being outside in such a beautiful place with amazing views. I don’t think I will ever get tired of seeing those views of the black mountains from the farm.
Coming Home and Back to It
We got home on Friday afternoon and it felt like we instantly slotted into our old ways. The kids were arguing and fighting. There was a mountain of washing to be done and even The Husband and I were bickering! It felt like the holiday had suddenly come to an abrupt halt!
Monday morning brought more clouds. Alice was suddenly anxious and worried to be going back to school. She clung on to me like a limpet at the school gate and I had to physically hand her over. I suppose this has been amplified by the fact that she changed schools 4 weeks ago. I had the holiday blues and was dreading getting back into work and even Eva who normally loves pre-school was saying she didn’t want to go.
Back in the Routine
Like Alice, I always used to dread the going back to school after any kind of holidays and even now I get a slight pang for getting back to normal, even if it is nowhere near as bad as it was when I was working in London. All this got me thinking about how I now best cope with getting back into the routine after a holiday:
1. Tea. Ordinarily I drink a fair amount of tea, but after a break, I seem to drink even more tea than usual to ease the pain of getting back into work.
2. Write a list. I’m a stickler for a list but after being out of the loop for a week, I need to have one even more than usual so that I know exactly what to focus on.
3. Treats. It seems only fair to ease yourself back into the grind with some biscuits and chocolates doesn’t it.
4. Get writing. Working as a copywriter means that like blogging, if you take time off, you get out of the practice of writing. It can seem harder to think of ideas and to let the writing flow. I try not to get wound up about it and just start writing. Even if this turns out to be a complete load of rubbish, I can always go back and amend the earlier stuff.
5. Have things to look forward to. Even if it’s a takeaway, or seeing some friends, I find this helps. At breakfast this morning I was listing all the things the kids had to look forward to as well to help them ease back into the routine (“Halloween, fireworks, birthday parties, Christmas etc. etc.).
How about you? Do you dread getting back into the day to day after a break or do you love the return to a routine? How do you cope?