As I write this and look outside, it is grey. Fifty shades of drizzle, fog, damp and brisk cold. Our plumber Keith (the elusive Keith!) was supposed to pop round three days ago as our heating is playing games but ‘Didn’t check his phone, babe’ so our house has a slight edge… the kind of cold you get when you play sport (this is a long time ago btw!) and don’t get in a hot shower within 30 seconds and I am never far from my hot water bottle.
We love an end of year check in in this house. Nothing formal; often with wine, some dregs of Christmas food and oodles of paper and pens. When we spent time mapping out what 2017 was going to look like for us as a family, many of the goals were work focused. What we wanted to build, earn, create and how we were going to make it a reality.
But then I knew I needed to add some fun, family elements in. My partner and I are both freelance so we can get caught up in the see saw of one of us working and the other is taking care of our 15 month old and running the house.
As a parent I still cannot believe how often the washing machine is on, how dirty dishes magically appear just as you have emptied the sink and how there is always something to do. Oh and the wiping. Never have I wiped so much; hands, faces, surfaces, floors and a bottom! It is easy to get stuck in the mundanity of ‘normal life’ and slightly dread unnecessary trips outside because you know it will take you approximately 11 hours to leave the house.
So I have made it my mission to do something different to break the cycle (It’s a wipe out!). Even if I don’t feel like it. Even if I am tired. Or it is cold. Or if it feels like hard work. I need to take the plunge.
Here is the list so far:
- In the kitchen. I love to cook. I love to eat. I have so many cookery books that I probably could make a weird, scary statue that would be twice my height. I am going to get them down from the shelf. I am going to pick something different and I am going to make it. My flavours would be marked higher than my presentation, but if in doubt, get the coriander out (always do and not afraid of an artistic sprinkling!)
- Move more. Now I am feeling like my body could once again be strong and fit post baby I am making more effort with exercise… i.e not just talking about it and buying yet more sports wear because I like the pattern on the leggings. But doing it. Even when I simply walk, I get the good endorphins in my body. I suddenly get a burst of ideas that I wouldn’t get at my desk. Solutions pop into my head out of nowhere to the confusion I have been struggling to figure out. Plus I have made a commitment to hot yoga at least 3 times per week. Smugly I can now do one pose I couldn’t do before I had a baby…massive win. Obviously had to keep my ego in check (! …it is a community spirit after all) but did a mini celebratory fist pump and then overbalanced and landed in a sweaty heap (it was the crow, incase you were wondering!). I have also promised myself to get there early so I have a good choice of mat. No one needs to be next to someone in a jumpsuit.
- Ask better questions. We all get into funks in our life, career and relationships (especially in a sleep deprived relationship, some days you just gormlessly half smile at each other). Sometimes when I am overwhelmed and busy, I get stuck. I focus on the silly details and not the big picture. This year I am going to try and figure it out quicker. Instead of just noting ‘I feel like I have so much to do today’ I am going to say something like ‘Ok, what are my 3 top priorities that I am going to focus on today’ Already I feel proactive, in control and efficient.
- Clothing. I stopped breastfeeding at the end of last year and I have been relishing in the process of switching up my own wardrobe. I have done myself the pleasure of chucking out any borderline vest tops and maternity bras that I have been through a milk car wash (sorry, a little TMI!). I figured if I have another baby, I will give myself the treat of buying a fresh batch, I reckon I deserve it!
- Finally seeking daily inspiration. My instagram feed is jam packed full of ideas, creative projects, collaborations and inspiring, sharp women doing brilliant things. Plus as many of my insta crushes are lovely in real life and only to happy to candidly share their strategies, they have the ability to make you think you could do it. You Tube is the one stop shop to excellent information and also I am fastly becoming a podcast addict. Before I had a baby I was always determined to spend time figuring it out and in the end feel satisfied that I finally reached the answer. These days, I am more than happy to speed up the process by asking someone who has done it or seeking out the advice of those I trust or admire whether or not I know them in person. I think I spend approximately 17 minutes of the day pondering over ‘What would Beyonce do in this situation?’ Usually my first response is ‘Probably give those lounging pants the heave-ho’.
So I would like to leave this challenge with you to do something different. To mix it up. To step outside the usual routine and create a new and surprising pic ‘n’ mix for yourself.
A Guest Blog from Nicky Raby
You may want to start a business, figure how a new blend of work and home or simply figure out how you can use your talents and skills to make money and still be a present parent.