My New Year’s list for 2018:
- I will give up sugar for January.
- The kids and I will drink a green smoothie every day this year.
- I will go to the gym at least twice a week.
- I will not shout at my children.
- I will meditate more and thus become so zen I will have all the patience in the world.
- My kids will greet courgettes and kale in their meals like an old friend and not like I have prepared their dinner with a dose of the bubonic plague mixed in.
- I will have lost two stone before my 39th birthday in April.
- I will have written, and started, a list of 40 things I want to do before I am 40.
- I will get my shit together and complete the kids keepsake books for the last three years using different pens to make it look as though I was on the ball and completed it each year.
- I will take my krill oil capsules every day, even though when I burp afterwards it makes me physically gag.
- I will take my kids to clubs and after school activities that will enrich their lives even when I can’t be bothered and am too tired to keep my eyes open.
- I will go at least a month without alcohol.
- I will give up chocolate for lent.
- I will not get overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork and requests that come home from two children at school and deal with them all in a timely manner, not at the last minute.
So, this is the time of year when everyone starts making promises to themselves to be a better person, a better parent, a better human being. Every year I sit down and write a mental or physical list to somehow make me feel better about the year ahead and how (still at 38 and a half years old) unprepared for life I feel. But it soon pales into utter insignificance and ends up making me feel like a complete failure and adds to the majorly long list of things I hate about myself and adds to my already bad anxiety!
Why do I do it year in year out? Surely, by going through this stupid cycle, I set myself up for failure?
Having had an up and down 2017, I run an amazing little local business, Baby Prints Cheltenham, creating beautiful keepsakes for parents, of their children’s hands and feet. I absolutely adore it and it has kept me sane and busy in 2017 (a definite up), and also having lost one of my brothers far too soon (the biggest low), my outlook on life has changed drastically. I have come through this year realising that life is far too short to worry about whether my bum is too big (hell it always has been, I need to learn to embrace this booty), or whether the kids will eat enough spinach to rival Popeye.
If I died next week (sorry for the morbid thoughts), but what would I regret the most in my life? I can tell you it certainly won’t be that I ate nearly a whole box of Lindt Lindor’s in one sitting last week (people keep buying them for me, what can I say!) or that I didn’t go to the gym when I promised myself I would. No, I don’t want to have regrets like that, because for me, they are futile and are not what life is, or rather should, be all about.
As humans, certainly as mothers, I feel we are all too hard on ourselves sometimes. We beat ourselves up that we are not the perfect, patient, earth mothers we always thought we would be (before we knew how hard parenting actually is!). Well, life is a lot tougher than we thought it would be too sometimes and little things like to come along to ‘challenge’ us. But we can’t give in. I’ll say it again, life is too short to give in and life sucks sometimes, so let’s just be kind to ourselves hey?
Creating memories. That is what life is all about for me. The ones that are really dear to us.
I may not have my Dad, my Nana or my brother with me in life anymore, but the thing that has really got me through their passing is memories. Sometimes just the little way they would have said or done things, or a gesture that they made. Sometimes my four-year-old son, will come up with the most random and obscure memories “Mummy, do you remember the time we went round the lazy river at Wales”. It was when we went swimming when we were on holiday, a seemingly run of the mill thing to do compared with some of the other stuff we did, but something he has stored in his core memory (I know this as he asks to go back on a weekly basis!!!)
This is the main reason, that my actual list this year will realistically contain only one of the points in my list above. ‘- I will get my shit together and complete the kids keepsake books for the last three years using different pens to make it look as though I was on the ball and completed it each year.’
Now that ‘Middle-Aged Mum Memory’ seems to have kicked in, it’s so nice for me to have actual tangible things for me to look at and touch to remember times gone past. When your kids start hitting the pre-teen years at SEVEN and come downstairs with their tops tucked up to make crop tops, you quickly forget how tiny, innocent and utterly reliant on you they once were; to have imprints of their tiny hands and feet or beautiful baby pictures on the wall is such a beautiful reminder.
2017 was the year that I finally got some amazing family photos printed and put around the walls in our home, the year I updated my kids Baby Prints and took their handprints aged 3 and 6 years (after my sister first cast their teeny hands and feet at 3 weeks and 6 days respectively) and the year that I got a gorgeous book of our son’s first year pictures printed with Ella’s Books. I now have some physical reminders which bring back so many wonderful memories for me on a daily basis, because you do forget as the next stage of childhood takes centre stage.
My Baby Prints are such a wonderful reminder of how small your wee ones once were. Not so small anymore or feel like you’ve missed the boat? Don’t be silly, you are never too old for a Baby Print. Older children’s hands from toddler age have some amazing character to them and even if they are 8, 12, 16, their hands won’t ever be this small again, so it’s never too late for a Baby Print!
So, to celebrate the fact that I have taken a more positive outlook to 2018 and definitely WON’T be writing a list of unrealistic goals for the year ahead and there is also the fact that my little business officially turned one a few days ago. If you are joining me with the mantra of ‘let’s all stop being hard on ourselves and just get through 2018 however the hell we can’, be that with wine, gin, chocolate, green juice, exercise or all of the above, reward yourself with £5 off any Baby Print if you book an appointment before the end of January mentioning the code MAMAN5.
It is time we stop being so hard on ourselves as parents. So what if we give the kids fish fingers and smiley faces for tea for a second day in a row, we are doing the best we can and focusing on creating the bigger memories, ones which will be remembered long after we have gone.
A Guest Blog from Victoria Seyforth
Victoria is a busy Cheltenham mum of two small people (7 going on 17 and 4 going on 14) who runs Baby Prints Cheltenham, a local company taking imprints of babies’ and children’s hands and feet. She has just invested in a vintage Mastermind game and Fuzzy Felt (from the 1970’s) off eBay in order to relive her youth and try to prove to her kids that childhood before the internet was fun. She feels she may be losing this argument. You can learn more about her or keep up to date with the exciting work she does on Instagram or follow Baby Prints on Facebook as she’d like that very much and all the likes and follows help small, local, independent businesses more than you know!
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