Anyone who knows me closely knows that last year was a pretty big year for me personally. I went on a semi ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ rediscovery of myself, taking time to find out what ticked my boxes and all that jazz after becoming a Mum of 2 and a seemingly unrecognisable person. In our house it was called ‘The Year of Me.’
But do you know what I learned…drum roll please….I learned that for the most part, I just need to lighten up a little and enjoy the little things because guess what, I really love being a Mum and a Danni and we can co-exist together.
“…what can I do for me that is also for the good of my family, my husband, my kids? I’ve not quite worked out the answer fully but I’m thinking that its whatever is going to challenge me in a way that I want to be challenged, to make sure that I remember who I am and what I enjoy, aside from hot chocolate at Pittville park!”
Last year I asked myself some very big questions and expected to gain some very big answers through my little voyage of self-discovery. If I’m being completely honest, I’m probably getting there with some of the answers, but I’m definitely a lot further away from answering some of them! Here’s what I did learn…
- I don’t always have to be happy to be happy.
Life is actually pretty tiring sometimes but actually that’s ok. And some days won’t be as good as other days and guess what that’s ok too. I am very good at focusing on the negative, I always have been and probably always will be so I have started to keep a little note of some of the better things that happen each day, sometimes just mentally, to remind myself that most days are better than they seem. I started a bit of a bullet journal, and whilst I may not keep it totally up to date, it is actually great to look back and see some of the amazing things that we did last year even on the most normal of days.
2. Fill Less Time
With that in mind, I have come to the huge conclusion that we probably do too much sometimes in our house. I know a lot of you have probably been telling us that for a long time, but it turns out that my husband and I are really very good at being super busy. We are less good at having those quiet weekends and yet recently, we have started to crave them. Between now and September we only have a handful of weekends free and already that thought is quite stressful. Don’t get me wrong, we have some incredible things planned, but being so busy sometimes means that we forget to live for those slower moments – rainy afternoons watching a film with the kids, having tea parties on the living room floor, going on a gruffalo hunt in the woods. So whilst it’s not a New Year resolution, with our eldest starting school in September I am sure that we are going to try and plan less in order to do more.
3. Not moving forward isn’t always moving backwards.
Work has been a huge bone of contention for me, as I truly love what I do as a teacher. However since becoming a Mum, I have constantly felt torn between being a great teacher, and being a great Mum. I would argue that with such little ones in the house, teaching isn’t the flexible dream job that I had always thought it was and that it’s actually near on impossible to do both to the standard that I want to. I’m not saying it’s impossible for everyone; I work with some incredible Mums and Dads who are also fantastic teachers, but for me, right now something has got to give. And so this is perhaps the biggest thing that I learned last year, I am still only 29 and I don’t need to tick all the ‘life boxes’ right away. I hopefully have a very long career ahead of me in the teaching game, but right now, my kids need me more and that is ok. I am not a failure in my career for prioritising my children. After all, I still love work but I love my kids more. This is just one of the reasons that I’ll be taking a little step away from secondary teaching for a while later this year, but my goodness am I excited for the new chapter I have lined up.
Someone said to me recently about a teaching career that “if you’re not moving forwards, you’re moving backwards” and I guess I can see what they were trying to say. However I would have to politely disagree. On paper my next career move isn’t what everyone would see as a logical move forward/upward but the experience I am going to gain from it will be incredible. I am staying in education, I am staying in languages. After all, these are what I am truly passionate about but hopefully, just hopefully, I am going to remind myself how it felt to be on the other side of the classroom and the sheer amazement and curiosity I felt when I first started learning French and Russian all those years ago.
I am truly excited about this year and I can’t wait to get properly started with it all but in the meantime I’m just going to try and survive the rest of January and the upcoming snow!
A Guest Blog from Danni Blackburn
Danni is a Cheltenham based mum of one who has written before for CheltenhamMaman. She is still over on Instagram as @danstar212 and will be back blogging on Totally Mum, Totally Me soon so come and have a look at what she’s up to!