I have a busy family life, wife, mother of three boys with lots of after-school activities to juggle. I work (part-time) to fit around the family and somehow the essence of me has got a bit lost. Don’t get me wrong I love it but my youngest has just started school and this has made me reflect on what I want and where I am going. I don’t have a pre-schooler to fill my days anymore, so what will I do and what will I find out about myself. I’m going to spend the next few months taking new opportunities where I come across them and just see what happens……
And so today starts the rest of my life, well not quite but nearly. I am counting down the days. Do I feel ready, calm, excited? All three or none at all? Am I looking forward to it? Yes….and no. Have I got a plan? Definitely not. So I may just sit here at the computer staring at the green door and red car of the house opposite and wonder. Where does my life journey take me next? I would love to be the sort of person who can just take off around the world with a backpack on their back, find themselves, write about it and come back sorted but I am not, I have three boys and a husband whom I love dearly and so my life is a life more (rather than less) ordinary.
I guess the real issue is that my youngest son has started school (Not just but a few months ago). I am a busy person – although I have never returned to full time paid work since I had my first boy I have served on the committees of several local charities, trained to be an antenatal teacher and taken up quite a bit of evening and weekend time with prospective parents. Great, worked wonderfully whilst my children were at home in the day, but then last spring I started to panic, my youngest boy off to school in September – what would I do with my days? The sensible person would have just waited, mindfully and see what worked out but not me. A job advert flashed across my facebook feed, well within my skill set, in school hours (mostly) in term time (mostly). I applied, I got it and now I have done with it.
The job was too much, well rather not the job but the time it took up. Boy three was still at preschool. I hadn’t given up my other work (the stuff I actually quite enjoy). The housework, washing, shopping, children, ferrying to activities still took up time, but the time wasn’t there. I kept going, boy three will start school in September, all will be well. But all that other stuff still needed to be done and actually I would quite like to fulfil my roles as wife and mother by being there completely, not just in body whilst my mind plans the logistics of the next few hours. To be present when building lego spaceships with boy three, watching boy one play some mind-numbing game on the tablet, playing cafes with boy two and to listen to my husband when he is sharing his thoughts. So to this end, I put down my phone when the boys were home (mostly), and then handed in notice on my job. Five weeks later I have two more days to go.
I am a little embarrassed by this whole state of affairs. I have friends who also have three children, working partners who often travel, have worked part time throughout the lifespan of their children and seem to manage to carry off everything they need to (plus renovate a house or two) without batting an eyelid – their houses look immaculate (mine is always on the messy side of tidy). AND…..they don’t even have a cleaner I do and have done since I was pregnant with boy 2).
So where does this leave me and where shall I go next? I have ideas but no plans. I need to take a few weeks (probably it should be months but not sure I will be able to hold out that long) to be present in my life, reflect and spend time thinking about which path my future will take. It needs to be a good one and I have the luxury to be in control and choose.
Ok, so now I have ditched some of the part-time work that I was doing what is next? Slightly panicked about the prospect of some long empty days – I don’t like to do nothing so I thought I’d put together a to-do list! Lists are brilliant, they make you feel busy and like you are achieving something as you cross off the items one by one (all except those things you don’t really want to do – which have to make themselves part of the next list and then the next and never really get done). I’ll admit it I am just ever-so-slightly addicted to lists! So here is the to do list for the rest of my life (in no particular order)!!
- Get the bathroooms done – these are all desperate for a refurb. Grotsy flooring, stained grout, leaky taps. I want beautiful spa like decadence – not wee stains round to bottom of the loo where a succession of small boys (both mine and the previous owners’) have missed the toilet.
- Do a Creative Writing course this is in order to fulfil a lifelong ambition (along with everyone else) to….
- Write a Book! Fiction – about anything, genre tbc.
- Do some form of exercise – for obvious health benefits.
- Do the Garden – I’d like somewhere pretty to enjoy a cup of tea, G and T or glass of wine, chat to my husband or friends and enjoy being outside (rather than the muddy grass under the climbing frame and around the football goal with the overgrown beaten up shrubs surrounding it).
- Upcycle my kitchen chairs – lots of people do it – what could possibly go wrong?!?
- Reduce the amount of time I spend faffing around on social media for absolutely no purpose other than nosiness.
- Grow my business – so I do hypnobirthing and antenatal classes but I am not good at business promotion etc. I have a list of ideas around this (but guess what? they always make it onto the next list!)
- Be more organised – actually plan what I might buy at the shops, cook for tea etc etc and reduce the number of ‘Ready Steady Cook’ meals we have….you know the sort – this is what’s in the fridge/ freezer/ cupboard lets make it into a meal to eat in twenty minutes between the children’s clubs.
- Bake my own bread – I used to love doing this but got used to having no time to do it – now I have the time to start again!
- Finish my knitting project – on a complete whim last November walking past a knitting shop I decided it would be a great to resurrect this skill (I use the word loosely as I hadn’t knitted anything since primary school) so now I need to finish it!
And for now that’s it – although I may well come back and add items as I feel inspired!