Well a very Happy New Year to you all! All signs of Christmas have now been tidied away in our household, I demolished the last box of chocolates last night and I’m back at my desk today working through emails, chasing invoices and watching the rain fall from the window, so I’d say the holiday season is officially over.
It was great though wasn’t it? I really can’t complain at all – I had a good long break which involved a LOT of sofa time, movie marathons, great food and even greater people. Yesterday we got back from a few days in Scotland where we rented a cottage in a cute little village with some friends and rung in the bells, so all in all it’s been a great holiday.
But, the first few days back to reality in January are always SO tough regardless aren’t they? It’s as if the universe knows we are all feeling a little fragile and brings on grey skies, rain, train strikes and nightmare traffic just to screw with us.
This year that jolt back to reality has been even more vicious than normal for us, as as of today I’m now 33 weeks pregnant and the realisation that a baby will be in our lives not only this year, but NEXT MONTH has hit us hard the last couple of days. Christmas in many ways provided somewhat of a buffer, an event to look forward to, count down to and a time to step away from all the to-do lists to just be, which meant that we found ourselves saying things along the lines of ‘let’s not worry about that until the new year’ or ‘we’ll tackle that after Christmas’ all too often.
Well now it IS the new year, that to-do list is back in front us and we’re no longer counting down to Christmas but to mini’s arrival. Suddenly it seems as if there is a ticking clock in front of us and a long list of tasks to be completed, things to be bought, work to be finalised and preparation to be tackled. I admit to having a slight teary moment yesterday, half way through putting my Christmas jumper in the wash and taking the wreath off the door, where suddenly the magnitude of it all felt a little overwhelming.
But now that we’ve written a giant list, stuck it to the front of the fridge and already began ticking things off I am feeling a whole lot better. And the general consensus when I mentioned my feelings on Instagram yesterday was that pretty much every parent in the land has this realisation and same panic moment around about 2 months before the due date, and somehow everything comes together. Or even if it doesn’t, it’s really not the end of the world. We have lots of good people around us waiting to step in and help so I’ve no doubt we’ll get through it all and by the end of the month be feeling a lot more organised. One thing is for sure though – January is going to be a busy old month.
Normally at this point in the new year I’d write up some blogging goals for the year ahead, maybe some life ambitions too and set myself a few markers for which to try and have things completed by, but this year it just feels impossible to do so. And more importantly, I really don’t think it would be healthy to do so.
Our year ahead, right now at least, is very much unknown and other than welcoming a (hopefully healthy and happy) child into the world, we’re making very few concrete plans and putting very little pressure on ourselves to ‘achieve’ anything. And I want it to stay that way.
I joked to my friends that I only had two things on my to-do list this year;
1.To give birth to a healthy baby (obvs) and…
2.To learn how to curl the back of my hair (because seriously I never understand how people avoid straight bits when they can’t see what they’re doing? It baffles me!)
I jest with the last one of course, but in all honesty that’s it for me this year – in 7 weeks time a monumental change will be happening in our lives, one we’ll remember forever and one which will set us on a whole new course in life… and that’s really the only task/ambition/resolution we’re putting any focus on. As long as we can keep our little one as healthy and happy as is possible in their first year of life, and GB and I survive the rollercoaster in one piece, I’ll be signing out of 2017 feeling pretty smug. Anything else just feels like too much to handle.
As I scroll my Twitter feed and blog roll, I’m faced with talk of blogging goals, 2 year plans, new ventures, motivational ambitions and a whole lot of #girlbossing and new year sass. I’m loving it, and I’m thoroughly enjoying reading those posts from each and every one of you, but I also feel pretty darn out of the loop this year when it comes to taking on the world. I’d be lying if I said there isn’t part of me that is worrying I’ll get left behind. My personality is the type that is dying to make big plans and ‘do it all’, to finally get my blogging schedule on track, grow my following and take my freelance career to the next level. I’m apprehensive about taking a step away and possibly losing my edge, missing out on the next big digital platform or not being able to keep a hold of those Instagram fans who seem to be so quick to click unfollow. I keep questioning whether I too should be writing a two year plan, or making tracks to start that business venture I’ve been wavering about for a year, but for now the future is too uncertain to make it worthwhile.
For probably the first time in a decade, I’m about to take a break from work completely. Work that I love and that for the most part keeps me sane most of the time. And that’s a little scary. I’ll be officially closing the doors on my freelance work at the end of January (temporarily of course), before a couple of weeks of final admin and tying up loose ends. After which point I’m taking three full months off to think about nothing but nappy changes, sleep patterns and parenting groups and am putting no pressure on myself to do anything but that. From then it’s a bit of a grey area and to be perfectly honest I’m just going to see how it all goes but in an ideal situation I’m hoping that I can slowly introduce work back into my routine until I figure out how much is do-able. Being a freelancer, I’m not entitled to maternity leave as such but do get awarded a small amount in Maternity Allowance until I am able to begin working and earning again. It’s a tricky territory in terms of how much work I can do during this time but I’m also grateful that my position does afford me a little flexibility in how and when I launch back in (just don’t be alarmed if I end up wearing the same pair of jeans for a year because we’re so poor). I’d love to say that I’ll be able to continue to blog throughout but honestly I’m making no promises as for now it’s very unknown territory. Regardless, I can guarantee that things probably won’t be able to operate in quite the same way as they have been and I’m accepting the fact that I probably won’t be able to push myself creatively this year as much as I normally do.
Of course, ambition isn’t something you just switch off and becoming a parent isn’t going to stop me reaching for the things I want in life or continuing to push myself to try new things and take risks. Only now, it won’t just be for me but for my family too. You never know. Maybe this will be a great year career wise for me, maybe I will find the time to keep up a consistent blog schedule, to indulge my creative pursuits and maybe even begin that novel I’ve always wanted to write or create a business plan for that side venture I’ve been championing. But at the same time, I definitely don’t want to beat myself up or feel like a failure if actually none of the above happens. For a couple of years now I’ve been avoiding strict resolutions, instead just trying to come up with some general long term life goals without a strict time limit. If I’ve learned anything in the last couple of years, it’s that not everything in life can be part of a rigid plan, and more often than not, despite heroic acts of organisation, things still won’t pan out the way you imagined them to.
But that’s kind of the beauty of it all too I think.
If you’d told me this time last year that we’d have moved out of London, both had a career shift, and instead of getting set to travel the world were about to become a family of three, I’d have laughed in your face. But yet here I am, happier than ever that this is the path our lives have taken and truly excited at the unknown future that lies ahead of us.
So, I guess this post is a bit of an antithesis to the usual ‘2017 I’m coming for ya’ blogging goals and ambitions, and instead just a heads up that things might be a little more sporadic and hazy around these parts in the coming months and a plee to please bear with me as I navigate this new and exciting time in my life.
I’ve spent 8 years writing about my life on the internet and I’m so so grateful to each and every one of you who have stuck with me throughout that time, given me advice when I’ve needed it and generally lent a sympathetic ear to my inane ramblings. I have a sneaking suspicion that blogging is in fact the one pursuit that keeps me sane in life and for that reason I don’t plan on stopping it any time soon. So even if I do end up going off radar for a while come Feb/March time, be assured that I’ll be back to show off the circles under my eyes and fill you in on the joys of motherhood in due course.
There might not be website revamps or new features or any exotic travel adventures for the first half of this year, but I really do hope to keep working on this internet space in some capacity, to keep writing and photographing and to keep my baking club flourishing. And similarly I really do hope you continue to follow my adventures and musings and enjoy my words, even if they don’t come to you quite as often. I have such a lovely bunch of readers and I love hearing from you all.
Anyway soppy interlude over – blogging as normal will resume for at least the next four weeks (in between the mad rush to file a tax return and tie up all of my freelance projects before Jan 31st – eek!) and I’ve got some great content coming your way! For now, I hope you all manage to ease into 2017 without too much of a bump and this first week back to the daily grind is kind to you.
Wishing you all a wonderful year ahead!