This year I made the promise to myself that there would be no New Years Resolutions.
Yes there are things I would like to do or change but setting myself non-essential goals at the moment is not the way to achieve anything. This is such the wrong time of year to be adding any unnecessary pressure to ourselves.
I need to lose weight, and quite a lot, there is no way of denying it. But with Christmas chocolate still in the house, a real cold snap keeping us indoors and craving comfort food, and a hugely busy time at work for both of us, with Pete having to be away a fair amount, meaning we’re relying a lot on convenience food and takeaways – it is just not going to happen at the moment So I am not going to even try, absolutely no point in setting myself up to fail and feel bad. When the spring comes and we are getting out and about, have new routines and work under control and there is more ‘nice’ fresh food in the shops, then is the time to make an effort.
Resolutions always tend to be very negative, things we don’t like about ourselves, things we wish we could change. The dark, cold days, the inevitable coughs and colds, and the unrelenting, dreariness of mundane routine are all depressing enough, without us being unnecessarily self-critical. Now is the time for recognising what we like about ourselves and nurturing it, recognising what is important to us and what we enjoy and carving out time for it. Positive goals and small steps.
I love home educating and want to continue and I know for Sam to want to continue I need to meet his social needs, something I may have failed a bit in last year. But I need to do so in a way that doesn’t stress me or it is unsustainable. So taking small steps, we have started a weekly ‘school’ where I take Sam over to work with his best friend Oscar for the day once a week. This is working really well. Both boys prefer their social contact one on one and although they have taken a few weeks to get into the idea that it is about work, we are now establishing routines that work for everyone and ticking along comfortably.
This is not enough though, although Sam seems happy enough, I feel he needs to mix with more people. But with few activities about that really suit us it is down to me to try and organise what works for us. I don’t want activities that take us out regularly too often – Sam likes plenty of time at home, enjoys his own company and we have activities of an evening which with public transport constraints means we can’t go far some days, also Sam is very bug prone – weekly activities have a tendency to become chores. So having talked to Sam I have arranged a once a term activity at a country park (little work for me – organise numbers and collect money, fairly simple) and have set in place the motions for a trial science session. Idea is run something for science week and see how much work is involved. What I have in mind is something that is easy to spread the load among several adults for, so if I can rope people in it shouldn’t all come down to me. Idea being maybe a termly/half termly session. If they work I may take on more. I would love to run a creative writing session and a book group again, but know in a way they are more hobbies for me than things for Sam, and therefore have to fit comfortably in my work load and I need to find the right venue and group of children for them to be fun rather than additional stress.
One thing I have done this year is be able to admit to myself and others that I am not superwoman. For a fair amount of last year the only thing that kept me doing Rainbows was guilt. This year for various reasons I’ve found my taste for it again, despite constant battering from HQ with it’s hoops and new computer systems making a lot of unnecessary work. But looking clearly at it I can say as much as I enjoy it, it takes up too much time and I may have to face that I need to give it up. I don’t want to give up, it is good for me and I am good at it, but having been honest to myself and others about it I have lost my guilt complex about not being able to give up. I accept now it is not down to me, there are lots of other women who could step forward and help but for various reasons choose not to. Strangely it probably means that I am more likely to still be doing it this time next year as I am doing it because I want to.
Being honest to myself about my strengths and weaknesses has definitely been good for me, for the first time in a long time I feel I have a clear idea of my priorities – family, work, rainbows, other hobbies, other home ed stuff and most importantly I am focusing on them in that order! I am not beating myself up about things I feel I should do better at, all I can do is try and I know full well that the only reason I end up doing some things is just simply no one else will so therefore however I do it will have to do. I am prepared if necessary to say no and try to give up this need to make others happy even at the cost of my own and that of those who matter most to me. I need to keep myself happy to keep the boys happy, not spend too much time on stuff that grinds me down. As ever I try and claw more time for reading, sewing and I would love to pick up knitting and crochet again and although I have a lot of demands on my time, I getting better at giving myself ‘me time’ and more importantly I am spending what time I can get on things that make me feel good rather than simply eat up chunks of time, sewing for example rather than computer games.
Life is not without stresses by any means, but it is good. January blues seem to be staying at bay this year.