I am finding my Bullet Journal very helpful in making my days at home feel more purposeful and less aimless. I haven’t yet worked it into my school life as the days go by too quickly and a simple to-do list on my laptop or my to-do list pad seems to work well enough. My BuJo is more of a reflective and fun medium that doesn’t fit in the hectic school day. It doesn’t help that I don’t have a proper space to work – I don’t have my own classroom and the English department office is, let’s say, somewhat chaotic. I need to carve myself a bit of space in there.
When I was really struggling with Austin and wondering why it seemed so much harder than last time (apart from the obvious things like me being older, Austin not being Evelina etc.), I realised that what was making it hard was not being in a routine. I was feeding him every two hours, on demand like I had been told. It took me months to remember that routine makes life so much easier (for me at least – not for everyone).
I am taking advantage of a rare bit of time without the children to do some of the many things that I have had to put on the back burner since having Austin. I am writing so infrequently here, I wanted to take a look at the blog and decide how I wanted to proceed: delete it? Archive it? Revamp? None of these seemed appealing to me (although I can’t promise I won’t update the banner, a new theme is not necessary).
For someone who is usually only too happy to share her thoughts and feelings, it always catches me off-guard when I realise I have been bottling things up. I can always tell when I am feeling stressed because it shows in my face. Not in my expression. In my actual face. For a few days now, I’ve been plagued with itchy eyes (rampant hay fever I think) which has made the skin around my eye red and inflamed. I have eczema around my mouth and a nasty cold sore has just cleared up (I managed to ward off two other cold sore attempts with Zovirax).
I haven’t had a proper think about New Year’s Resolutions yet. I might. But I haven’t yet. They seem to follow the same tune each year so it seems somewhat pointless to rehash the same old wistful optimism that This Year will the year where I eat better, read more, write more, watch less TV and generally make better use of Time.
This year, though, I have an imminent arrival of a new human to care for and as such, I do not feel inclined to load myself with the usual expectations. This doesn’t stop me from wanting to do things differently; I just am not sure I am ready to commit those wants to the screen.
I have decided what my Word will be for 2016. Last year, I wanted to be Positive, the year before, Tough. This year, I will focus on the word Nurture. This will apply to our new baby, our daughter, my husband, my parents, all my other relationships and, not to be forgotten, myself. I am only a good mother if I remember to take care of myself too.
One of the best things about blogging, which I hadn’t realised I’d been missing until I started up again this year, is that it gives me time to reflect properly on what is happening around me. The fog of teaching often means that you are too tired or busy to be properly present in your life and I am so looking forward to rediscovering what it is like to live in a more simple, intentional way. I don’t even care how ridiculous that sounds! I will be able to make this blog be part of my nurturing as I take time to just think.
Being without a fixed abode for a few months and two moves in six months can lead to a feeling of chaos and panic when it comes to our home affairs. Add to that losing our case of personal documents (car records, birth certificates, passports – everything), it’s safe to say that I am looking forward to having some time next week to wrestle our paperwork back into shape.
To help with our handling of paperwork going forward, we are setting up a home management station in the kitchen and I am loving the post filing system in our new bookcase. The chalkboard labels, the cute baskets and the simplicity of the system all make me very happy.
I am exactly a month late with this as my birthday was a month ago today but my 38 Things list is now done with a few things already crossed off (I do like to make a list with some already completed items on there).
I hope I can get through it all this year. I will keep you posted!
Despite the fact that I rarely update it, I love the theme of my Raising Evelina blog so much that I have decided to bite the bullet and use it over here too. I was wavering because of the lack of sidebar (and I do love a sidebar) but I figured the large majority of people who read this (which is basically me and occasionally my mum) don’t probably use my sidebar anyway. This is pretty and clear and simple and uncluttered. And so pretty. Oh, I said that already.
I don’t generally think of myself as an unhappy person. I have a wonderful family, a great (if demanding) job and a lot of superb friends. Yet I was still intrigued by the #100HappyDays challenge that I had heard of – a colleague was doing it in order to focus on the positive things about our job as she was feeling somewhat disillusioned beneath the weight of the administrative duties of her new middle-manager role. The #100HappyDays website answered the question ‘why would I try’ by saying that people who have successfully completed the challenge claim to:
– Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
– Be in a better mood every day;
– Start receiving more compliments from other people;
– Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
– Become more optimistic;
– Fall in love during the challenge.
I am far too new at this teaching lark to be disillusioned but I already know the constant feeling of not being quite good enough, not being quite on top of things and the constant fear of letting the kids down. At the beginning of the year, I chose ‘positive’ to be my word for 2014 and right now, deep into the Spring Term with the clock ticking on my underachieving year 11s, I am struggling to keep that word at the forefront of my mind. Whilst my fundamental happiness may be intact, my day-to-day mood is less ‘happy’ or ‘positive’ and more ‘panicked’ and ‘exhausted’.
Enter #100HappyDays. I am doing this challenge to remind myself what a special career I have. I am doing it so I don’t lose sight of my priorities. I am doing it so that I can allow myself to focus, if only for a few moments a day, on myself instead of all the other people (big and small) in my life who I want to care for. My first two entries have involved TV and bacon which I would say is fairly representative of what makes me feel good. I wonder what the next 98 days will involve. I will be posting mainly on Instagram if you want to follow.
While I was on maternity leave and then working part time, I was drawn towards simple living and embraced the idea of paring everything down. I made my simple goals and as a family, we made decisions about our spending, our ambitions and our way of life which centred around intentional living and which moved away from stuff. Stuff has a way of getting in the way. Stuff weighs you down. Stuff is why we are not where we would like to be, financially and aesthetically.
Since then, I left my job to retrain as a teacher and spent a year unpaid but working full time. I am now working as a teacher and though I am now being paid, we are still paying for last year. I no longer have the luxury of time to dwell on a simple life and yet it is as important that we keep things simple now more than ever.
I am not sure how this is going to manifest this year but I do know that we want to avoid those impulses that lead us to making unnecessary purchases, to be thankful for what we have and not to yearn for more than we need.