There have been a few changes around here recently. At the end of a really hectic & at times hard couple of months I stopped & assessed what was important to me. I went back to work in December 2013 when Niamh was a mere 6 weeks old. It wasn't always easy, but I was happy to retain that little bit of time & space away from family life; however as Niamh has grown life has become more demanding. Family life and work life both seemed to become more demanding at the same time. Newborn babies are easy....they are happy to sleep snuggled in a sling for much of the day as long as you feed them & change their nappy at regular intervals. I took this for granted & thought I'd nailed this work/life balance! I could work/knit/clean/cook/play with Henry all whilst carrying a tiny Niamh around. However this obviously doesn't last....babies get mobile, babies start to eat food (make mess!), babies start to have tantrums when you won't give them whatever you have in your hand to play with (phone, keys, laptop, knife!!). Niamh suddenly wanted to be involved in everything & she hates napping in the day meaning that achieving much more than looking after both the children became somewhat impossible.
Gone were the days of keeping on top of things. I couldn't keep up with emails, lesson planning & pattern writing, but more importantly I couldn't keep up with looking after myself. I piled huge amounts of pressure on to myself to be the perfect mama, homemaker, teacher & business owner and by trying to do too much I burnt out. I started June off feeling incredibly low and with no energy; I was ready to give up trying. But then I remembered that just isn't my style! Yes things had gotten on top of me a bit, but I have 2 children under 4! I can't expect to carry on working the same way I did before Niamh arrived. So I gave myself a good talking to & decided that instead of moping around I would take control!
So you may or may not have noticed that I haven't put up any new class date on my website. That is because I am taking the summer holidays off. I'll still be teaching my regular private tuition students, but the rest of the time will be used to catch up on my paperwork, finish putting together my new Knitting & crochet kits and setting everything up for my new Autumn classes that will restart at the end of August. The summer holidays are always a quieter time for my classes anyway so it's the perfect time to take a break. I'm really excited to finalise all the new class details & get my kits finished...especially as it will all be launched at the beginning of autumn which is without a doubt my favourite time of year! The new dates will all be up on the website soon so keep your eyes peeled. Allowing myself a bit of time off to catch up on my work to-do list, and actually give myself time to finish the 10 knitting projects i have on the go has stopped it feeling like such an effort & re-energised my excitement for what I do!
Taking time out also means that I can focus more on the children, especially as Henry will be on summer holidays from pre-school. I try to get out & do as much as I can with them, but I have to admit that whilst I was feeling low I just couldn't find the energy to leave the house much. 2 active children were too much of a challenge for my this exhausted mama, but we all go stir crazy with cabin fever when we stay at home...vicious circle huh!?! So no more hiding away at home, we're happily now taking over Bristol together again one outing at a time!
I'm also planning Niamh's christening which is happening early in August. We are throwing a big party with all of our family & friends many of whom we haven't seen much of since Niamh was born as we have been working so much. It's a nice excuse to get everybody together. However I was dreading seeing everybody a little bit too as I have really struggled to shift my baby weight this time around & didn't relish the thought of standing in front of everybody in all my chubby glory.
Being so busy lately has meant that whilst I'm always good at preparing a healthy dinner & make Lunch for the children; during the day I have been relying on quick & easy food that I can eat on the move. This has mainly been bread, bread & more bread followed by cake.....apparently bread & cake make you fat?! Who knew?! The result has been that I'm always exhausted, sluggish & unhappy with my body. So whilst I was getting everything in order it only made sense to attack my diet at the same time.
I have always been really anti-diets & thought that weight watchers & slimming world were just too mumsy & not for me. But my mum and one of my best friends were signing up to slimming world and I decided to join too so that I had some moral support. I figured I'd be less likely to give up if we were in it together! I went along nearly 3 weeks ago & have started doing their Green diet for vegetarians with extra allowances for the fact that I'm breastfeeding. I love it!! It's really made me stop & take note of how bad my diet was when it came to snacking & my breakfast & lunch choices. I don't like the use of artificial sweeteners that they promote as it's not that healthy & I certainly wouldn't feed them to my kids so I'm following the diet as 'clean eating' as possible. It's working & I feel great. I lost 9lbs in the first two weeks, but more importantly I don't feel sluggish anymore. The food is great for the whole family too so I'm not having to cook separate meals. Lots of people have asked for some of the recipes I've been cooking lately as part of my diet so I'll be posting some up to the blog for everybody to try! Niamh is especially fond of the grain free pancakes...in fact she prefers them to normal pancakes so I think that'll be my first recipe to share. :)
I'm really enjoying taking control of life again. I'm planning lots of exciting things, I'm cooking lots of tasty healthy meals, and I'm enjoying being with my children again. For a while everything in life just felt like an effort, something that I just had to endure until I could go to bed again. But it's amazing the difference that making a few small changes can make & how empowering taking charge of your own life really is. I know this may all sound a bit 'self help' but I'm feeling so much happier that I really want to shout about it!