So it's nearly February already! January has flown by in a haze of teething babies, illnesses & lots of work in the new year rush. I'm so grateful that I am so busy & that all of my available teaching slots are filling up so fast, but in all honesty it's taken me a little by surprise after quite a slow summer thanks to the sunshine & heat....only the most dedicated of knitters pick up their needles in 35 degree heat! Autumn then passed in blur of newborn loveliness, so when Christmas approached and my diary started to fill up with students I was really excited, but a little daunted too. After only 6 weeks It was time to kick my baby brain in to gear & get back to work!
Initially i was a little worried that i would be a bit rusty after a break, but actually it's been so much fun. It's amazing to be back teaching people something that I love & there is nothing more satisfying than seeing somebody else's skill develop under your guidance.
I know that I am so fortunate that I can plan my work around my family's needs, but I'm going to be honest, this month has been incredibly hard! We've all been ill at some point so we're all a bit grouchy. On top of that Niamh isn't sleeping & is very unhappy as she is cutting 2 teeth (at only 13 weeks old like her big brother.) All this means that mothering has been a demanding 24/7 job with no breaks & lots of cuddles administered to both little ones. Coping with the extra demands from the children on top of being busy with work and feeling poorly myself has had me tears more than once. Don't get me wrong I adore having cuddles with the children (in fact I've been told on numerous occasions that I cuddle my babies too much & should let them cry more. Advice I ignore with a smile I might add) but when I go for days unable to do anything else it can all get a bit much. Very little has been achieved apart from caring for 2 unhappy little ones. Normally this would be fine, but after teaching over the weekends & a fully booked classes to run most weeks I haveI started to feel like I am drowning under a never ending list of responsibilities & struggling to find the time to do any of them properly.
When I am calm & rational (not an easy state of mind to achieve when you are completely exhausted) I know that it is a temporary situation & that the effort is totally worth it. I have to stop somedays when I am surrounded by crying children trying to plan lessons & remind myself that I adore my job & the time away from the children to teach gives me much needed adult only time. Also I can't imagine many employers would let me work in 2.5 hour shifts so that I could be home in time to breastfeed & cuddle my baby.
So as you can imagine, since Niamh arrived I find it nearly impossible to find time to do something for myself or with Ken. Between housework, children, breastfeeding & work I'm lucky if I remember to brush my hair! So I have decided to make a few late New Years resolutions to help restore a little balance to my life and remind myself to slow down & look after myself a bit more.. They're all quite small, but I think they'll make a big difference:
1: Make 30 minutes a day to either knit, crochet or read! I teach knitting & crochet as a job, but lately I don't always have the time just to make something purely for fun. So I want to make sure that this is a priority. I find knitting & crochet so relaxing & it's such a huge part of who I am that pushing it to the side lines only makes me grumpy & stressed. I've started a few projects that can be worked on with a sleeping baby lying on me so here's hoping I get to finish them before 2015! Also I was given some amazing new craft books for Christmas & have treated myself to some new yarns lately so I'm really not short on inspiration!
2: To get out on a family adventure together at least once a month. When you are both working it can be so easy to lose your weekends doing household chores & feeling exhausted. But getting outside & doing something fun together makes the weekend really feel like a break & improves all of our moods. January has been a month of solid rain, so the majority of times that we have all made it out together have either been short lived or damp, even so they were still fun & energising! Here's hoping the rain eases up soon though because I think it's safe to say we could all use a little bit of sunshine in our lives!
3: To make time to be alone as a couple with Ken. I'll aim for once a month, but the reality will more than likely be once every 3 months! Very often we are like ships passing in the night as Ken arrives home from work & after a brief handover discussion i am then out of the door on my way to work. Some days it feels like we barely see each other let alone have a decent conversation. It's a rule in our house that if possible we eat dinner together....but lately that involves one of us holding a baby whilst the other eats their food as quickly as possible! The dream is to have a meal alone together where we don't have to eat in 5 minutes flat or listen to a toddler asking for ice-cream instead of his dinner constantly. ;) I know we dream big right?!
4: To spend more time cooking! Whilst pregnant I obsessively batch cooked every weekend so that our freezer was full of homemade, nutritional meals to see us through our first few weeks as a family of 4. As a result we spent a long time eating the same few meals as it was quick & easy. Then Christmas happened & our diet consisted of lots of chocolate, cakes & various nuts & cheeses. Not all that healthy or inspiring. So to give me the energy to get through these long days/nights lately i have decided I need to shake it up in the kitchen. The aim of the game is tasty, nutrition packed & thrifty meals. I've started this already & it's going well so far. We're trying new meals, planning ahead & avoiding the lure of the junk food. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to heathy dinner & lunch ideas that has provided many of the ideas for the meals we have tried over the past few weeks. What did we do before Pinterest?
5. To wear more red lipstick! Even when you feel exhausted & have baby sick on your shoulder putting on some red lipstick makes you feel 10 times better right?!
I hope this doesn't sound like I'm not enjoying my time as a mother or my work, I really do, I just really believe that doing a few small things for yourself can make you better in all other aspects of your life. I'm looking forward to learning to take a break so that I feel refreshed when I return to tackle my ever growing list of things to do!
How do other working parents with little children find the time to do anything else? I'd love to hear your advice & tips!