I think we can all agree that 2020 was a very unusual, unpredictable and straight up uncanny year and with so much uncertainty still hanging in the balance, for me it was a no-brainer that I would be giving any New Year’s Resolutions a miss going into 2021.
In fairness, even in an ‘ordinary’ year I’m not really one to commit to resolutions. Personally, I feel it can be a little bit clichéd and excessive to devise a list of tasks to stick stringently to for the next 365 days and then beat myself up if a few months down the line; unforeseen circumstances have meant that I haven’t even started on task number one.
Let’s face it, life is full of unpredictable twists and turns — we can thank 2020 for teaching us that above all else, so I don’t feel that at the beginning of a year that is yet to reveal itself to us, it is very realistic to dedicate myself to things that may become redundant in a few months’ time. But hey, that’s just me.
That said, I do love a new beginning as I feel it symbolises a new chapter and a new opportunity to reassess and reorganise priorities and get my affairs back in order. For example, if there is something specific I’ve been meaning to sort out that has continually been put off, or been pushed to the back of my mind, then for me a new beginning is the perfect opportunity to dust things down and finish what I’ve started (or in some cases actually start something in the first place — eek).
Whilst I do think it’s a tad extra to reel off an exhaustive list of objectives, I am a firm believer in writing lists in general. I find it very useful to write out a list illustrating my intentions on both a major and minor scale. Whether this is in relation to something as simple as a shopping list, or things I would like to get done during an average week — you’ve caught me, I’m a list girl!
A few days ago, during a rare moment when I actually had the time to gather my thoughts (my ‘tiny tearaway’ was out for the night); not for the first time, I was reflecting on all of the things that I have to be grateful for in my life. A beautiful son, a loving partner, great family and friends to name but a few — what a fantastic life I have. That’s when it occurred to me: “wouldn’t it be amazing if I just enjoyed it?”
More often than not, I feel like human instinct causes us to question everything. Many of us struggle to maintain the mindset of simply living in the moment and remaining grateful for the blessings in our lives. We always pine longingly after what we do not have, forever looking on at others with an envious gaze.
What if we stopped doing that?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s essential in life to set ourselves goals and not become too complacent or monotonous, however there is a massive difference between doing this and taking our blessings for granted with the misguided mentality that the grass is always greener.
What if we all stopped worrying about what we don’t yet have or what other people are doing and appreciated how blessed we may already be? Why don’t we all stop fretting over those small and insignificant everyday inconveniences?
Realistically, life isn’t always going to be smooth-sailing and there will undoubtedly be many hiccups along the road. However, many of us need to make more of a conscious effort to regulate our emotions and rather than letting every little thing have the power to negatively impact our mood, ask ourselves “is it really that deep?”
Furthermore, life shouldn’t be lived wishing away today in favour of a better tomorrow because we don’t feel things are where we would like them to be. Before we know it, we will be old and grey looking back wistfully on what could have been an amazing life had we not been too stressed and too blinded by self-deception to fully appreciate it.
If nothing else, in 2021 we should all vow to use the one common lesson learned in 2020: to be more appreciative and mindful of how precious and short life can be.
On that note, I’m coming into 2021 with the intention of being more present in the moment and fully enjoying the amazing life that I have. Of course, I will always strive to better myself, however I will take each day as it comes as won’t write myself off as inadequate if things don’t always go to plan and I will do my best not to dwell over things beyond my control.
For me this week has been anything but easygoing! I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as a bad week, but it definitely hasn’t been fun. With a teething and under the weather 16 month old on my hands — think tantrums, mood swings and sleepless nights!
Of course, I know it’s all part and parcel of parenthood. However, it can be particularly irritating when parentless friends and relatives coo and gush over how ‘cute’ your little bundle of joy is, feeling so sorry for your child on the rare occasion they’re left to have their little temper tantrum because having pandered to said child’s every need/want all day up until that point, with little reward there’s nothing else to do at this point.
Especially if we wish to cling to even a shred of our sanity. Besides, a little self soothing never hurt anybody. Plus, little do these child-free sympathisers know the various physical and emotional assaults we parents face on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis. It’s not heartlessness we promise, just an inbuilt resilience to protect us from their tricks, you’ll thank us later when they’ve grown up notably less cute and we haven’t raised a hoard of spoilt and sickly, master-manipulators.
Can you tell I’ve had a rocky week? 😂
Moving back onto my original purpose for posting, as the year draws to a close it naturally causes people to begin to reflect. It goes without saying that 2020 has been a hellish year for us all and a massive adjustment from the way of living we are all used to. Not to mention how we’ve been pulled from pillar to post and left bewildered as to whether we are coming or going!
Likewise, with Christmas in tasting distance (nom nom nom) and the way in which many of us will be ‘celebrating the festivities’ this year in stark contrast to previous years; it is completely understandable that most, if not all of us will be feeling sad, weary and down in the dumps (who remembers that classic hymn from primary school? #ifyouknowyouknow 👀).
All jokes aside, it is very easy to welcome the negative thoughts trying to sneak slyly into our minds with open arms as we admit defeat, as for many of us in the UK our government cancelling Christmas was the straw that broke the camels back!
But how about this? Let’s consider the fact that we are not actually camels. Furthermore, unlike the camel in the analogy used above most of our backs are not broken and are in full functioning order. So how about instead of wallowing and declaring we have “nothing left to live for” or something equally dramatic, we show some gratitude? Maybe even get up and do a little dance (optional) and reflect on everything that many of us still have to be positive about and thankful for.
Many of us still have: a place to call home, a loving family and friends, food on the table, love in our lives and in our hearts and really what else actually matters?
During the more challenging moments I have faced this week with my son being unwell, I’ve found myself throwing a little pity party of one because my partner wasn’t able to get any time off before Christmas so I haven’t had much of a break most days. But then I had to get myself in check and remind myself that especially during the current climate, we are lucky he still has a job at all.
My point is, it’s so easy for us to get caught up in our daily ‘trials and tribulations’ and convince ourselves that we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. Of course, this doesn’t make us terrible or even ungrateful people because we are only human and everyone’s threshold and difficulty levels will be different. But it’s worth considering that nobody’s lives are perfect and we all have things we wish we didn’t have to deal with or things we would like to change. Obviously it’s much easier said than done when we are faced with challenging situations.
However, if this year has made me realise anything it’s that I have a lot of things to be grateful for and although I really cringe at the saying; there are many people a lot worse off than I am, so we all have to keep pushing through!
Somewhere along the lines, I feel I lost my way as a writer and some of the elements of my writing I used to take particular pride in e.g. spontaneity and personality seem to be missing at times too.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a self-deprecating post — definitely not my style. I’m also not going to delve into anything too heavy either. But I’ve let myself forget one of the things I love most about writing; when you write the world is literally your oyster. It’s not always about writing to motivate or inspire others, or because you think you have all of the answers.
At times, I’ve found myself on the verge of writers’ block, or not writing as frequently as I would like due to an irrational fear that I had nothing ‘interesting’ or ‘important’ enough to say and therefore people won’t want to hear from me until something ‘fascinating’ comes up. But then I remembered, as appreciative as I always am to even have one reader, I started writing as an outlet for myself; so by that logic anything I am compelled to write about is worth putting out there, even if it’s just to feel a sense of accomplishment within myself and no one ends up reading it at all.
So here I am, meme-free and utterly me — writing simply for the love of it. Moving forward, I want to be able to share more of my fleeting and random thoughts as well as the more meaningful ones.
On the note of randomness, has anyone else been experiencing some wacky dreams lately, or is it just me? To elaborate, as is often the case with dreams, there is generally a small window in which you are able to piece the narrative together. Sometimes even within mere minutes of waking up the seemingly unforgettable images that plagued your unconscious mind have vanished without a trace.
Luckily, this is not the case with one bizarrely comical dream that has featured this week. A few days ago now, I dreamt that my neighbour had a bulldozer operating autonomously outside of her house. For some inexplicable reason, I was certain that this bulldozer was specifically set up to swing against her front windows and that my home was not the desired target. Despite this fact, because I live in a maisonette every time the bulldozer made contact with my neighbours part of the building my whole flat shook as though a mini earthquake had hit! This in turn caused me to wail in horror, petrified that our house was going to be demolished, tragically leaving our lifeless corpses in its wake.
With an immediacy that could only ever occur within your wildest imaginings; out of completely nowhere, the bulldozer morphed into a Tyrannosaurus Rex 🦖 who became hell-bent on targeting my front window now instead of my apparently unseasoned neighbours and began to let out its signature spine-chilling roar every time it shoved its hideous head in front of my window!
Understandably I began to screech in fright (yet again) trying to awaken my partner to tell him we were in grave danger, but unfortunately the odds were stacked against me as I was experiencing sleep paralysis. My limbs slumped mockingly on the bed as if they were tied to lead balloons making it painfully clear that any attempt to move them was in vain. When my partner finally came around, he was aggravatingly and more-so puzzlingly unfazed and sleepily rolled back over with a non-committal assurance that there was ‘no need to worry’.
That’s all I remember before waking up.
Isn’t it strange how realistic dreams can feel whilst we’re still in the midst of all of the mayhem? Especially when we are playing the role of ourselves and the setting is our everyday environment!
The following day (in the real world), first thing in the morning, I made a point to reassure my partner of my well-being and that he need not worry about any cries for help he may have heard in the night, only to be greeted by a dumbfounded expression and confirmation that there were in fact no screams to be heard. At this point, I truly felt like I was starring in the film Inception and that I was in a dream within a dream and struggling to decipher whether I was even back in reality or still sleeping.
Maybe even as I write this post I am still dreaming….what a spooky thought 👻 💭
It’s worth reminding ourselves that sometimes there isn’t always a deeper reason or explanation behind something. More often than not, a dream really is just a dream. Likewise, it’s absolutely fine to do something sheerly because it makes us happy and we enjoy doing it.
I’ve been trying to put finger to keyboard to come up with something inspirational to say for weeks now, but understandably I’ve been feeling rather uninspired. My wavering motivation to write has been so terrible, I’ve literally been sitting on this blog post for almost a month now — 😧!
Surely I’m not alone in my view that lockdown 2.0 was inevitable. What did anybody expect to happen with the government pulling us this way and that, enticing everyone outside with ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ deals and reopening non-essential shops, although this second coming of the lockdown life was purported to be ‘inescapable’ from before the first lockdown had even come to an end?
Putting all of that to one side, regardless as to whether we did or did not see this coming, or our conspiracy theories on what we believe is going on behind the scenes — it is what it is.
How long can we reasonably be expected to “stay strong” and “remain positive” when no matter what some of us do to try and push forward, it’s like anchors have been attached to both of our feet and we’re doomed to sink despite our best efforts of trying to stay afloat in amongst all of this mayhem?!
It’s safe to say that we are all starting to feel a bit mad at this point and really, who can blame us? This is insanity. Also I don’t know about you but I’m not liking the catchphrase now being coined: ‘the new normal’…
No matter what becomes of the world as we know it, or what further restrictions (if possible) they decide to impose, you will never catch me accepting this stifling and oppressive way of living as ‘normal’. Many adjectives spring to mind when I think of the current lifestyle we have all been forced to adopt, normal is definitely not one of them!
Of course, I am not deliberately trying to be pessimistic as that is never my intention and definitely not in relation to my blog posts, but in all honesty, lately I’ve been feeling like I’m running out of steam!
That said, I’m forever trying to be mindful and count my blessings and acknowledge all of the good things that I do still have in my life, despite restrictions being put on my freedom, but it’s got to the point now where something’s got to give!
The most frustrating part is, of course I don’t want to give into the negative thoughts we’re undoubtedly all battling with and I would always choose positivity and optimism above everything else, but when you are faced with down days; it’s very difficult to want to talk to other people about how you’re feeling because although we are all living through a pandemic, life still looks very different from one person to the next.
What I mean is, some people are back on furlough; some people have been made redundant; some people are still going into their place of work on a daily basis; some people are working from home. Furthermore, some people live at home with their parents, some people have children, some people live alone – the list could go on and on but by now you catch my drift.
With this in mind, if Sandra and Steve are two friends, but Steve has been made redundant and Steve now hates having to work from home, he’s hardly going to have a moan to a now jobless Sandra and rub salt into her wounds!
Of course, there’s no denying that these are unprecedented times for us all, but what’s even more difficult is how differently we have each been impacted, which in turn makes it hard to know where best to turn for moral support.
However, one thing that has helped me to stay focused on what’s important, is blocking out all of the white noise. Now more than ever, many of us may find ourselves leaning on social media as a form of escapism from the monotony we are now faced with. As a result, we are getting sidetracked with what others are doing, how much they claim to be ‘thriving’ and also how unaffected they supposedly are as a result of lockdown after lockdown.
Regardless of whether what we are seeing is true or false, it is very damaging for us to focus our energy longing to follow in the footsteps of others. It is important to stay grounded in our own realities, to not compare ourselves to other people whose situations are completely different to our own, and to not diminish our own sense of self-worth or allow our self-belief to waver because we aren’t currently able to feel at our best due to circumstances beyond our control.
On the plus side, for residents of the UK, it has now been announced that some restrictions will be lifted during the festive period (from December 23rd-27th), to allow 3 households to form a ‘bubble’ together (excluding in public places). So at least there is hope of being able to spend some quality time with loved ones for a while and having some semblance of a ‘normal’ Christmas celebration!
Lord knows it is much-needed after the year we’ve all had!
Any of my fellow naturalistas can vouch for the legitimacy of the claim that the biggest enemy of progress when it comes to Afro hair is shrinkage!
The shrinkage struggle is so real that one gif simply wasn’t enough…
On a more serious note, whilst shrinkage when it comes to Black people’s natural hair is generally a very real and widely accepted thing, we should not allow the same fate to befall upon the legacy of our ancestors and instead should take every opportunity to shout about and praise the amazing achievements of Black people (even on a ‘normal’ day and not just during Black History Month).
Lewis Howard Latimer (1848-1928).
Born to parents who had fled slavery, Latimer is considered one of the greatest Black inventors, notably due to his improvement of carbon filaments in light bulbs. He worked with Thomas Edison and Alexander Bell and secured many different patents.
Much like myself, you were probably only ever taught that the inventor of the lightbulb was Thomas Edison and led to believe that he had done this all by himself, heaven forbid with the help of a Black man!
Whilst I could sit here all day and discuss the credible achievements and ongoing greatness displayed, created and produced by Black people for eons, the above example is just a small reminder and evidence of the bias held in our history books and the way in which history is taught to us in general.
Likewise, it’s very often that upon doing research, the most available sources of information into Black History are linked to American figures and heroes and all routes seem to lead back to slavery, as if this is the only notable thing to historically impact Black people. By no means should the importance of slavery be minimised and of courseall Black people should be united but as a Black British woman; it would also be nice to be able to have a deeper insight into Black people who made a huge historical impact on Black British culture — it’s like “tell us something we don’t already know”.
So I’ve taken it upon myself to shout out some of the great Black British heroes!
Paul Stephenson 1937-present
Paul Stephenson was born in England and was the only Black child at his school. This inspired him to dedicate his life to stopping racial discrimination and uniting Black and White communities, with him going on to become Bristol’s first Black social worker. He spent his life leading important campaigns that made massive changes for Black people, and it is believed that his campaigns were instrumental in paving the way for Britain’s First Race Relations Act in 1965.
Margaret Busby – 1944 to present
In 1967, Margaret Busby co-founded the publishing company Allison & Busby and became Britain’s youngest and first Black female book publisher. Whilst the company didn’t publish work exclusively by Black writers, it was instrumental in making the names of many black writers more well-known.
Diane Abbott 1953 – present
In 1987, Diane Abbott made history by becoming the first black woman ever to be elected to Parliament. This made her part of the first group of Black and Asian people to sit in Parliament for almost a century! In addition, she started the London Schools and the Black Child programme, designed to help Black children do well in school. Abbott still serves in parliament today as one of the main Politicians in the Labour Party.
Lennox Lewis 1965 – present
Lennox Lewis is one of the most successful British sportsmen of all time and his name is known across the world! He was a professional boxer who won 41 out of his 44 professional fights, which is an amazing record by any standards!
As a Black woman I can hold my hands up and say I don’t know nearly enough about my history as I probably should, because it is sadly not easy for me to obtain the facts and information that I seek; and even from a young age the education system barely skims the surface when it comes to Black History, especially as a Black British person.
What would be amazing is if in the years, decades or even centuries to come; the next generations will no longer need to celebrate Black History Month, because there will have been a major shift in the way in which history as we know it is documented and retold.
But in the meantime I suppose one month a year is better than nothing 🤷🏽♀️ — and on that note….Happy Black History Month my brothers and sisters! ✊🏻✊🏽✊🏾 ✊🏿
How is it already September? And what a weird and wacky year it has been so far!
I feel like my ramblings must be starting to have an uncanny likeness to the sounds of a broken record just lately, however; during these unprecedented and uncertain times, my emotions have been up and down like a yo-yo.
I don’t mean to harp on, but I’m pretty confident that trying to live life through a pandemic has stirred up so many different emotions for so many people. In the last few months, I am sadly in amongst the masses of people who have recently faced redundancy. Having previously worked for a small business before going on maternity leave, in the midst of negotiating the terms of my return to work; my employer had to make my role redundant as my position was no longer feasible and unfortunately there were no other suitable roles within the company. So now like probably millions of others, it’s back to the drawing board for me.
On the flip side: whilst my partner’s employer was also reviewing redundancies within his workplace, we found out a few weeks back that he is lucky enough to be getting kept on, which provides us with some financial stability at least, for which we are extremely grateful.
It’s safe to say everyone is going through some sort of struggle at the hands of COVID. Whether they have been directly impacted (in the form of losing a loved one or contracting the virus themselves) or whether it is in a professional or psychological capacity — it’s fair to say that we are all starting to feel the strain in some way or another.
From my perspective; it’s the lack of control over what I am able to do with my life on a daily basis — evenon the most basic level that constantly has me teetering on the brink of insanity.
Being forced to spend so much time indoors with a 1-year-old can be so suffocating at times. It’s a lot easier when the weather is cooperating, but if it’s too warm or raining then you’re options are even more limited.
I hate to seem like I am complaining because I can wholeheartedly declare that motherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love my son unconditionally and love being a mother. But, whilst it’s great for us to be able to spend so much time together, the current limitations are not parent-friendly.
What do I mean by parent-friendly? Sometimes, I feel like as a parent you’re expected to be able to constantlyrun on low, or no battery whilst simultaneously maintaining the patience of a saint. It’s like forgetting to plug your phone in when you go to sleep at night and waking up surprised that the battery is now dead. Likewise, as a human-being; if you are unable to recharge your battery and get even the basic level of rest and nourishment required, then you will not be able to function, or only at a very poor level.
Flashback to pre-pandemic/lockdown life – I would be able to go out and do things with my son on a daily basis to keep him active and stimulated and help expel some of his seemingly endless supply of energy. But being stuck indoors a lot more, means that I’m having to constantly think up different ways of keeping him occupied and stimulated. Also factor in the aspect that he is now a lot more active and inquisitive as he is walking and I’m forever exhausted!
Exhaustion is one thing, but then add sleep deprivation to the list as his teething has had him waking in the night again and it’s just a recipe for emotional disaster.
It’s so bittersweet as my son is a complete and utter Mummy’s boy, which is absolutely adorable at times. But he has always been a very clingy and demanding child. Although he is much more independent than he was when he was younger and of course we encourage him to be independent and don’t always give in when he has his tantrums, but he just wants my undivided attention 24/7. I try to rationalise that he is obviously a lot more needy as he’s in a lot of pain and discomfort and he is still very much a baby, but especially in recent weeks, my patience levels have been running on empty and it makes me feel very guilty and at times just plain miserable.
What gets me through times like that is remembering he will not be so young and needy forever. At the moment, I am his entire world and that is such a privilege and a blessing. Once he grows up and gains more independence and understanding that there is more to life, off he’ll go and I will most definitely miss it. However, it’s easy to say that when things have calmed down, but harder to remember when you’ve got someone constantly whinging in your ear, unaware of when you’re having a bad day and in need of some self-care.
But that is the key to maintaining some semblance of our sanity during these abnormal and undependable times. Taking out some much needed time for ourselves. Whatever our woes may be or the testing times we may be facing in our lives. My struggle of late has been the struggle of motherhood during a pandemic, but we are all battling against something.
In addition, I truly believe the key to happiness is a positive mindset. It’s too easy to allow negativity to consume us. For example, if we have had a string of bad days and have not given ourselves some time outside of a gloomy environment to collect our thoughts, realign our minds and open ourselves back up to restoring positive energy and improving our mood, then of course we will continue to feel unhappy.
Lately, if ever l find myself feeling overwhelmed or at the end of mytether, one of the ways that I have been managing my emotions is by keeping a list of positive things I have to be grateful for in life, or things that I like about myself. That way on my toughest days, I have something uplifting to refer back to, to give me the strength to turn things around!
That said, I’m sure I’m not the only person who is trying to get scouted as the newest member of The Avengers and really thinks they can take on the world some days! I cannot stress the importance of always setting aside some time out to allow yourself to relax.
Whether that means taking an hour to have a nice relaxing pamper session, taking some time out to switch off in front of the TV with your favourite snacks and film; getting stuck into a good book, or on a much more simple (but just as effective) level; having some quiet time alone to collect your thoughts — whatever it is that floats your boat and restores your balance.
As lonely as life can often feel, none of us are in this alone. It can be hard to reach out and sometimes it may seem difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel, but for every bad or challenging day, a great day is guaranteed to be waiting right around the corner! Although there are still limitations to what we can do socially, pick up the phone and reach out to a loved one, make some plans and give yourself something to look forward to!
Most importantly, just allow yourself to be happy!
I’m trying to set myself more realistic timeframes as to when I am able to update my blog. With COVID throwing everyone’s routines out of whack and making daily life so inconsistent, there are days when you feel as though you have so much time and energy on your hands you could take on the world (very few and far between with a Wild Thornberry’s-esque 1-year-old in tow).
However, in stark contrast there are other days when it seems as though you’re constantly running around like a headless chicken, with the day seemingly passing by in the blink of an eye!
So I’ve settled on aiming for a minimum of 1 new update a month.
I’ve also decided to make my blog posts more relevant to my day-to-day life as I muddle my way through the most amazing and equally mind-boggling journey I’ve been on to date — Motherhood!
I’ve had a hectic few weeks as it was my beautiful baby boy’s first birthday! We put some decorations up in the garden and had a small gathering with immediate family to mark the occasion. Myself and my partner both agreed to keep things more low-key for Sire’s (our sons) early years, as although we definitely wanted to do something; we also kept in mind that at this age everything is much more for us than him and if we start off too big, then we have to maintain the same energyyear after year.
Sire lived up to his namesake as he would accept nothing less than the royal treatment, loving every moment of having all eyes and attention focused on him. As young as he is you could see from the light in his big, beautiful, brown eyes that he couldn’t wait to get his hands on all of his new toys and that if nothing else; he revelled in the fact that the day was all about him.
Factor in the minor detail that Sire and his Dad are born just a day apart and it’s safe to say time has flown by these last few weeks, as the days have merged into one big blur of joyful celebration.
That brings me onto just one of the many beauties of Motherhood – there are so many firsts! First foods, first words, first steps and first birthdays. In our case all of which happened in that exact order. I don’t know if babies have a secret sixth sense that we adults aren’t privy to, but with my son, it’s almost as if he knows when he is turning a new age.
Within days of turning 6-months-old, practically out of nowhere he decided he was going to start crawling and off he went scuttling about the place like a little crab.
Fast forward to literally less than a week before his first birthday and he started running (I kid you not) across the room! In fairness, he had already started taking three wobbly steps on and off for a week prior, but he cranked things up a notch by turning into the literal embodiment of running before you can walk.
It’s such a bittersweet feeling having a 1-year-old. On one hand, I feel an overwhelming surge of prideat how beautifully my son is developing and also want to give myself and my partner a pat on the back for reaching this milestone along with him, as I reflect on how much our confidence and competence as parents has come along.
On the other hand, I want to bottle up my current feeling of blissful contentedness so that I can always remember the happiness I feel now; when Sire inevitably grows up and has to be exposed to the various different hardships and challenges of reality and I can no longer keep him protected within our little bubble.
Of course, there are many, many (MANY!) years before we have to worry about any of that, but this definitely feels like possibly the biggest milestone in my Motherhood journey so far. So naturally it’s left me feeling very reflective.
It’s made me realise that whilst Sire will forever be my baby, he isn’t actually going to be a baby forever. Which is a massive reminder of the invaluableness of each and every moment we have together right now. Probably the most important nugget of wisdom I can impart to another mother or any parent is: don’t worry about what anyone else thinks! (Of course that does not apply to your partner or your child’s other parent if you are co-parenting), but everyone else need to be swiftly placed on mute.
What we have to bear in mind is that there are so many people around us who love us and just want the best for us and our children. However, this does not always translate well and on the surface it can often come across as undermining and patronising and feels like a constant barrage of endless unsolicited advice and ill-informed judgement.
Whether it’s people comparing you to other parents they know, to what they did when they had their children, or to what healthcare professionals are currently recommending…
…in the end, you’re always left feeling unfairly judged and trying desperately to stay afloat in the murky waters of self-doubt. Just as your defences come down, in swoops the villainous viper, also known as Mum-guilt! It’s so easy to get caught up and find yourself questioning your judgement and doubting whether or not you’re making the right decisions, if you’re doing the right thing by your child, or on a more basic level, if you are doing a good job!
But remember: nobody knows what’s best for your child more than youdo (and your partner (if applicable). Go with your gut, trust your judgment and most importantly, always maintain regular communication. Tough decisions are never going to be easy, but as long as you continue to talk things out and are willing tocompromise and ultimatelydo what’s best for your family circumstances, then you can’t go wrong.
Above all else, never compare yourself or your child to someone else.Don’t ruin your Motherhood experience by getting caught up in when your child hits their milestones versus another child — this mentality can be very damaging and overshadow all of the great things your child is doing on an daily basis. Understandably, it can prove quite difficult if you spend a lot of time around other children who are a similar age to yours; and equally it can feel like dodging grenades in a war zone when filtering through the seemingly endless social media accounts run by pushy parents who live to show off their ‘golden child’ for all of the world to see. But try to block all of that out and remember that your child will do things in their own time, when they are good and ready!
Everybody’s circumstances are different and more importantly every child is unique. Just like the rest of us, children have their own personalities and preferences. They know full-well what they like and dislike, so what works for one child isn’t necessarily going to work for the next.
It’s like apples and oranges, to even compare the two is pointless as they are completely different. Likewise people’s parenting styles can differ dramatically and whilst some people choose to raise their child ‘by the book’ following all guidelines and recommendations, others prefer to do things their own way. As long as the best interests of your child is what’s driving your decision making, then there should be no judgement, as outsiders don’t know the reasoning behind the choices others make.
What all parents should be focused on is prioritising their families needs above all else, maintaining a healthy family dynamic and doing whatever is necessary to ensure their bundle of joy remains happy and healthy.
As long as we are all doing our very best then that’s all that matters. We shouldn’t allow fear of being judged or Mum-guilt to prevent us from relishing in every moment of this unrivalled and invaluable journey we have been so blessed to be able to experience.
Lately, in relation to social media, I’ve felt like a victim of relentless attacks of negativity upon negativity. At one point every time I picked up my phone to browse on social media, I came away feeling drained and deflated. To be honest, I partially blame myself for getting sucked in, as particularly before the pandemic, I was barely ever on my phone, besides using it for its basic texting and phone call purposes.
After months of being isolated, I noticed myself slipping into bad habits and only when things started taking a toll on my mental health and well-being, did I realise I needed to take a step back and remember why I never spent a lot of time on social media in the first place.
Before the lockdown, I would forever be on the go. This year I’ve been on maternity leave, so me and my Son would always be hitting up baby groups, going to classes or arranging play dates with friends. We had a great social life, but by the end of the week, I did often feel a bit burnt out.
Honestly, I have always been a stay at home person. I love being in my own space and company (and now the company of my infant-sized shadow) and have never felt the need to constantly see other people. I can always find ways to keep myself entertained, especially now I have a little person to constantly keep me on my toes. With this in mind, I haven’t struggled with being on lockdown in terms of running out of things to do.
Personally, I think in many ways being on lockdown has been a blessing in disguise for me. Of course, it also comes with a list of cons – namely: being restricted and not having the freedom to choose whether you want to stay in or go out. But in the spirit of positivity, I feel that in terms of personal growth and familial development, it has done us the world of good.
On the other hand, one of the things that nobody tells you about having a baby — especially as a woman — is that life as you know it will NEVER be the same. Yes, people are always saying ‘you’ll never get a moment’s peace again’, but on a deeper level, as a mother your life is literally turned upside down.
From the time I was pregnant my hormones were all over the place and little did I know that was only the beginning. Nothing prepares you for the out of body experience you are faced with after you deliver your baby, once all of the excitement and adrenaline settles down, when you take your baby home you feel an immense and suffocating pressure that you are now responsible for keeping this vulnerable, innocent and defenceless little ball of perfection safe and alive.
Despite having an unbelievably patient, supportive and loving partner, I found myself feeling utterly alone. I felt as if the weight of the world was on my shoulders and all of the expectation was on me to prove that I was fine and instantly ready to bounce back and straight into action. It was as if everybody was watching my every move under a microscope, judging me and waiting for me to fail. I looked for a hidden meaning in the most innocent comments, I felt as though I couldn’t turn any visitors away even though I was so weak from my labour (and you know the 9 months carrying my Son prior), I just felt like I had something to prove, to show that I was worthy and strong enough to call myself a good mother. Most of all, forever hearing that deafening voice in the back of my mind asking: ‘will I ever feel like myself again.’ I felt such an unwavering pressure to ‘be myself’ and ‘feel normal’ again.
Just over 11 months later and I am finally, truly feeling like myself again. I have always been an extremely confident person, so it was mostdifficult for me to go from being so self-assured, to being filled with so much self-doubt. But after speaking to all of the Mum’s in my life, I started to realise that everything I experienced in those early days was absolutely ‘normal’ and something that many other Mum’s have experienced too.
However, what’s disappointing is that in all of the antenatal classes and pregnancy books and even when speaking with midwives and health visitors, they deceitfully downplay and in some cases completelyomitthe whirlwind of emotions and physical exhaustion you go through for a long while after having a baby, so how are you supposed to know what ‘normal’ is? Annoyingly midwives and health visitors can also prove to be unhelpful as the advice you receive can be contradictory or they flippantly brush off many of your concerns and unless you are showing obvious signs of postnatal depression and as long as your baby is developing healthily, everything gets put down to ‘teething problems’ and although they reassure you it’s ‘normal’, it doesn’t help you feel like it.
Of course everybody’s experience is going to be different based on personal circumstances and also who they are as a person, but it would be nice to have been warned beforehand to confirm that I wasn’t in fact losing my mind, I was simply going through the motions and dealing with the aftermath of having a baby!
Now, it’s almost like I’ve been reborn as a new and improved version of myself. I realise now that I can be a Mum, but still be me – it doesn’t have to be a choice. I’m the same, but different in a good way and that’s absolutely fine, none of that wretched (but seemingly unavoidable) Mum-guilt necessary.
My partner was furloughed quite early on into the lockdown for almost 2 months, so although we have a great ethic of teamwork within my household anyway, it was an absolute godsend having everybody on the same schedule so all baby-related duties could be more evenly distributed. Although, free-time is very limited when caring for an 11 month old (especially during lockdown), in comparison to how busy my days were before, the round-the-clock assistance for that 2 months freed up my time immensely.
For a few months now, I’ve been at the stage where I’m ready to regain my fitness and regain my pre-pregnancy slimmer and more toned body. Luckily, I didn’t gain much weight whilst pregnant, but any Mum can tell you that your sense of self, particularly body-image, takes a massive dive after having a baby. Throughout the course of lockdown, one of my besties has been doing a lot of live workouts on Instagram, so that wasa great way to give me a taste for being active again.
Next, I completed a 30-day Abs & Squat Challenge, using a template sent to me by my Auntie. By that time, I was ready for something more permanent and a lifestyle change. Over the last 4-5 weeks I’ve started using the FiiT app, completing a minimum of 2 workouts a week alongside general toning exercises and it is just the thing I needed! I would highly recommend the app for anyone wanting to incorporate regular exercise into a hectic and perhaps restricted schedule. They have workouts suitable for all levels/capabilities and thereare so many different classes to choose from.
Without my partner being off of work, I wouldn’t have had the headspace or the energy to think about starting to exercise regularly again. Also, as they say, it’s always easiest to maintain something once you get into a regular routine. So that’s something positive to have come out of this pandemic for me.
Also I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times. I have found this time with my family absolutely priceless. It is absolutely beautiful to be able to have the three of us all together so often.My partner is also my best friend and although we generally get along very well anyway, we haven’t had the chance to annoy each other too much as we’ve been preoccupied aiding the development of our beautiful blessing of a Son and watching him flourish and grow before our very eyes.
Sit down, relax and grab yourself a beverage of your choosing. This is a long one and may make some people feel a bit hot under the collar, but please make yourself comfortable, we’ve got lots to discuss 👏🏾.
Unless you have had your head buried in the sand for the last few weeks, then you will have heard about the tragic events that occurred in the US when an innocent Black man named George Floyd, was brutally and unjustly murdered at the hands of a police officer.
I won’t delve too deep into the ins and outs of the aforementioned tragedy as it has been broadcasted all over the news and social media; I do not proclaim to be a news outlet and this is not the purpose of my post.
The recent occurrence of yet another act of police brutality against a Black Indigenous Person Of Colour (BIPOC) has understandably enticed an uproar within the Black community and reinvigorated the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) movement with a refreshed sense of fervour.
For those of us within the Black community, this heartless and sickening act of systemic racism is sadly nothing new. Uneducated people will argue that this was an ‘isolated incident’, people will also argue that George Floyd ‘could not have been completely innocent’, others would try and say that ‘things like this don’t happen in the UK/where I live’ – to say or even consider any of the above is completely and utterly ignorant, irrelevant and inhuman.
Systemic racism fuelled by White Supremacy runs deep in the roots of our society. Black people are continually treated unjustly and unfairly in comparison to our White counterparts. White Privilege is a real thing, whether it is something that people have ‘asked for’ or choose to acknowledge — if you are White then you have privilege, it is as simple as that. Of course this doesn’t mean that white people cannot face hardships, but this will not be as a result of the colour of their skin.
Unless you are Black, you will never understand the daily struggle of not being able to complete the simplest of tasks without being judged solely on the colour of your skin. Whether this is in the form of casual/unconscious racism, e.g. the shop assistant eyeing us suspiciously/being followed around each aisle as we complete our weekly shop in case our ‘innate kleptomania’ overcomes us, or more blatant issues such as: having to split up into groups when going out partying with (mainly Black male, but also Black female) friends, so as not to risk potentially being denied entrance to a nightclub. Because a group of Black people can never simply be considered a circle of friends but are automatically labelled as a troublemaking, threatening and intimidating ‘gang.’
Even within the workplace we cannot escape being wrongfully judged as we must regularly listen to ignorant co-workers ‘mindlessly’ making inappropriate racially charged ‘jokes’ right in front of our faces. Then we have to choose between either pulling them up on it in an attempt to correct them and educate them on their wrongdoing, to simply be greeted by more ignorance, labelled as the ‘oversensitive and angry Black person’ who ‘can’t take a joke’ and left wondering if everybody is whispering about us behind our back. Many of us are then too uncomfortable to report it to HR because an extensive history of racial bias leads us to question: ‘will I be perceived as the problem in this scenario?’. Alternatively, we find ourselves submerged in self-loathing as we suffer in silence fearing that it is too awkward to address, and allow insensitive comments to go unchecked because ‘it’s not worth the fuss’.
Racism is such a triggering topic for so many people (Black and otherwise). There is so much ambivalence surrounding the ‘correct’ way in which both victims and bystanders should be responding. Lately, I have seen far too many people taking it upon themselves to act as both judge and jury, calling out others for apparently not responding in the ‘right‘ way and more shockingly for not posting support on social media. Don’t get me wrong, initially I was side-eying my updates like ‘such and such has been awfully quiet 👀’ and wondering what their views were and where they stood.
However, people need to recognise that everybody’s journey and struggles are different, so naturally people are going to respond differently. As with anything, there will be like-minded people and those who have opposing views – but this does not mean that either one is right or wrong. As long as we are all genuinely standing for the same outcome and we are all in agreement that racism is completely and utterly wrong and needs to be stamped out once and for all, then that’s what’s important. It’s okay to be angry and passionate, but it’s counterproductive if we do not make sure that we direct these emotions in the right places and conserve our energy for the task at hand.
Furthermore, we act as if we don’t know that 90% (unconfirmed statistic) of what people post on social media is merely for clout and fake anyway! The majority of what we are seeing on our timelines is not reality. We live in an age where people strive primarily for the acceptance and approval of others, even if this is not how they present – it’s all smoke and mirrors.
With that said, social media is not the be all and end all of who stands where. We will never know who is being genuine or not, but regardless we all need allies and most importantly, it’s all contributing to the raised awareness and addressing of racism.
Really, what everybody needs to ask themselves is: what positive and lastingchanges will I implement into my every day life to ensure that I’m doingmy part to make a long-term difference? How can I further educate myself to ensure that I am not contributing towards racism. Am I truly willing to lose friends and family members over this if they do not share my views/are unwilling to educate themselves? Will I stop being a consumer of racist and oppressive brands and instead make a conscious effort to buy more ethically and from more Black owned businesses? Will I vow to never again stand by and allow racism to happen, even when it’s on a ‘smaller’ and ‘less obvious’ scale?
As someone who is of Dual Heritage (White and Black), I am proud to say I am the product of interracial love. To many people I look like a light-skinned Black person, so it is not always necessarily obvious that I am Mixed, which causes many people (Black, White and otherwise) to say ignorant things around me that they otherwise wouldn’t and definitelyshouldn’tbe saying. Whilst I would never minimise the struggles that Black people have faced and continue to face at the hands of racism, or suggest that we do not deserve to be treated abundantly better — we can all do better.
I definitely identify as a Black woman, although I am influenced by both cultures. I feel that this allows me to see things from a unique perspective and see the faults on both sides of the coin. Understandably, Black people are tired and angry but this doesn’t justify the approach some Black people have taken, calling out White people for not speaking up and suggesting that they are closeted racists — although White people have privilege, they are still human. Perhaps they may feel the need to further educate themselves behind the scenes before speaking up, for fear of saying the wrong thing and further offending Black people? That said, some Black people don’t make it easy either, as they question the genuineness of White people’s intentions and motives for speaking up, rejecting their offer of support and dismissively stating that it’s ‘Black peoples fight’. Maybe it’s a long-lived history of being scorned and oppressed at the hands of White people and they see it as defending themselves, but more ignorance will not help to overcome racism – that’s why we are where we are. Anyone who is willing to hold themselves accountable and attempt to rectify their past ignorance or silence and finally speak up, should not be dismissed for doing so. They should at least be given a fair chance to put their money where their mouth is before being written off as a poser.
Getting back to the point, my existence alone is proof that Black and White people are able to see each other as equals. My Nan is White British and my Grandad was Black Jamaican, and they came together at a time when there was a lot more adversity and disdain towards interracial love, and received a lot of hate because of it. Whilst there is no denying that sadly even in 2020 racism is still undeniably rife, we have come a long way. What people need to realise is that this is not a case of shifting the blame or Black versus White, or even Black versus the world! We must all come together and do better, and all show each other the same love and respect we would wish to receive, regardless of our race.
On a more personal note, I understand that some people have never stopped actively fighting the cause for Black lives and like many others, I am guilty of being far too passive over the years. I will continue to educate myself on my Black heritage and not just the historical or negative aspects, but the positive and current events occurring within my community. I will make a much more conscious effort to buy Black where possible and ensure I become comfortable having these uncomfortable conversions surrounding racism, whether within the workplace or my personal life.
Moreover, it’s worth bearing in mind that systemic racism has been the norm for literally centuries, so whilst I think it’s great that we aim for a lasting change this time and not just give admission of wrongdoing while it’s ‘trending’, for this to happen there needs to be an element of being realistic, prioritising and strategising.It’s unrealistic to expect everything to miraculously change overnight.
Black people and people of all races must continue to educate themselves and equip themselves with the tools to do better, rather than making it a case of ‘us’ against ‘them’.
I’m really trying to maintain this regular blog updating life, so before I end up falling back into my old habit of ‘not finding the time’ (although a truly legitimate claim), I thought I would make the time.
Honestly, unless you’ve had children yourself, you will never truly understand just how rushed off of your feet a 10 month old baby can have you — especially during a pandemic, with limited ways to break up your day, but we make the time for the things we love and we move 👏🏾.
Understandably, so far, the lockdown life has had its fair share of ups and downs for us all! As with anything in life, if we are being realistic, then highs and lows are inevitable. We have all been forced outside of our respective comfort zones in one way or another and our current day-to-day is likely to be looking very different to what we were previously accustomed to.
Some of us have been following government guidelines to the letter, some of us may have altered them slightly to better suit our circumstances, and some people are in full-blown gangsters paradise mode and have decided not only to do their own thing, but that it’s only right to keep all of their social media platforms updated with a play-by-play of their every treacherous move 👀.
Regardless of which of the above categories relates to you and your circumstances, I think it’s fair to say that everyone’s mental health has been through somewhat of beating – ranging from feeling like we’ve just been shoved about a bit, to some of us now feeling as though we’ve been through 12 rounds with Tyson Fury!
On the plus side, things seem to be starting to slowly move forward. I don’t want to use the term ‘back to normal’ as I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s of the mindset that normality as we know it, is no more.
It has been announced that non-essential shops are due to start reopening in the next few weeks. Also, Boris Johnson has announced that from Monday we can meet in groups of up to 6 people from different households, in outdoor settings, including private gardens (woop woop!). There have even been whispers of the phased re-opening of pub gardens in the coming weeks (oo-er).
At least that gives us all something to look forward to. Especially for those of us who have actually been keeping our distance (no shade), but we more than most, are dying to make contact with our wider social circle and remind ourselves that people do exist outside of our own four walls; and not just the people we see moving shiftily an additional 5 metres (on top of the recommended 2 metres); away from us in the park, or on our weekly trip to the supermarket for essentials 🙄😂.
On another note, one thing that has not sat well with me during this time, are the multitude of memes/quotes floating around with words to a similar effect to:
Whoever checked in on you during lockdown makes you realise who your real friends are, those who didn’t obviously don’t care.’
Various people across social media
I definitely do not agree with this sentiment. Covid-19 has turned everybody’s lives upside down and inside out, all at the same time. Nobody has known whether they are coming or going during recent months.
It is completely unfair to project our feelings of insecurity and uncertainty onto others, and either imply or assume that it is someone else’s job (from an entirely different household from you at that), to constantly check up on you to ensure that you are okay.
Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely not to say that we shouldn’t touch base with loved ones when we can. But there seems to be a common assumption amongst certain people (hopefully a minority) that they are owed special attention.
In addition, there is also the misconception that everybody is on the same page. Not to harp on with the Mum card, but I can only speak for my own circumstances. For me, despite having a great ethic of teamwork within my household and an extremely supportive partner, our days are very much occupied with our beautiful son. Therefore, flippant comments such as, ‘well since you have all of this free time now’ and ‘I’m sure you can find the time to do x, y and z’, don’t apply to us.
For parents, especially of younger children, reality is making it through each day and stealing the odd sacred moment to yourself, then being so knackered by the time your child goes to bed that there is only a limited time before you are forced do the same!
Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and lockdown for me, despite the general ups and downs we’ve all been facing, it’s been great spending time with my little family. Getting back to my original point; although I make a conscious effort to find the time to check in with friends and family and vice versa, none of us are obligated to do so.
We are all just getting by the best that we can, and just as before the Coronavirus pandemic, our daily lives all look very different. None of us truly know the impact the lockdown has had on others, so it’s not fair or productive to sit and stew in negative energy assuming that people have not reached out because they don’t care. Plus as always, maintaining relationships works both ways and for the friendships built on a strong foundation, we should know it’s all love without the need to be constantly reminded.
It’s so easy for us all to get inside of our own heads, but sometimes it’s worth taking a step back and having a breather – usually everything begins to look a lot brighter.
There is no secret recipe for eternal happiness, and whilst we are encouraged to try endless techniques that are said to improve our mindset and lift our mood — we have to be realistic and take every day as it comes. Sometimes if we’re not feeling it, it’s literally as simple as that!
On a serious note, last week was a really tough week for me emotionally. My emotions were all over the place, ranging from: uncertainty; frustration and loneliness to anger that I was even feeling any of those things in the first place — because I should have been ‘strong’ enough’ to maintain a positive mindset.
However, in reality, life is unpredictable and nothing is promised, including the way we may be feeling from one day to the next.
We are always told to ‘think positive’ and that we are the masters of the energy we emit versus the energy we attract. Although, this is largely true, above all else, we owe it to ourselves to be true to how we are feeling at any given moment in time.
If we’re not feeling great, then we shouldn’t feel pressured to fake it. It is healthier to express our emotions, than to repress them and pretend like everything is fine when it’s not.
Sometimes all we need is a little help from our friends. So, instead of trying to take on the world and breaking our backs attempting to carry it’s weight around on our shoulders – what if we swallow our pride and let go of the stigma that showing emotions makes us weak?
We should stop putting pressure on ourselves to maintain the illusion that we are happy all day every day, and whenever we’re not feeling good, we should have no qualms about reaching out to somebody we love and trust, to talk it all out.
Especially during times where we are at a physical distance, it’s so important for our mental health that we remain vocal and open about how we’re feeling, and most importantly: STAY CONNECTED!
Whilst life under lockdown definitely continues to ‘go on’, I think we can all agree that it certainly comes with its restrictions.
Although, I am the firmest believer that it’s all in the mindset and of course we must remain positive, I can’t be the only person reminiscing longingly of the life that once was.
By no means, does this make us bad people – it is simply human nature. Plus, there is a massive difference between dwelling on things that we are unable to change and sparing a few moments to reflect and appreciate the life that awaits us once we are able to click the resume button.
Also, isn’t it bizarre how we’d now give our right arm to be able to indulge in once thought of as mundane everyday things? Even something as simple as waltzing in and out of the supermarket at our own leisure suddenly seems like a godsend.
However, this doesn’t mean our ingratitude was a conscious thing. Surely no one sets out to be ungrateful, right? But as they say: ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’.
With that said, what is it that you miss the most? If there was one thing you were previously able to do freely and without question and you were given the opportunity to do it right now, what would it be?
Furthermore, what is the one thing that you can’t wait to do once life adjusts back to normality (in whatever form this may now come). Let’s face it, regardless of our current circumstances. one thing most, if not all, of us have is a lot of time on our hands.
Let’s all set aside some of that time today and let our imaginations run wild — the possibilities are endless.
I wouldn’t describe myself as superstitious, so I don’t technically believe in the old “New Years’ Resolution” tradition. I also wouldn’t describe myself as a spiritual person but I guess you could compare what I’m doing to putting my intentions/hopes and dreams for the year ahead ‘out into the universe’ and being the optimist that I always strive to be; I’m hoping for the best.
Of course, it can be incredibly stomach-churning and eye-rolling as social media is flooded with a load of spiel comparable to elected politicians competing against one another trying to give the best campaign speech — give me a break! 🙄
On the other hand, I do feel like a new year is a good way of signifying a fresh start and new beginnings. Obviously if we’re being realistic, we all know that this isn’t something that is expected to happen overnight, but rather something to aim for over the course of the new year ahead — after all 365 days is a very long time!
All of the things we’ve been putting off, meaning to get started or wanting desperately to try — the start of a new year is the perfect excuse to rescue some of these abandoned goals from the gutter and get our houses in order by moving them back to the forefront of our priorities.
After the discombobulating year we’ve all experienced, I think we can all be a lot more appreciative of the smaller things in life. For this reason I’m keeping things fairly simple and the thing I’m striving for most of all is freedom. No more lockdowns, no more social distancing, no more curfews, terms and conditions of any kind.
Understandably, many people may be fearful for some time to resume life as what we once knew to be ‘normal’ and if we’re being realistic, clearly restrictions won’t become any looser than we have already had them for a good while but hey, a girl can dream.
In the meantime, I’ll focus on my personal development. All year, I’ve been telling myself I’m going to start a podcast. Anyone who knows me knows I can talk for England, it’s sort of my thing hence the name of the blog 😂. So for me, if nothing else on my personal to-do list sees the light of day, as the bare minimum — my podcast is pending!
What’s are you hoping to achieve in the next year of your life?
Until I am a Mum myself, I will never understand how Mum’s fit everything in because I barely have time for myself now.
Hey guys 👋🏽
I was speaking with a friend the other day and we were both reflecting on how quickly the days seem to pass us by and how it feels as though there’s just not enough time in any given day to accomplish everything we feel we ‘need to do’, which led my friend to make the above statement.
Honestly, I used to have the same mindset. Before becoming a parent, from the age of 21 I was in full-time employment, working Monday to Friday. During the week, I was almost always too burnt out to do much outside of work. Obviously I did the essentials around the house but always liked to keep it chilled on weekdays, with the odd ‘dinner with the girls’ as the exception.
This meant that I would try to cram any lengthy tasks or extravagant excursions into 2 days — the weekend! It’s safe to say that this was a recipe for disaster as I’d often be getting my stuff ready for work on a Sunday night feeling run ragged and like I hadn’t given myself any time to rest. I’m all for making the most of the one life we have but the feelings of pure regret truly did begin to creep in come stupid-o’-clock on Monday morning when the mocking chime of my alarm began to sound. “Whyyyyy?!”
How funny it is now to look back on those times and think about how much energy I actually had. I would always complain of feeling tired back in those days, but it’s laughable to me now — I didn’t even know the meaning of the word.
I was getting regular periods of uninterrupted sleep for starters. In fairness I did work full-time which should not be underestimated at all as this can be extremely draining especially depending on the occupation, however once the clock struck 5pm; the world was mine for the taking! My time was entirely my own to pick and choose what I did, or did not do with it.
Becoming a Mum has already taught meso much, but one of life’s most important lessons motherhood has taught me is the true value of time! My timekeeping skills used to be diabolical at one stage. To say I had no concept of time would be a tad harsh, however the concept of time that I did have was very poor and inconsistent. It’s not that I didn’t care about being on time, time just always ran away with me and I’d never start getting ready early enough, or wait too long to set out. Now I realise my problem was that contrary to my beliefs at this stage in my life, I clearly had far too much time on my hands and time to waste at that!
Now that I have a whole extra human being to take care of and whose needs I put above my own instinctively, unquestioningly and without hesitation, time is truly of the essence. The whole concept of time and especially free time has taken on a whole new meaning. There is no option to leisurely take all of the time in the world getting ready if I have somewhere to be. It’s a case of carefully planning ahead of time (yet still feeling like you’ve been thrown together, now matter how far in advance you plan) and getting yourself out of the door the first chance you get.
Likewise, this makes it a lot easier to prioritise things in order of importance. There’s no question that your child is always going to be your first priority and take up the vast majority of your time. Next thing on the list: there is usually a back log of tasks you’ve had to either leave half done because your child wasn’t cooperating at the time, or things that weren’t practical to try and do whilst your child was awake.
On the rare occasion that you have some free time, there are usually two choices — am I going to be productive or do I just want to switch off and relax? The answer to this question will depend largely on the kind of day/week you’ve had up until this point.
The conversation I had with my friend got me thinking about the importance of reevaluating our ‘to-do’ lists and how essential it is for us all to fine-tune our priorities — despite what stage in our lives we may be at.
Don’t get me wrong, some people prefer to go with the flow and take every day as it comes, getting done what they get done and leaving everything else for another day. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach to life, if it suits you and your lifestyle then that’s totally fine.
However, for anyone who feels like they don’t have enough time and day after day is passing you by and you’re ‘not getting enough done’ ask yourself: “is this really a priority?”. Rather than cramming another thing onto your ever-growing and alarmingly long to-do list, have a think about what tasks can be removed to take off some of the pressure.
We all like to think we are using our time wisely by forcing ourselves to plan our every waking moment, doing things we’ve been conditioned to believe are productive and whilst some things may be worth doing; it’s more valuable to do less things that serve more of a purpose in the long run. This can be in relation to our professional life, personal life or in terms of making a positive contribution to our well-being.
Don’t let outside pressures get inside of your head. It’s not for anyone else to determine how you should be utilising your time. Only you can decide what serves you and has a significant impact on your life versus what you are happy to live without.