I love New Year’s Resolutions, always have done. There’s something about the excuse to change yourself for the better, clean slates etc, that I just love. Don’t get me wrong, self-improvement is A-OK at any time of the year but NYE is the one time you can legitimately stand up and say, “look at me, world, I am going to make myself a better person”.
Because up until this year I always thought improvement was necessary, I always strived towards the unattainable. I never felt good enough in so many aspects of my life; never felt like I was a good enough housewife, I was never good enough at my job, I wasn’t good enough at being a mum. Always working towards being a person I thought I ought to be, yet never quite getting there despite making hundreds of New Years resolutions, new starts each and every year.
It’s taken a difficult 2013 to realise that I don’t need to do that any more. I finally, finally, feel happy with who I am. I may not load the dishwasher immediately after lunch, I may take a bit longer to answer my work emails than I should, I may snap at my children when we’re all overtired and they are whining about something or other.
I am imperfect, but I go to bed every night knowing that I have tried my best to make the most of that day. I know that as long as I have done my best in work, at home and with the kids then I am winning. Striving to be the absolute best at everything is a losing game because nobody has enough hours in the day to be all those things; the women you see who are these perfect wives, businesswomen, mothers, they don’t exist. They are either stretching the truth or have plenty of help in their lives of perfection. My life may not be so shiny and perfect but my children are happy and healthy, they have a lovely home, I’m supporting them and right now, doing my best is enough. Girl power!
So instead of thinking of all the ways I want to change myself next year I’m going to focus on what I’ve achieved in this one. Because no matter how horrendous 2013 has been I feel like I’m entering 2014 a much nicer, happier, more hard-working and content person. And that’s something to celebrate.
2013: The Good Bits
I coped with my husband moving out and 50 miles away to London which was horrible and heartbreaking and something I thought I’d never be able to handle; I picked myself up and made sure I carried on as normal for my children even though I felt like I was dying inside at various points.
I learned how to do all the ‘man’ jobs in my house: mowing the lawn, doing the bins, sorting out things under the bonnet in my car, DIY, fixing the washing machine (with some help from Google and my Dad I saved myself about £130).
I gave my kitchen table and chairs an Annie Sloan makeover and transformed a bed frame and some lamps with the help of some spray paint. I still don’t have the crafty gene but enjoyed my little projects immensely.
I travelled on my own to New York to visit my best friend for a week of letting my hair down; the first time I’d flown solo. The independence I felt during that trip was something I hadn’t experienced in years.
I made new friends and had some wonderful times with old ones. I realised the importance of having amazing inspiring women in my life and really appreciated my female pals for being so awesome. You know who you are, ladies – thank you for supporting me in such a loving, non-judgemental advice-giving way. Nights in, nights out, skype, tweets, texts, emails… you rock.
I was the best mum I could be to my two little people. We had lots of adventures together: a cruise, Center Parcs, playdates, soft play, shopping, lunches out, games in. They have both flourished this year and are turning out to be two wonderful, intelligent and thoughtful children. I love being their mum.
I took the steps to change my name. Something that still feels odd but was important to me in the journey to re-claim my identity.
I completely changed my eating habits, giving up refined carbs, drinking green juices for breakfast and focussing on clean eating. I joined the gym and really enjoy going a couple of times a week, and through these changes I’ve lost a stone and a half, said goodbye to my stubborn tummy podge and become much fitter and healthier. I’ve really enjoyed following the Paleo diet and will continue it next year.
I moved house on my own to a new town and a place where the children and I can make new happy memories.
I worked really really hard at growing my business; I was on Woman’s Hour with Jane Garvey and wrote a short piece that appeared in Women’s Fitness magazine. Although I didn’t work as much on my book as I would have wanted I’m still plugging away at it and that’s a definite work focus for 2014. I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to do this, having a job you love is so important and I’m so privileged to be able to work around my children.
I tried dating with varying degrees of success, and despite meeting someone very lovely came to the decision that I just don’t have time to have a full-on relationship at the moment. Having been with a man from the age of 18 to 27 I realised it was important I spend time on my own and get to know myself as a single person. I do love the company of men and am not going to say no to offers of dinner but I’m not actively pursuing the idea of a boyfriend right now.
I threw my kids a brilliant Christmas and made sure they wanted for nothing over the festive period. Including a 6 foot tree that I wedged in my car, put up at home and decorated with them. It was awesome.
I made sure that my children saw me as a hard-working, ambitious and loving person. I am their role model and I want them to know how much happiness can be found in hard work and healthy living. Does that make me sound like a bit of a hippy?
As imperfect as I am, think I’ve accomplished enough in 2013 to warrant not worrying about setting myself unreachable targets. I want to continue to work as hard as I can at being the best person I can be, and if I try my best, well, then I’m happy. How about we all just celebrate who we are for a while rather than stress ourselves out with who we want to be?
I can’t say a final goodbye to 2013 without giving a big thank-you to everyone who visits my blog. It has become such a huge part of my life, my third baby, and I so enjoy sharing my stories and musings with you. I wouldn’t be half as sane without all the advice, reassurance and love I get from my readers. You uplift me. Group hug?