Wednesday 1 January 2014

Looking back and looking forward

As the new year dawns, it's time for the obligatory review of the year that was, and the highlights (and lowlights) that it brought.

My new year view
2013 was a pretty good year for me both personally and professionally.

I didn't really set a series of goals at the beginning of the year, but I did commit to doing 101 things in 1001 days. I just did a quick tally and I'm sitting at approximately 42 of them complete. I was quite strict in marking them off, if I've committed to doing something for a period of time and it's not finished yet, that doesn't count. It deserves a post of it's own so I'll do a detailed update on my progress at another time.

Personally, I hit my motherhood stride and we also transitioned through from the newborn stage to infant and then toddler. Ellie has been a constant source of delight. Every time I think that I'm doing a terrible job, something will happen to make me think that hey, this motherhood gig isn't that bad and I don't totally suck. This year saw Ellie develop in leaps and bounds. We went on our first plane trip with a baby in tow. She started to crawl and the week before her birthday, she started to walk. Now, three months later, she can run! We've had stormy periods but we've also had some sunny ones and right now is a real joy. I say that about every stage, but it's true! She talks constantly now. Sometimes I can understand her, sometimes not. She understands so much - she will literally read books now - she points to words and says them, and can associate concepts. If I point to a dog, she says puppy. She loves lift the flap book and the touchy feely ones, especially ones with furry patches in them. She plays games and giggles constantly when we play hide and seek or peekaboo.

My breastfeeding journey may have ended, but Ellie has a deep love of food and will try pretty much everything in sight. She loves the water, and she loves people, offering kisses and hugs to her favourites. She is confident with her boundaries and with saying no, although hilariously, beards are still a source of trepidation.  If she doesn't want to give a kiss when you ask for one, she will often proffer her cheek so you can kiss her! Like I said, an absolute delight!

She's a party girl
Ellie aside, I think motherhood has changed me too. I've had to dig deep to find strengths I didn't know I had. I've realised that no matter how tired, no matter how sick or sore I am, I can always find it in me to summon a smile for Ellie, to play with her and tend to her needs before looking after mine. I've come out of my shell in ways I couldn't even begin to describe except to say that sometimes, I definitely feel like a tigress protecting my young! I broke my toe, my first (confirmed) broken bone in over 20 years, which is not something I'm that keen to repeat. 

Professionally, I started back at work part time this year, which was a real eye opener for me. It's hard to reflect in detail on an open blog, but I will say that when I had Ellie, my priorities shifted. Work is still a passion of mine, but now I balance that with being a mother, and all that entails. It's not work that has changed, it's me. I often have some time to myself while Ellie is napping on my days off, so I made sure to balance my part time work with some professional development too,  finishing a certification this year. Nothing special, and just qualifying what I do already, but I do like adding to the formal qualifications I have! Of course, there is also time for sewing and cooking as well!

For 2014, I don't really have specific goals. However, broadly:
  • I'd like to get my fitness levels back. I miss my cyclist physique and muscles and I loathe the way parts of me jiggle and sag that didn't jiggle and sag before. So I'd like to do something about that. I constantly make excuses saying that Ellie gets in the way, but really she doesn't, and it isn't as though I couldn't incorporate her into my exercise, so in 2014, I say no more excuses and I'm going to work on fitness. Also I'd like to improve my posture which I realise is a tough ask with a child who loves to be worn and a job that involves copious computer work but I'm up for the challenge.
  • Focus on doing more of what makes me happy and less of what doesn't. I know that's vague but I've just decided I don't have time to waste on the things that don't matter. What matters are friends, family, and opportunities to do things that I love. So that's what I want to surround myself with.
  • Create a calm space. For me, calm means tidy. Not excessively dust-free, unlived-in, too-scared-to-touch-anything tidy, but a place where everything has a space and it's not too cluttered. So I'm going to work on making sure the dishes are done and the benches are clean before turning off the kitchen lights so I wake up to a clean space. Clearing the dining room table and my desk of clutter and putting things away. Putting Ellie's toys in her toy box and putting away the things she no longer plays with. Sweeping the dust bunnies and vacuuming a little more regularly. Just enough to help me keep my sanity, not to rival Suzie Homemaker at all.
Magnetic Scrabble letters are the best
How was your year and what do you hope to achieve in 2014?

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