In general, 2018 was good to us; we had some brilliant family adventures, I finally took control of my career, and we were all in good health; we encountered a number of speed bumps along the way, but such is life!
These are the highs and lows of my 2018 (I’m starting with the lows so I can end on a high!);
The Lows of 2018;
- Our youngest’s nursery transition – this did not go well, in fact, it was terrible! We had no problem whatsoever with our eldest starting nursery, and we hoped our youngest would take it her stride too… she didn’t! She would get herself so wound up that she would be physically shaking, whilst hysterically screaming which usually resulted in her being sick. It broke my heart as we had no other choice (the nursery is incredible and were phenomenal supporting us all during this transition), and it felt like this period went on forever (I lasted for a few months), but we eventually got through it!
- Car journeys with our youngest – Car journeys were hell! We tried everything; different car seats, being in different cars, songs, singing, blankets, every toy under the sun, travelling at nap time, travelling when it wasn’t nap time, nothing worked! She hated the car, she hated the car seat! I dreaded journeys, and did all I could to avoid going in the car as EVERY journey would result in our youngest screaming for the ENTIRE journey. We are not completely out of this, but we are finally starting to come out on the other side!
- Mum (parent) guilt – The previous two led to this a lot! As a parent you inevitably feel a tremendous amount of guilt; Am I doing enough? Am I doing the right things? Was what I made them for dinner nutritious enough? etc. My job as a teacher resulted in feeling guilty almost constantly as I was forced to put my children second to my job.
- Work/life balance – This is something I really struggled with before I had children. I have always been a huge perfectionist, which always led to me putting too much pressure on myself, and no matter how hard I tried not to, I couldn’t help it. I was at the ‘dream’ school (which was wonderful to work at), but the pressures and expectations of the profession made it very difficult for me to be mum. I would work gone midnight every night, and be up again at 5am only seeing my children briefly at dinner time. This wasn’t the mum I wanted to be. The positive out of it is; that I finally plucked up the courage to make a change.
- Loneliness – With family not being close by, and all other parent friends back at work, it left very few people for us to see. I had attended a wide range of baby groups with our eldest, but second time around there were very few groups I could go to with both girls due to age requirements. It wasn’t uncommon during maternity leave for me to not see another adult (excluding my husband) for at least a week at a time. Our girls are wonderful and I cherish every moment I have with them, but the occasional hot drink whilst it was still hot, and some adult conversation wouldn’t have gone amiss! That being said, that phase passes quickly and I miss that time with my girls, even if I felt a little lonely at times.
The Highs of 2018;
- We cracked the nursery issue – It took time and I wondered if it would ever happen, but it finally did! Our youngest loves nursery now and is always excited to go. Seeing her so happy there now reassures me that it was the right thing to do.
- I made a change to my work/life balance – I did it, I jumped into the unknown two footed! This is scary to do, but the fear factor becomes greater when you have children who depend on you. You wonder whether ‘better the devil you know’ is truly the best option. Only time will tell if I made the right decision, but I am proud that I developed the confidence to try; even if there was a chance it could all go wrong, because it could also all go so right.
- I watched another of my best friends get married, and we welcomed the arrival of a couple of little ones (I missed baby cuddles!)
- I had the best surprise 30th Birthday to Disneyland Paris – I love all things Disney, but watching the girls’ excitement was truly magical and something I will cherish forever. (If you’re heading out to Disneyland this year, check out a couple of my Disneyland blog posts for hidden attractions and Disneyland hacks.)
- I started blogging – This is something I had wanted to do for a couple of years but lacked the confidence to do. I have loved every moment of this journey so far, and all the wonderful people I have met and connected with in the process. I’m excited to see what else is in store.
I have learnt a lot about myself as a person and a parent during 2018; I’ve learnt that the difficult times don’t last forever, and quickly become a distant memory, and that when you’re brave enough to step (or even jump) out of your comfort zone, incredible things can happen.
I wish you a happy, healthy and blessed 2019,