A New Page

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My new obsession!

2016. We’ll that happened.

Whether you look externally or internally, whether it was euphoric Andy Murray world number one male tennis star, or terrifying politics both sides of the pond, or tragic loss of too much talent (and about half my teen idols) it was a year to remember. And forget.

I don’t do New Year generally. Since the children started school, my fresh start and broken resolutions begin in September.

But, like many, I have dragged myself over the finish line of 2016 so very ready for a new beginning.

Not resolutions, well not like lose weight and quit wine (as I read somewhere on Facebook, no one likes a skinny sober b!tch anyway). More like kick up the bum thoughts.

I got to the end of 2016 without really knowing what happened. Personal achievements were few and hard to recall. I only wrote one book and I feel ambivalent about that one. I did help edit a memoir, and found it rewarding. And we did loads to our house. But still.

I’m a mess of anxiety and contradiction. My kids called me lazy yesterday because I keep hiding in the bedroom, often asleep for hours at a time. I did point out that their 5.30am starts might have something to do with it (although that just makes every parent I know smugly point out that their children have been trained not to wake them until at least 7am. I must have missed that section of the parenting course. Oh, wait…)

But actually I’m hiding from myself. The mess of guilt and duty and boredom of being a work/stay at home mum. I loved helping another author bring their book into the world, but working on someone else’s deadline was ‘real’ work. The kids did childcare (and hated it). The house suffered. People ran out of clean/ironed clothes. I realised however much being a SAHM sucks sometimes it’s easier than self-employed mum.

But.

I was a person, I was appreciated. I was paid.

So, 2017, my plan is for structure. Goals, achievements. The children can adapt to a working-a-bit-more-often mum, just as they adapted to karate mum. This time next year I will have written novels, plural. Perhaps edited a few for others. Maybe even sell some craft on Etsy. Exercise. Read more. Hide less.

Yesterday I took the children swimming and was able to swim away from them (while watching over my shoulder) properly for the first time. They didn’t drown. They did fine.

2017 I’m going to swim away from Mummy towards Amanda. But I’ll still be watching them. Because Mum is a job for life. Just maybe not my only one.

Happy New Year.

Mummy and Daughter Day

Felt animals with buttons

Felt animals with buttons

Today I got to spend time just with my daughter, as the nursery opens earlier than school (thank goodness!) Normally one-on-one time with my daughter doesn’t go so well, because we are quite similar and therefore fall out pretty easily. But today we seemed to be on the same page.

It might have helped that we started with shopping, after I finally returned a faulty Christmas gift. She got to pick out ideas for her birthday present, buy an electric blue skirt in the sale and then choose a new dress for her party. I even managed to stay in River Island for fifteen minutes without once saying “I wish they’d turn that damn music down!” (Although I might have mentioned how much nicer it was in H&M, where the music was set to ‘ambient’ rather than ‘Friday Night Disco’.)

Using a magazine for ideas

Using a magazine for ideas

We failed to find shoes mutually acceptable party shoes in her size, but I did relent on the tiger onesie, even though they only had size 4-5 left and she’ll outgrow it in weeks. That was largely because I wanted to get one for my son! They have tails and ears and are sooooo soft. (I want one!)

After that we tried to go to a soft play centre, which turned out to be closed, so ended up in McD for a promised treat. I’d agreed to have a kids’ meal too, so I could get my son a toy as well, and the lovely lady went through and let us choose which toy. I have to confess, much as I hate to like a huge conglomerate like McD, they offer lovely service, and games and colouring to entertain energetic children while tired parents drink nice coffee and surf the free WiFi.

Magazine weaving

Magazine weaving

This afternoon has been all about craft and learning to sew and weave, as we worked our way through my daughter’s magazine of ideas. I think she’d be better off learning from my mum, who is a whizz at sewing and knitting, and I dearly wish hubbie’s mum was still with us, as she was an extremely talented dressmaker by all accounts. Still, I have the rudiments I learned in Home Ec classes, and we managed to sew buttons on our owl and butterfly without too much bloodshed.

The woven magazine basket was a clever idea, even if it’s probably held together more with sticky tape than skill. At last something to use up all the half-read magazines in the drawer! The craft would have continued, but all my energy and patience was depleted, so now we’re sitting together on the sofa while she learns phonics on one ipad and I write this on the other.

It’s been an encouraging day. My daughter is wonderful, caring and kind, but also bossy, demanding and thoughtless. We fight more than we are friends and I often worry what our relationship will be like as she grows older. I don’t have many close friends or family members and I long for the kind of mother-daughter relationship where we can shop and have a giggle together. Today we came a tentative step closer.