Has the world actually woken up after the Christmas break? It feels very quiet as if people are indulging in another week of time off. I am sure that cannot be right but it is how it feels here. So whilst things are more relaxed that usual, I am happy to share cheerful New Year thoughts.
1. We managed to navigate troubles between my husband and myself that happened just before my birthday and Christmas. Peace has returned with my husband even talking about getting some counselling. He has also taken some pretty major actions to show his commitment to our relationship. Amusingly, if I had to state what has helped us get back on some sort of track from my point of view it would include chocolate pancakes, mulled wine and Scrabble games.
2. Also on the family front, I have insisted on us doing some planning to ensure all the family get quality time together and alone. It took probably only about 15 minutes to make a plan which means every day has something special and family-related in it. We have carved out time to ensure each of the children get one-on-one time with us. It’s working really well so far.
3.We have hit the ground running for our home education journey for 2019. We are doing daily French lessons. We have done quite a lot on statistics this week. I have combined my wish to meal plan which I never quite pull off with home education partly because my youngest son has such a desire to be in the kitchen and hopes to be a chef one day. We got a brilliant magazine with 70 recipes in it all of the frugal nature too on the spending front. I want financial management to be a big part of what the children learn because being money savvy makes such a difference to levels of happiness. So we put together a weekly meal plan and did a supermarket shop based on that. It means less food waste, more efficient spending and the fun of trying out new meals. Our time in the kitchen can include learning English, French, food history, mathematics, chemistry, biology and more no doubt. All very good stuff. Also it is lovely to bring our my late mum’s big mixing bowl. Yesterday we made a brilliant banana loaf and also some mug cakes using a kit my son got at Christmas. I am going to invest in some new workbooks too as I find these are so helpful as I can set work for my daughter to get on with and sit with my son as he works on his. They are individuals and I need to work to those individual needs and preferences.
4. I am having disturbed nights of sleep waking up more than usual and also having nightmares. The cheerful part of this is that it has made me realise how fortunate I am that I can choose when to get up so I can have lie-ins. When I do wake up, I am in an idyllic countryside setting. I have started walking the dog as soon as I get up whether he has already had a walk or not. It is good to get that dose of Vitamin D to set the day off with a happy soul.
5. My husband and older son are looking into volunteering with refugees. I think this will be great for both of them but particularly my son who has such a sense of social justice and needs to build his confidence up.
6. My daughter is her usual focused self. She was delighted with her Christmas present. She surprised me the other day at a café by saying she liked it because it was so open. I thought she would have preferred to have had more walls around her. It’s a good lesson to me to not assume what her needs are and to actually listen and learn. We also had a great tidy-up and decluttering session in her bedroom getting rid of so many clothes along the way.
7. My oldest son is in a good mood and feeling positive. He is excited at the prospect of a visit to Paris with old school friends later in the year. Even more wonderfully, he asked if I would like to come along too. How many 18 year old sons do that sort of thing?
8. In my usual attempt to become a domestic goddess, I am stressing about it less. I saw online that it is good to have one big task per day. This is helping with my planning and as a result housework gets done but is not as overwhelming to me. Also I do seem to be getting a little more help from the family.
9. Another big change here is that I am pretty much not putting the television on during the day. When I was made redundant many years ago now, I thought it was great to be able to spend the day watching telly. Years in and you realise it has become quite a negative habit. Effectively you can easily be watching other people’s lives or being told how to live yours by “experts” who know nothing of your situation. Isn’t it healthier to be living your own? I could even believe daytime telly is actually a strategy go keep women downtrodden, trapped and judging themselves adversely. Anyway, conspiracy theory aside, I am reading more, writing more, conversing more, walking more an feeling better as a result of this lifestyle change.
10. I remain happy in this amazing community I have found full of kindness, laughter and a willingness to make things work. After years of feeling anonymous, it is lovely to have found a place where it feels as if “everybody knows my name” to quote the Cheers song. Not only do they know it but they use it helping me work out that yes I do actually exist in my own right and I am OK.
That’s not a bad start to a brand New Year is it?