Writing a blog kind of forces you to reflect on things. Hopefully not in a ‘Christmas Letter of our achievements’ kind of way, but more as a record of what you’ve done. My reflection on 2013 is intended to be a positive take, but hopefully without the self-congratulatory tone that you see in many annual round-ups. However, Tim did accuse me of bring a bit full of myself when describing my Boxing Day Dessert. I couldn’t lie, though: it was actually that amazing.
So 2013 has been characterised by:
When I asked Tim how 2013 had been for him, he replied, “Great, but tiring.” At the beginning of the year, sleepless nights were par for the course – Ben was still feeding 2 or 3 times a night. So that was definitely tiring. Not being at work, I got up every single time. So yes, the broken nights were definitely tiring. So were the 5am starts, when he finally started sleeping through. We had a few weeks of blissful recovery at the beginning of December, when Ben slept 7pm-7am every night, but that has gone out of the window with Christmas and general disruption to his routine. So 2013 has definitely been tiring.
2. Family Holidays
Despite the constraints of maternity pay, we managed to have 3 holidays this year, 1 abroad in France. We has our first holiday as a family in February in the Lake District, and it was a lovely time to go away – Ben was 6 months old and not crawling, meaning that baby-proofing wasn’t an issue. The cottage where we stayed provided a high chair and cot, and I got a Sainsburys shop delivered when we arrived. We repeated this everywhere else we stayed, and it worked really well. Even though we live in the same house, sleep in the same bed and eat meals together, holidays seem to be when Tim and I make our big decisions and realise how much we just enjoy each others’ company. Easy to forget when you’re juggling childcare, laundry and working. For our other two holidays, we went with either set of our parents. This was a really good chance to all spend some time together (and, of course, we took up the offers of babysitting).
3. My return to work
I went back to work after having 13 months off, and I can honestly say that I really enjoyed going back. Yes, it has been incredibly stressful; yes, I frequently spend every evening and nap time marking or planning; yes, I frequently do 40 hour weeks despite being part-time. That’s teaching. It’s really hard work. But it has been so good to use my brain and my skills. I thought a lot about my work while I was on maternity leave, and have spent a lot of time planning schemes of work. Fortunately, that reflection time hasn’t been wasted, and I think I’m probably teaching some of the best lessons of my life.
4. Serving our church
Over the last year, I’ve found myself involved in more teams in church. From helping out in crèche on a Sunday morning to running a blog with notes for small group Bible Study, God has used me and my time. I’ve met people, I’ve deepened relationships, learned a lot and have developed new skills. It’s been good.
5. Social Media
I’m getting to grips with Twitter, and the blog is nearly a whole year old. I have really enjoyed learning how to do this. Twitter is really good for teaching; I’ve picked up some great ideas and witnessed ( I don’t often take part) some fascinating discussions. You can follow me here. I’ve been on Pinterest a while, and I’m still addicted. You can find my boards here.
6. Getting to grips with our finances
Since June, we’ve been following the principles of CAP Money. This has been really helpful for us managing our finances better. I highly recommend doing a CAP Money course to everyone.
Looking forward to 2014, I am aware of changes I need to make. I want to spend more quality time with friends and family. I want to have more adventures. I need to sort my diet out, as all too often it is characterised by caffeine- and sugar-fixes. I need to find smarter ways of working, both inside and outside the home. I would like to get fit again. I’d like to get more sleep. But that’s for another post.
Happy New Year!