I can’t believe we are at the end of January already! This year is flying by faster than I would like. It seems in my head though that I am waiting for Charly’s first birthday and the new year only fully starts for me then. An odd feeling, but it is distinctly there, like I’m holding my breath and waiting for life to start ticking over again.
This year has already been incredibly busy, with Charly getting baby measles, birthdays (including mine), planning for Charly’s special day(s), finding the work groove (I’m sure I left it around here somewhere) and planning for the year ahead on all fronts. I’m exhausted and could use a holiday (comedy drum roll).
I think I briefly mentioned that although I never set “new year resolutions”, I have set myself some goals for this year. Thus far, it’s been a bit hit and miss; again I am citing my new year starting after the big birthday in February as the reason; or perhaps that my work year only began on the 19th of the month or that January is a practice round to find my feet (I could do this all day).
Without further preamble, here they are…
1. Cook one new thing a month
This is a goal I would never have pictured myself setting. Brett is the chef in the family; I stick to my basic specialities of roasts, spagbol (spaghetti bolognaise) and schnitzels. I’ve never felt the urge to be creative in the kitchen.
But as you all know, Charly has waged a battle with solids since they were introduced. She has improved exponentially in the past month or so, though she still eats very small quantities, so I remain concerned that she isn’t taking in the right balance of foods. She is still breastfeeding; so this is more of a “planning for her future” worry than a health worry.
Anyway, the point is that I spend loads of time on Baby Led Weaning sites and Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest accounts, watching in awe as these mommies whip up healthy food for their kids and watching those kids devour everything. Why not me? And so it is that I have been trying my hand at creating healthy foods for Charly.
This month I’ve done banana pancakes, banana French toast, baby meatballs and cheesy, broccoli, scrambled egg bites; so I’m ahead of my goal already! The recipes were simple and healthy and Charly loved the pancakes, the meatballs and the eggy bites (she loved chewing on and spitting out the toast). This may seem silly to some, but I’m inordinately proud of myself.
2. Create & maintain a healthy eating plan for Charly (and by extension us)
This is a work in progress; but I am a few days away from finalising a first draft.
The eating plan lays out a Monday to Sunday menu for Charly, with three main meals and two snacks a day. It includes a few new meals (such as oat balls, courgette nuggets and vegetable shreddies that tie into goal 1); different foods every day with a few items from the dinner before being reworked into lunch the next day; and it sets out our weekly dinners, which is something we have been aiming for as well.
3. Develop & stick to a workable weekly routine (wherever possible)
I hear you laughing fellow mommies; and I understand your mirth. It is more a routine for Charly, but being a Work At Home Mom, it is every bit as much for me. My job and my sanity depend on it.
During the holidays, I shifted Charly to two naps a day. I’ve also managed to get her “wake up” time to between 7 and 7:30 in the morning (breastfeeding to the rescue). This means her awake time is as it is meant to be at 3 hours. For example, she wakes at 7; naps from 10 – 11:30; and then again from 14:30 – 16:00; and bedtime is between 19:00 and 19:30. The length of the naps shift, but generally balance out at 3 hours in total; she sticks to this routine about 95% of the time.
I’ve worked my schedule into this so far, though I’m not in the full swing of practicing it as yet, and Charly has had some hectic days where she has attached to me and not let me out of her sight or has been particularly tired and has reverted to three naps for a day or two.
Daddy is on duty from wake up to 7:45 and I get some quiet time (power nap); we eat breakfast together, then I take over Charly duty while he gets ready and heads off to work. My mom arrives between 8:30 and 9 and takes Charly for a walk in her pram. I do *Wii Fit from 9 – 9:30 and bubble bath from 9:30 – 10. Charly feeds and naps on/next to me until 11:30, while I check mails, do research, and work or blog on my phone. 11:30 – 14:30 Charly plays with granny and I get onto my (shiny new) MacBook and do some real work, or go to client meetings, or do interviews, or do something for me.
On Wednesdays my mom is at my grandparents, so in this gap, Charly and I meet up with another mommy and baby for lunch or a visit.
The rest of the week my mom leaves when Charly goes down at 14:30. 14:30 – 16:00 is again phone time while C naps, though if I have got a lot done during the day, I tend to spend this time reading the news or blogs that I follow. Charly and I have reading time or roll around cuddle time from the time she wakes up until daddy gets home around 16:45.
We then chat while I play with Charly or she occasionally watches Super Simple Songs on the Chromecast, and Brett preps and puts on dinner. We have family time while dinner cooks; family dinner time at 18:30; then Charly and I bath, family story time and Charly feeds and goes to sleep by 19:30.
Now, where most mommies breathe a sigh of relief, I don’t. Charly still generally wakes up every 2 hours throughout the night; so most nights I go to sleep (on the spare bed in her room) around then too, in the desperate hope that she might have a longer first stretch, meaning I get a stretch longer than 2 hours.
On the nights I don’t go straight to sleep; Brett and I spend a little time together in our room next door with the baby monitor on high, chatting or occasionally watching a show before the first wake up when I scurry guiltily back into her room, settle her and go to sleep as quickly as possible. This is my life. And a whole other post. So on with the original post…
4. *Do Wii Fit 4 days a week
I’m sure you can guess that this is where my goals started wobbling. I only started this last week, when I started work and activated the full routine.
I got 3 days in and was thoroughly enjoying it, and then… Thursday was a three nap day throwing timings all over the place; Thursday night I pinched something in my shoulder so Friday and Saturday were out. Sunday was Charly’s first beach day, the morning was spent prepping and packing bags and getting ready so we could head out the second she woke from her nap to optimize the awake time we had.
Monday was the doctor, so Monday night was a write off as Charly was apparently so traumatised by the last pead visit, the fear extended to the GPs office.We are officially trying a new pediatrician for her 1 year checkupcheckup to see if we can break through the general fear with a new place and a non-invasive visit.
Tuesday I was a tearful zombie after she clung whimpering to me all night and my mom was helping my ill grandparents on Wednesday. Yesterday I decided screw it; I will start on Monday again, new month, new determination. *sigh*
5. Take on one new client
I have turned down or passed on a lot of new business in the past year. I love my main client and the writing I do for them and I can spend all my time on them easily. But I really enjoyed editing that book last year, even though, or maybe because, it pushed me to stretch myself mentally in another direction. If I can get our new schedule properly in place, I can make space for a new client. I have already responded to my first query of the year with a quote yesterday, so we will see how that goes.
6. My blog
There are a few mini-goals here.
– 52 posts in 2015 : Ideally I’d say one a week, but that’s not always possible. So I’ll aim for one a week, but I’ll double up where I miss a few. I already have four new posts started in the drafts folder, so this seems manageable.
– Stretching myself : I’ve always turned down advertising, reviews or promotion approaches, as I feel very strongly about the damage it can do to a blog if it’s done wrong (and 90% of people do it wrong). Over the holidays I discovered some great American mommy bloggers who have managed to include reviews naturally and genuinely into their posts. If they weren’t marked as sponsored, you wouldn’t feel they had been at all. That to me is a real skill.
I know that there genuinely are some fantastic services and products out there that can change the mommy experience for the better – two of the posts I’m working on at the moment could easily be classified as promotional if the services or products I mention knew that I existed, which they don’t!
I feel I will only be able to do this properly if I set the next goal into motion.
– Giving Pregnant in Cape Town a makeover : I have been contemplating this since late last year when I began incorporating “& everything after” into the PiCT brand. I even bought the domain name. And then I discovered that Counting Crows had somehow blocked anyone from Googling that phrase ever again – how insane is that? It’s an everyday phrase for heavens sake! Anyway, that derailed me for a while.
And then I was in the running for a blog makeover prize with the South African Mom Blogs competition; and I had occasional daydreams about what I would do if I won it.
And now, with the new opportunities and really wanting to find a way to extend PiCT to be more inclusive and indicative of the growth of the conversations I have here, and after seeing how amazing the new home of Adventures in Parenting is; I feel like it’s time. I did the whole PiCT website myself, even teaching myself some basic coding to do so; but that was before I started working and before I had Charly, so the chances of me finding the time to do it myself now are fairly slim. So I’m officially on the lookout for a new design/designer, if anyone has any suggestions…
And then some just for me…
7. 12 books for me in 2015
This seems ridiculous to me. Before Charly, I read a book every two days; one a day at least in the holidays. Since Charly, I’ve read two books about babies, a handful of children’s books and one and a half books “for me”. I bought my usual Marian Keyes holiday read in late December, and managed to finish it in 10 days by reading in semi-darkness as Charly napped on me and by sacrificing sleep (not doable when I’m working). It made me so happy. Reading has always been a huge part of who I am, and it’s one part of me I want to get back.
8. A mani-pedi a month
Something small for me; something that makes me feel pretty, that reminds me I’m more than just a mommy and forces me to take time away from the house all by myself once a month.
9. A couples massage every second month
This was part of our pre-pregnancy life. Something we did together late on a Sunday afternoon that left us relaxed and refreshed and ready to face the week ahead. We need to incorporate this back into our lives.
10. One date day a month in the first 6 months; Two date days eventually turning into one day, one evening a month from July
This one is last because there are so many things working against us most of the time; so we are going to have to work on it together as a family. The first 6 months is doable.
The second will likely mean we will need to find a person other than my mom that Charly will stay with in the day for a few hours without going to pieces. And then the serious stretch goal, an evening date. This will only be possible if she learns to sleep; which I have to believe will happen by the end of the year (right???!!!)
Quite a list I have here; maybe I should have stuck to the generic blanket resolutions after all 😉