Making plans

No resolutions, no grand plans for the year, no lists of things to accomplish. Just the intention to plan ahead a little bit at a time and try not to let things get too overwhelming.

By the end of last year I was really not doing too well, I had made too many commitments and left myself stretched way too thin. I kept thinking it should be ok, I wasn’t really short of time and other people were managing to do as much and more without crumbling into a heap. But I’m not other people, I’m me and I have limits and when I push myself past those limits it hurts me and my family and things don’t get done properly and I end up sobbing violently on the lounge on Christmas Eve and freaking out my 8 year old who gets up to see if I’m ok and has to be bundled back into his bedroom because Santa is all over the lounge room.

I’ll be using that little 2 letter word a bit more often this year. I’ve already said no to Canteen duty at the primary school (though I have signed up for the High School canteen roster). I’ll be handing over the job of P&C President when my 2 year term is up in March, and with that my position on School Council. I will be sitting firmly on my hands during the P&C AGM and will not be taking on any role that involves responsibility. I will not say yes to anything without thinking it through properly and double-checking for calendar clashes, I got caught out double booking myself a few times recently, not clever. I will look after myself so that I can be ready and able to look after my family when I need to.

There are a few things I know I need to do by way of the looking after myself thing. The first is to focus on my health. I’m unfit and sleep deprived and have been eating in ways that do not make me feel good and aren’t doing much good to our budget either – far too much takeaway and far too many meals at restaurants that aren’t even that great. I’d much prefer a once a month visit to somewhere new and fabulous than weekly visits to a place we’ve been to umpteen times (much as I love our local Chinese restaurant I’m so sick of eating the same dishes all the time because that’s what the kids want).

I started writing this post last week just after having written up a meal plan for the week, we pretty much stuck to the plan and ate quite well. Come this week and no plan, the grocery shopping hasn’t been done, I haven’t had useful food in the house, and we’ve already had fish and chips at the beach on Saturday because we had nothing suitable to pack for a picnic and takeaway Chinese tonight because my Dad invited himself to dinner and I couldn’t very well feed him leftovers scrounged from the fridge and freezer. I absolutely must write a new meal plan every week, the 2 week perpetual plan worked ok for a while but it fell apart whenever there was something unusual happening, and there just don’t seem to be that many “usual” weeks in this house! Besides, I got bored.

Meal plan every week, that’s the first thing. I also have vague thoughts about making the effort to cook something a bit special, or something new anyway, at least once a fortnight. I might even give myself some blogging material if I get creative, the recipe posts are easily the most visited ones on my blog.

Next up is this sleep thing. I’ve been struggling with this for years. It doesn’t seem to matter that I know exactly what I need to do to fix it – which is get up early each morning come hell or high water so I can’t help but want to go to bed earlier. It’s not that I can’t go to sleep earlier, or that I wake during the night and lie in bed cursing insomnia. I sleep well once I’m there and I don’t generally wake till the sun is up (mind you, that can be a little early this time of year). I’m not even sure why I’m sitting here typing this up now instead of going to bed, though I suspect it’s something to do with enjoying the solitude of being the only one in the house who’s awake.

What I do know is that if I don’t sort this out then it won’t matter how well I plan, or how good my intentions are, I will simply be unable to follow through on any of it. I’ll continue to barely scrape by, always in crisis mode, always feeling like I’m scrambling to catch up and never making any real progress. So despite being in holiday mode I’ve got my alarm set for rather-earlier-than-I’d-like and I’ll keep working on coming up with some way to coerce myself into better sleep patterns. I’ve got till the end of the month to get the whole family into a good routine before we get hit with the shock of back to school and David having to leave earlier for high school and Tom having band practice at stupid o’clock in the morning before school once a week.

And then last, but by no means least, there’s that fitness thing. Damn I hate feeling like there’s things I can’t do because they’re going to make me feel utterly miserable. If I went to Jenolan Caves right now and had to climb all those stairs I’d be a wreck, but it’s been 3.5 years since we went and I’d really like to go back now that the kids are older. At Easter we’re planning on going back to Cruickshanks for another farmstay holiday and there’s a horseriding place nearby which we checked out last time we were there. I was assured that they have horses that would be up to my weight so I’ve been looking forward to riding for the first time in about 11 years and I’d love to be fit enough to enjoy it properly. Plenty of walking and some weights work would do the trick and I have a treadmill and weights right here at home – not to mention the dog!

So, if I’m no longer snowed under with a multitude of little and not so little commitments, and I sort out the sleep and cooking and eating issues so I actually have a little energy to spare, then getting on the treadmill or taking the dog for a walk at least once a day should become something I look forward to instead of dreading (and yes, I do like the treadmill, especially with a good dvd playing on the TV in front of it). I’ll give myself a few days grace to get started on fixing the sleep deprivation and then I’m promising myself 30 minutes walking every day no matter what. That’ll do for starters anyway.

There’s really no down side here, I’ll be healthier, the budget will balance a bit better, the family won’t have to deal with me being grumpy mum quite so often, Clara will be happy and the treadmill won’t be permanently festooned with laundry. Sounds like a plan to me!

(Wish me luck…)

13 Responses to “Making plans”

  1. Alix says:

    The word "no" is the hardest yet most rewarding word in our vocabulary. It usually takes us well into our adult years to understand its power to help provide a more balanced enjoyable life.

    I'm proud of you for reevaluating the things in your life and for choosing to apply your energies to the things that matter most. I applaud your sensibility.

    You'll do fine Mim. As in everything you do…

  2. yodaobi says:

    I'm in exactly the same place as you Mim, I hope to garner some of your strength and motivation and equally bounce it back to you. I started walking a little more and am hoping to get back into swimming. The eating healthy part is a little harder. Iโ€™ve decided that this breakfast thing isnโ€™t what itโ€™s cracked up to be and am following the signals of my body more by eating breaky at 10 with my morning coffee at work. Makes the mornings less hectic.

  3. Mel says:

    Same! This past week I've starting back on the healthy eating scheme (knowing I need to lose 15kg to get back to where I was,briefly, 2 years ago). My kids need that too. We also saw a financial adviser last week who we are working with this year and we are really excited about the potential the adjustments she has suggested which should improve life.

    As for exercise – before the holidays I walked the dog everyday and went to the gym 3 times a week. If only I could get back to that.

    Over the past 3 years I have said 'No" at lot. Saying 'No' to someone is saying "Yes" to yourself. Remember that.

    We can do this.

  4. Simmy says:

    I'll come along for the ride, but maybe one thing at a time for me ๐Ÿ™‚ Firstly, the meal thing. Need to save money and stop eating things that are bad for me.

    Oh, and I'll be watching the newsletter to make sure your name does NOT appear, if it does, i'll be very cross ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Lisa66 says:

    Hey, Mim, I've been where you are now (or were at the end of last year) and I know it's not a happy place. the good news is, once you set your plan of change into action, things start improving immediately.

    Over the past four years I have implemented big changes in my life, the major one being paring back my (and my family's) commitments. I 've realised that the world doesn't fall apart if I don't put my hand up for every single job! And that my kids lives will be just as enriched by spending quality time at home as they will by any outside activity or class.

    I have slowly implemented routines that enable us to have a calm homelife. I still hate the nightly routine of cooking dinner (food preparation not my fave thing!) but at least now I am prepared ahead of time and (usually) have all the ingredients to make healthy family dinners.

    One thing has led to another and now I find that the house is fairly organised too. Having a tidy and organised home has significantly reduced my stress. There's no more searching for things under pressure in the morning, or madly chasing the school bus!

    And the fitness thing is so important. On my old blog I wrote a post called "I am Fat", lamenting the fact that I couldn't accept my body they way it is. that was about a year ago and I've come a long way since then. if I still had that blog I would write a new post called "I am Fit" because, well, I am! I'm still overweight, but I can run 6 km and I'm walking 100km in 48 hrs for charity later this year. the best thing about that?? I'm really proud of myself (as you may have noticed!!!)

    Of course I'm not perfect and there are still chaotic days, days when I eat badly, don't exercise or leave the dishes until the morning. But, thankfully, these days are the exception not the rule.

    Good on you for taking the first steps to reclaiming your life! I know you will start reaping the benefits of saying "no!" right away.

  6. Penny says:

    Good luck Mim.

    Meal planning was really beneficial for me and I need to do it more frequently. There's a Melbourne blogger http://planningwithkids.com/ that has a little database thingy that might help (http://planningwithkids.com/menuplanner/index.php) plus easy recipes on her blog.

    Exercise *sigh* I do struggle with this one. I am considering running but need to get a proper bra, shoes and somehow deal with my weak pelvic floor. Walking is more "me". I am actually going to do South Beach diet again in a few weeks… am psyching myself up. I've done it before and it's been good for me – it has the type of food I like to cook and eat.

  7. aussiehen says:

    Good Luck! I have implemented the menu planning thing and while I still find actually planning and the shopping, mostly online at the moment, a chore, it has become a habit and has massively cut down on all the problems of what we're eating, doing the shopping, and spending so much money eating out.
    Now I just have to birth this baby and maybe I can join you in the getting fit challenge too ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. cat says:

    Oh girl, I so also need to get a menu plan in place, it's not even funny. But yes, last year I deliberately went to bed earlier, and with the sleep issues the kids had, it's been a life saver. I now put myself a limit – come 10 o clock, it is time to go upstairs. Now I am working on Hunter to do the same.

    Great looking forward to riding again – I had my first fall in 8 years on Saturday! Was so sore, but I'll ride again – just give me a week.

  9. Ariane says:

    It has not been 11 years since you rode a horse. It can't be. That's something we used to do a little while ago…

    Food…. I must go back to cooking. While Crash is cooking, there will be no healthy food.

    Sleep…. I have been having insomnia attacks recently, but I think it's just that my patterns are so scrambled my body clock is buggered. And yes, I know what I have to do too. *sigh*

  10. Nap Mom says:

    Luckily, I dno't have a sleeping issue (except when I am pregnant). I hear you. I learned to say "no" about a year ago. It was hardest when I gave up the position of Girl Scout leader for Emily's troop. Heart breaking. But, she is still a scout (a happy scout) and life has continued on… without me as the leader. Being able to say "yes" when I REALLY mean it means that I REALLY enjoy those volunteer opportunities even more!

  11. mimbles says:

    Thanks everyone for all the encouraging words ๐Ÿ™‚ I'll keep you all posted on how things are going!

  12. Unknown Mami says:

    I wish you much luck and success. You are worth the effort.

  13. ThirdCat says:

    All that you said in that post rang so true for me…especially the exercise and especially, especially the meal planning. And I keep meaning to blog about it, but have never quite got the post out of the draft folder.

    I did start keeping a meal planner in March last year and kept it on and off for the whole year and have just been getting back into it now that we're getting back into a daily routine.

    I cannot tell you what a difference it made to my wellbeing. I used a beautiful notebook that a friend gave me for my 40th. At first, I was worried that it was another waste of another beautiful notebook, but actually it was perfect.

    Have a great year, Mim.

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