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…)