After a year of activity and upheaval – new baby, redundancy, relocation - I can’t help but feel a bit ho-hum about 2013. It’s probably the inevitable post-Christmas anti-climax. I love the build up to Christmas so much that I’m a bit like a toddler on a sugar comedown when it’s time to take the tree out and put the decorations back in the cupboard.
Last New Year I had my pregnancy to focus on and a rough plan to move north to put into action, but the next 12 months stretch ahead of me without much to focus on or aim for. For the time being my career is on hold, so I’m at home with the children full time. But I refuse to believe, however true it may be, that all I’ll be doing is changing nappies, reacquainting myself with the collected works of Messrs Hargreaves and Dahl, and acting as domestic health and safety officer.
Perhaps I should enjoy the calm, but the truth is that I’m quite easily bored and need variety, changes of scene and new challenges to keep my spark. To fend off feelings of stagnation, I’ve started putting together the mother of all to-do lists. If I manage half of these by the end of the year, I’ll be happy.
- Learn to make decent pastry - there’s been one soggy bottom after another in this household, not to mention pie tops that could sink ships and pasties that could double as shot-puts. It’s frustrating because I think pastry is brilliant for making interesting vegetarian main courses and I hate that the results are so variable. My mum assures me that it’s the oven, but she’s my mum and she would say that. It’s time I worked out where I’m going wrong, so I’ll take a few lessons from her and might also use the cookery school voucher I was given for Christmas towards a day’s course.
- Make time for running – pre-children, I went through a phase of running all the time. I’d run before work, regularly enter short races (for fun, not to win) and even once ran a marathon. Slowly. Not bad for someone who once feigned an asthma attack at school to get out of running the 1500m (no idea how I got away with that, given that I don’t have asthma). I love to run. It makes me feel alive and gives me time to think; getting fit and staying in shape are an added bonus. Since having children I rarely get the chance, but I’m determined to run once a week. Even if it’s just half an hour by the river, it’s better than nothing.
- Buy a house – we’re currently renting because nothing has come onto the market that’s been right for us. We’re really happy where we are – it’s a very nice house in a handy location. It would be nice to feel a bit more settled, though, and not have to ask the landlord every time we want to put up a picture. Fingers crossed we find something before the year is out. I’m not sure how long I can handle the yellow curtains in our bedroom.
- Learn to parallel park – If my parking isn’t the laughing stock of our street, I’d be amazed. Where we live, all parking is on-street and every house seems to have several cars (except ours *polishes eco-credentials*). There’s very little space and very few spots that don’t require the ability to parallel park. Somehow I’ve managed to get through life (and, ahem, three driving tests) without ever being able to do it. It’s embarrassing that I keep resorting to parking on another street just to avoid doing it, so the time has come to learn.
- Go to the Guardian open weekend – This was one of the best things I did last year. I went on my own to this event which was held at the new Guardian offices near King’s Cross. I spent a day going to lectures, listening to live music, snooping about and marveling at all the clever people. I also met Ian McEwan and developed an inappropriate crush on him (as I may have mentioned before…). It was a brilliant day and I’ll definitely try to go if they run it again.
- Go to one of the blogging conferences – I missed all of these last year, for good but boring baby-related reasons. It would be great to meet my favourite bloggers in real life.
- Tidy up my blog – it’s nearly two years old, so time for a bit of a re-vamp I think. I also need to think about Pinterest, Instagram and all that jazz, but somehow there never seems time.
- Write more – I’d like to find more time to blog as well as pursuing my other writing ideas.
- Read more – I’ve got so many unopened novels on my bookshelf as time to read is at a premium (read non-existent). Sleep deprivation and the baby still sleeping in our room aren’t helping, as the only time I’d get the chance is before bed and by that point I’m too tired and wouldn’t want to turn the light on. Which brings me to…
- Reclaim our bedroom – I like having the baby in our room because I don’t have to get out of bed at night to feed her, but it would be nice to be able to read or listen to the radio without worrying about waking her up. Once she’s sleeping through, it’s time to move her out.
- Get the baby christened – Little Boy was christened, and I’d like the baby to be, too.
- Finish all the craft projects I’ve started – I’ve got half–knitted baby booties, two sets of bunting to run up and a ton of Christmas decorations to make (though they can wait until towards the end of the year). I need to get them finished and move onto other things.
- Go on holiday – It feels like a long time since we went away on a proper holiday, so last year I took the unprecedented step of booking us a week’s holiday months and months in advance. We go in May and I can’t wait. I’d also like a weekend away with the husband, but that might be a wish too far.
- Work out what to do about work – Do I stay at home with the children and hope my brain doesn’t melt or do I try to find work? If so, will I be able to find something that’s interesting but also gives me flexibility to be there for the little ones? And do I do what I’m trained for or try something else? Not sure. Watch this space.
- Go camping – this doesn’t fit into the ‘holiday’ category as it’s always a bit of an endurance test, but I do love camping and would like to go away as a family even if it’s somewhere very local.
- Sort my hair out – my poor hair. Neglected doesn’t begin to cover it. Suffice it to say that I haven’t graced a hairdresser since well before the baby was born and she’s now on solids and sitting up. Oh and it turns out, in case I was in any doubt, that my natural hair colour doesn’t suit me. Disappointing as it would’ve saved a fortune in highlights.
- Write a will – morbid but, given that I’m a lawyer by trade, it would be bit embarrassing if I fell under a bus and hadn’t left a will. It’s been on my to-do list for years. The fact that I could actually write it myself in a couple of hours and still haven’t bothered to makes it even worse that I haven’t got round to it.
- Make sure the boy is in the system for starting school – I think I might need to do something at some point about him starting school, so need to find out what that is. Or there’s always home schooling. Ha!
- Meet new people – moving back to my home city has made me majorly lazy about meeting new people. My family is around the corner and my closest friends are a 10 minute drive away, so I’m quite happy with my social circle. However I probably should make an effort to make some new friends (even if I don’t feel I have time for the once I’ve already got).
- Sort out our photos – I’ve got thousands and thousands of pictures on my phone and computer, only a tiny handful of which have been printed out. I really want to sort them into virtual folders and then choose a select few to print and frame. I’d also like to do photo books for the Boy and his baby sister.
- Write a diary – realistically I won’t have time to write a full diary entry every day, what with being too busy living life and all that. So I’ve bought a 5-year diary called ‘One line a day’ in the hope I can at least manage to write a sentence or two to sum up each day.
- Revive my social life – I dream of being able to meet my friends in the evening, wearing clothes that aren’t covered in puree and brandishing a handbag that’s not full of boxes of raisins and packets of crayons. Once the baby’s a bit more predictable I hope it’ll happen.
- Have another baby – Only joking! Just checking you’re still paying attention….