Hello – and a very Happy January to you all, I hope you’ve had a wonderful break. We had a lovely couple of weeks off despite being beset by illness and I’ll tell you all about it in a ‘midlife lately’ post next week. In the meantime, I’m just popping up briefly. The boys don’t go back to school until Monday and so I’m trying to be around while they’re off. You see we were chatting over dinner one night over Christmas and we got on to the usual topic of what was good about 2017 and what could have been better.
Usually when we have these chats, the eldest and I do most of the talking. Mr MC and the middle son chip in here and there but the youngest, in true 14 year old style, doesn’t say much. However this time he said that he felt the thing we needed to improve as a family was for me to be less busy. I was confused at first because I always try to work from home whenever they’re off school and I pointed that out to him. He agreed but said, “it isn’t that you’re not here, it’s that you’re not very present.” Of course I could say that the same applies to him – but that’s not the point.
It has made me think because he’s right. Certainly for the last few months of last year I found myself putting in extremely long hours juggling my job and my blog, glued to my laptop and phone, day and night. Our holiday in Turkey was a particular melting point when everyone was really frustrated by how much time I had to spend working.
There is an irony to this, as longstanding readers will know. Two years ago I walked away from my career because I felt my work/life balance was out of kilter and I wanted to take back control. I hated my job and so it was the right decision. However it’s a different problem when you work for yourself and you love what you do. I am lucky to earn a living doing something I enjoy but the pressure of a self-generated income means that I don’t stop. It’s so easy to disappear down a digital rabbit hole and look up only to see how many hours have passed by.
I’m not complaining because last year was such an exciting one for me both careerwise and in terms of Midlifechic and the recognition that it received. However I definitely got the balance wrong. I neglected lots of the people that I’ve really enjoyed spending time with over Christmas. Having good times like the one in the New Year’s Eve photo at the top reminded me of that. So, before I throw myself headlong into the year, I need to make a plan to manage my time proactively rather than letting it slip away in a cloud of ‘busyness’. I’m particularly aware that with this issue having been raised by my youngest, it’s my last chance to get it right.
My first thought is to be far more efficient with my trips to London and only go if it is absolutely necessary. I have a few other ideas but I thought I’d ask if you have any disciplines that you apply to yourself. If so, do let me know in the comments. I’m sure that others are feeling the same way and it would be good to start the year with some changed habits. How do you balance your immediate and extended family, friends, work, exercise, diet, healthy bedtimes, social responsibilities, the domestic front and everything else that most midlifers juggle? Other than by driving them places, how do you carve in presenteeism with your teens without being overbearing?
There are lots of other things I want to improve this year but this seems like the most important one to start with. I’ll be back to my normal posting routine next week by which time I’m sure I will have magically reorganised my life into one where I can do it all and have time to spare(!) In the meantime I’m leaving you with this Happy January Calendar which was sent to me this week by Lynn who is a reader. I’ve been really enjoying following it so I thought I’d share it with you.
And with that, I’m off to make my presence felt by the boys – let’s hope they enjoy it… happy January everyone!
Disclosure: ‘Happy January’ is not a sponsored post
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