What does happiness mean? Well according to the Oxford English Dictionary, it’s “The state of being happy” – which is pretty ambiguous, don’t you think? Happiness means different things to different people and I’ve been tagged by Hannah at Hi Baby Blog to write my non-negotiables list; The things in life that you shouldn’t negotiate on in order to be happy. Self care is a hot topic as we try to be all things to all people – partner, parent, employee/employer, friend, home keeper, cook, blogger (if you are one!), active member of the community – it’s easy to forget yourself in all of that.
Kate from Pouting in Heels recently wrote about her non-negotiables and her post has triggered loads of others. I liked the idea and when Hannah tagged me I thought it would be good to join in. Here is my non-neotiables list, that I’ve thought up whilst sat on the sofa with blocked sinuses!
Sounds silly, right? Being self employed and a work at home mum means that I frequently skip proper lunch breaks, instead I shove a sarnie down my throat with one hand whilst either typing or holding Toby with the other.
I am going to make sure that I sit down and eat my lunch, every day. Whether I manage 10 minutes or an hour, I need to sit down with some food and give myself a bit of time every day.
I realised recently that I don’t listen to as music as I used to. Music is a huge deal to me, it’s meant a lot to me during my life and I don’t like that instead of a CD in the car, I have the radio on low whilst I sing ‘Wind The Bobbin Up’ with Toby and instead of having my favourite tunes on at home, it’s either cartoons, Netflix or nothing. I need to embrace my love of music again, to sing and dance around the house like a loon; on my own, with Phil, with Toby, baby girl and all together. It releases endorphins that then surge through me and I feel happy!
I don’t ‘do’ fashion, never have. I have spent so much of my life not having a clue what my style should be, what suits me, what doesn’t and wishing I had the confidence to wear more than just jeans and plain tops.
As I reach the end of my second (and probably final) pregnancy, I want to embrace these last few weeks with a bump, then endure the time ahead of needing to scope out breastfeeding-friendly clothes, then finally I want to throw out pretty much my entire wardrobe and start again.
We’re in the early stages of buying a new house so along with the boxes of clothes I donated to charity when my bump outgrew them, I will also be getting rid of loads more when I empty out my wardrobe ready for the move. I started to gain a bit of confidence last summer and I truly want to keep that up.
Be they at home, at a restaurant, the pub, cinema or watching the setting sun over the countryside, Phil and I need to make sure we keep them going even when baby girl arrives. When Toby was little we were not only swept away by the normal newborn madness but we had a baby with awful silent reflux who screamed day and night. We still struggle sometimes because of those days, we know that it was far from the trauma that others endure and we’re thankful for that, but to this day every big tantrum, sleepless night or scream-filled day that Toby has makes us panic.
Date nights give us time to be a couple again and we’re eternally grateful to my parents for having Toby overnight most Thursdays because that’s when Phil and I know that we can have an uninterrupted night to ourselves and recharge our batteries. Some people never leave their children and don’t spend a single night apart from them in years, but we need that time.
This is a tough one for me, I simply don’t have any hobbies! I enjoy doing some colouring, I like to go for a run when I’m able to and when I have the time (!) I like baking, but I don’t have anything regular, anything that shuts me away from my phone and computer for a couple of hours and maybe even takes me out of the house and into the company of friends.
I would love to think of a non expensive hobby that can fit around family life so if you have any suggestions then please let me know! Just a note: I’m terrible at anything arty, I live a good 30 minutes from any cities and I get painfully shy in new situations, so good luck with the suggestions!
As Phil and I need our date nights, I also need to learn how to better switch off from my work and blog when it’s family time. I spend too much of my days with Toby glued to my phone to reply to emails, check social media etc and I hate it. I’ve contemplated buying a cheapish phone to use when I don’t need access to emails and the such, but I don’t think that’s really necessary. I simply need to switch my WiFi or mobile internet off between work times. How hard can that be?! Well, for a blogger, copywriter and social media manager it can be pretty hard, but then in the last few days I’ve had the most wonderful fun with Toby and that is so, so much more important. As long as I get my work done, blog when I want to and don’t miss important emails then I’m golden, the rest of my time should go to my family and myself.
I think these things are all achievable and after a really rough week last week, it’s done me some good to think about the things in life that I can control in order to be happy. I can’t guarantee that our house sale and purchase will go through, I can’t cure the ills of the world and I can’t make life blemish free. What I can do, is follow simple steps to be the best version of myself that I can be and in doing so, make myself the best wife/mum/daughter/friend/worker etc that I can be.
I now pass the non-negotiables list writing baton over to:
- Rachel at Parenthood Highs and Lows
- Maria at Suburban Mum
- Aimee at Mum Amie
- Eilidh at Mummy and Monkeys
- Rebecca at The Sparkle Nest
- Ashleigh at Loving My Finley
- Lizzie at Lizzie Somerset
- Aby at You Baby Me Mummy
… And anyone else who fancies it!
What would be on your non-negotiables list? Have you recently made any small (or huge!) life changes in order to be happier and to better care for yourself? Let me know in the comments below or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.