Just like that, the decorations are down and we’re back into the routine. Gone are the lazy family lie-ins, watching Fireman Sam in bed on repeat. Instead, we’re right back to 6am alarms, childcare drop offs and racing into the office. One day in and the holidays seem like a lifetime ago and in a desperate attempt to make the return to the grind more palatable, we’ve snatched moments already talking about trips and plans for this forthcoming year. But what about the one just gone? It seems sad to just let it disappear without a trace.
2017 was our first full year as a family. From our first New Year’s Day together, it’s been a whirlwind of activity and emotions. It’s been a year where I returned to the workplace after maternity leave and struggled to re-find myself amongst the new demands of ‘work me’ and ‘parent me’. There have been times when I’ve cried, so many times; out of frustration, out of tiredness, out of sheer desperation at not really knowing what I’m doing. There have been weeks where I’ve doubted myself; doubted what I’m doing with my life, doubted the choices I’m making for my family, doubted those around me. And there have been times when I’ve wanted to say enough is enough. That one person cannot be everything to everyone. That despite knowing it and repeatedly giving others this advice, I need to listen to myself and accept that I am only human.
Yet for every moment where I’ve struggled, there have been a million more that have made those grey times pale into insignificance. Work, home, motherhood; each one has been filled with achievements that make all those hard times and worried, sleepless nights worthwhile. After a shaky start, I’ve re-found my feet in the workplace and been hugely proud of what my team, one that I created and nurtured, my first baby, have achieved.
At home, we took the plunge, spent our entire savings (and a whole heap more) and built the extension our house so desperately needed. Our two weeks at my parents house turned into eleven and the build wasn’t without it’s stressful moments, but looking back now, it was worth the grey hairs. After three years of living here, we finally have a space which invites open-plan family living, gives our son a huge amount of room to play and allows us to room to just be. And whilst we still have a mountain of bills to pay *gulp* and the entire upstairs (and stage two!) to do, it’s been an adventure that we wouldn’t change for the world.
Throughout all of that, there has been one constant. My boys. Dave, who continues to drive me crazy on a daily basis, knows absolutely no words to any nursery rhyme and provides the constant in our home to balance my schemes and plans out. But in particular, my baby. In 2017 we went from being parents of a baby to parents of a fully fledged toddler. He learnt to walk, he learnt to talk, he turned an entire year old. Every single day there is something that tests me and yet every single day I find myself turning to my husband and saying the same thing, ‘How did we make such a great kid?!’
He’s funny, cheeky, fast, vehicle obsessed and oh so chatty. That’s been my favourite part of the year; being able to hold conversations (albeit stilted ones) with this little perfectly imperfect human being that I made. Everything is ‘green’ in his world, every word you utter is repeated and stashed away for him to bring out at the incredibly right time and every little action is incredible to him. He lives for walks, ‘Bella’ the dog and tractors and despite the very best of my intentions, he’s obsessed with Fireman Sam and chocolate cake.
As I sit here writing this, I can’t help but think back to the me of last year; tapping away on her computer in the evenings on here, one day back into the workplace and frankly a little terrified. I felt guilty about working, unsure of myself and excited about what the next twelve months were going to bring. And in all honesty, I could sit here and say I feel exactly the same way right now. The guilt of parenthood never leaves and despite being a year further down the line, I’m still that unsure girl who can’t quite compute that she’s an adult just yet. But most of all, I’ve still got that excitement in me. 2017 was exhausting, stressful, challenging and a million more things but overall, it was great. It got me to where I am now and if 2018 is anything like that, then I’ll be a lucky girl indeed.
What a year it’s been… Farewell 2017!