I always find this time between Christmas and New Year a real mixture of emotions. Excited to be planning the next year for things we want to do, things I want to achieve but also disappointment that some of those things I had planned to do/achieve in 2018 didn’t happen.
Reflecting back on 2018 it has been a year of change and growth for us as a family. We might not have achieved all our goals and even though we didn’t do or achieve everything we set our eyes on we actually have grown so much both individually and as a family.
I remember so vividly this time last year cuddling a very tiny and very poorly Amelia wondering what the year would hold for us. A million questions ran through my head that I just couldn’t answer so instead of feeling excited for the year ahead it brought on so much anxiety. Would Amelia start to put on weight properly and stop dropping through the percentile lines? How would Amelia do with her Reflux and Cows Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA)? Would I find a job in my redundancy period? If I didn’t find a job how would we survive on one wage?
2017 was definitely the best year of my life so far, and leaving such an amazing year with all these big unanswered questions left me dreading 2018. As we come to the end of the year I have been reflecting quite a bit. Instead of reflecting month by month I have been focusing on not what was achieved at points throughout the year but what we did or learnt in 2018 as a whole.
Amelia by far is still the best thing of this year. She has gone from being a tiny 18 week old baby struggling to gain weight trying battle through severe Reflux and a CMPA diagnosis, to the most amazing 16 month old toddler I know. Amelia has learnt and achieved so much and in the space of a year and can now walk, talk, eat solid food, play games, recognize people, dance to music and so much more. She has moved from breast milk to dairy free formula, introduced solid food and been an absolute champ while she has cut through teeth. She has grown out of her Reflux and been signed off by the pediatrician and even started the milk ladder! It hasn’t been easy with any of the reactions from the milk ladder or weaning off the reflux medication, teething or flares with her ezcema but she has handled it like an absolute hero. She is my hero and I continue to be amazed and proud of her and thankful that I get to be her mummy. Lots of people comment that she is quite advanced for her age and she is so clever and I wish I could say that I had a part to play in it but honestly and truthfully it’s all her. I can’t wait to see how much she grows and changes in 2019. I of course miss my tiny baby but actually now is the most amazing time getting to know her little character and personality, and seeing her grow more and more into the person she is going to be.
After nearly 14 months away from work this September I took the plunge and went back to work. It was quite a scary time for me as a ended maternity leave and returned straight into my redundancy consultation period. This was quite stressful knowing that I had a period of time to secure a role before I would be officially made redundant. I was so anxious about what it would mean for us as a family if I wasn’t able to secure a job as well as being away from Amelia for the first time that it really took its toll on me. I tried to stay positive and I painted a picture that I was fine about it all when in reality I was so nervous that I felt sick every day at the thought of what we would do. The pressure that I felt about being able to provide for my family sometimes felt so heavy I couldn’t breathe.
Thankfully I was able to secure a job and stay with my current company which was everything I wanted and although it was only a maternity cover it gave us breathing room as a family to try and work out our next step. That was nearly 4 months ago now and I think my feet have finally touched the ground. The first month was really tough. Not only did I have to learn all about my new role, client and processes as well as the general day to day tasks I had to do this in 3 weeks ready for the person’s maternity I was covering leave date. Alongside everything at work I also had the emotional and the physical challenges of starting childcare for Amelia and leaving her there. That was really tough for me but thankfully we only had a few tearful moments but all in all Amelia has settled in so well and absolutely loves her childminder.
On reflection it was absolutely the right decision to go back to work and I am loving my role at the moment. My hope for 2019 is that I can be made perm in my role and I can continue to drive the work I am doing. It has been a long time since I last felt I had such a positive impact at work; really driving innovations and improvements.
2018 was a year for celebrations and as well as Steve’s 30th and Amelia’s 1st birthday we also had nine 30th birthday’s, eight 1st Birthday’s, one new baby, two hen do’s and two weddings! What a year of amazing moments and memories to cherish. Amelia’s 1st birthday is definitely the biggest highlight for me. Having all her favourite people in one room all for her was just amazing. I love being together with those that I love and I think she is just like me as she loved it too!
Every single one of these celebrations were either family or close friends so I definitely felt the financial impact of so many celebrations on statutory maternity pay!
2018 was a year where I learnt the hard way about relationships both with friends and family. It was a year where I learnt that family doesn’t always mean they care the most and that some friends don’t bother with you once you have had a baby. The hardest truth I learnt this year was that not everyone cared about Amelia as much as they should. It broke my heart that my Amelia wouldn’t get to know some of the family she should or meet some of the friends that I counted as important. That she wouldn’t get to experience some of the family environments that I had wished for her all because they couldn’t be bothered to see her or even ask about her. I definitely got caught up in this for a long time but as the year draws to a close I can only remember that it is their loss. Their loss that they don’t get to know my Amelia. Their loss that they don’t get to see her achieve great things. Their loss that she won’t know who they are. It has definitely changed the way I have acted and it has meant I have lost relationships or distanced myself because of it all. For 2019 the bottom line is if you aren’t going to bother with Amelia then don’t expect me to bother with you.
The silver lining to my dark cloud this year has been the love and dedication that certain people have shown to us. No strings attached and no other agenda other than love for Amelia. This is just the most powerful thing and has kept me going in the darkest of times in 2018. To those that have shown us love, time, dedication and support we can not thank you enough. You have kept us going when we have felt low, lonely or worried and I am so thankful that you are a part of Amelia’s life.
The latter part of this year was really tough for me and I think it was a number of reasons but I mostly felt that I didn’t give 100% to anything; work, Amelia, Steve, friends, family or myself. I missed seeing Steve with all of his work travel trips abroad, I missed spending my days with Amelia, I missed friends birthdays, I missed family do’s and I missed giving myself 5 mins in a day to breathe. I ran myself ragged to the point where I was an emotional mess. I can hand on heart say I think things are starting to settle down to a point where I feel I am more in control and I have more of a handle on things. I am still emotionally and physically exhausted but I don’t think that will change until I know the job I am in is secure. Working a 30 hour week and some weeks solo parenting Amelia is tough but I think we finally have a bit of a routine now that makes it easier to follow. Things at work have settled down and outside of work there aren’t so many big birthdays and weddings in 2019 so feeling less of the financial worry that 2018 brought. I have been selfish but I think now I have got the right balance of work and spending enough time with Amelia.
One of my biggest achievements for 2018 was for this blog. I started “Making a Mum” in 2017 and never thought that I would have the opportunities I have had. Thank you to everyone who has followed my blog, followed my instagram page and liked any of my photos. The year has ended on a high for Making a Mum making it through to the second stage of the UK Blog Awards 2019. What ever happens to even be nominated alongside some of the blogs that inspired me to write is just amazing and I can’t wait to see where Making a Mum has in store for me in 2019.
Looking ahead to 2019 it is going to be a big year for us. Steve goes travelling for 3 weeks with his dad on a trip of a lifetime in May, I turn 30 in June and we are heading to New York in December 2019 🙂 I think next year will be a year of saving, getting the house in order and more importantly spending some quality time together. To achieve great things you need to prepare and I think 2019 will be just that for us.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
See you on the other side!