I think it’s safe to say that 2016 was one of the worst years of my life. And I stupidly spent a lot of it sat feeling sorry for myself. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now you’ll know that at the beginning of the year I was having some issues getting Oscar to sleep at night. I eventually managed to find a simple trick that helped him to nod off at a reasonable time for a while, but he soon began to fight it and it wasn’t long before all my hard work came undone and he stopped sleeping again. It was really frustrating!
As the months passed he got later and later going to sleep and I would find myself unable to concentrate on anything. I just wanted to sleep and I felt really sick all the time. Nathan refused to help look after Oscar, and even though he was off work at the time he wouldn’t even stay up with him for one night so I could get some rest. So I decided to tell my family how I was feeling in the hope that one of them would offer to look after Oscar for a few hours one afternoon so I could have a break. Unfortunately it didn’t have the desired effect, and although they gave me sympathetic looks all they said was that Nathan needed to be helping more. But of course I knew that already! The only person I felt I could talk to who understood how I was feeling was my mum. And I definitely kept a lot from her as she’s already got a lot on her plate looking after my dad, who had a stroke a couple of years ago, and my grandma, who isn’t well. I didn’t want to stress her out anymore.
During the Summer months Stacey was an absolute star and came to my rescue. She would sit with Oscar for an hour or so here and there so I could close my eyes or get some housework done. But I didn’t want her to be stuck indoors helping me all the time. After all, she’s only 13 and I wanted her to be able to go out with her friends and enjoy herself whenever she could. But I appreciated all her efforts to help me.
September soon rolled around though and it was time for Stacey to go back to school. And as the colder weather started to creep back in I started to feel poorly again. But this time it was worse than before. I started getting migraines that would last for weeks, and some days I could barely lift my head up, I was so weak. Yet I still didn’t get any help. And that’s when I started battling with the demons in my head …
I remember sitting on the sofa at night thinking that since no one wanted to help me, it must mean that everyone hated me. And from there I started praying that I wouldn’t wake up the next day. After all, no one would miss me. I’d eventually fall asleep and wake up to the alarm an hour or so later. I rarely felt any better and I’d spend the day wishing there was an easy way out of life. I don’t know how long this went on for. To this day it still feels like forever. Then one night just before Christmas something happened that made me realise I had to pick myself up and stop feeling sorry for myself : I think I almost killed myself.
I say ‘think’ because I honestly don’t know what happened to me for a while. One minute I was sat cuddling Oscar on the settee and the next I was stood in my kitchen holding a knife that was pointing at my chest. I have no idea how I got there or what made me pick the knife up. But I do know that for a split second I thought about plunging it into myself. The thought of ending it all and being free of this pain made me feel almost euphoric. But then Oscar began to cry, and I realised that if I wasn’t here there would be no one to care for him and Stacey. And that wouldn’t be fair on them. I love both of them so much and want to make happy memories like the ones we used to have. I want to watch them grow up, see whether or not they get married and have kids of their own. All I’ve ever wanted is to be a good mum.
And so I put the knife down and went to comfort my son. I remember rocking him and crying for so long that night. I hadn’t realised just how sad and helpless I’d become. I shuddered at the thought of what might have happened if I hadn’t snapped out of whatever trance-like state I’d seemed to be in. Would I have ended my life? I’d like to think not but I honestly don’t know for sure.
This is the first time I’ve talked about what happened that night. I wanted to write it all down somewhere so I could remind myself that no matter how dark and endless my days feel I want to be here for my kids. I don’t want to miss out on their lives just because I’m feeling sad and alone. And so I’ve decided to set myself some little goals to try and achieve during 2017. I think having something to focus on might give my life a bit more purpose. They’re nothing major, but if I can complete them it will be a step in the right direction to a much brighter future!
This New Year I’ve set myself 5 personal goals that I’d like to achieve by the end of 2017 …
01. I’m going to try to be a better mum.
Oh God. This is where I have to be brutally honest and say I’ve been a crap mum this last year. I’ve gone from being patient and loving to super stressed and shouty. And I hate it. I know it’s because I’ve not been myself – lack of sleep and support really messes with your head – but I’d still rather not be like this. I’m trying to remain cool, calm and collected in all situations and I’m hoping it will help us all feel happier in the New Year.
I’ve also put a new day time routine in place for myself and Oscar. It’s chock full of fun indoor and outdoor activities, and I’m hoping that cramming more in to our days will tire him out more so that he goes to sleep a lot earlier at night. The only thing that worries me about this is that we very often go to Nottingham for long shopping days and these never seem to tire him out, so I’m not sure anything else will!
02. I’m going to start eating healthier and try to lose some weight.
I’ve noticed last year that I’d started to plonk on weight like crazy. And as I hadn’t really changed my diet other than having the odd mid-night snack here and there, I couldn’t understand why this was. When people started asking if I was pregnant – which I’m definitely not – I decided to pay a visit to my GP to see if she could shed any light on my sudden weight gain. And I was shocked when she told me that lack of sleep can drastically slow the metabolism down, causing the body to use less energy for simple tasks like breathing and eating, as well as slowing the rate at which calories are burned.
As I currently hate the way I look, I know that I’ve got to change this. And I think if I can start getting more sleep, eating a little healthier and exercise more often that I’ll be able to achieve this. I’m thinking of documenting my weight-loss journey here on my blog as well. Would that be something you guys would be interested in reading? Let me know in the comments below!
03. I’m going to make more of an effort to catch up with family and friends.
I feel like I really neglected seeing my family and friends last year as I always seemed to be ill or just too tired to leave the house. And I absolutely hated it. So this New Year I’m vowing to make more of an effort to see them. In fact, I’ve just taken the first step and sent a text to one of my best friends to ask if she fancies meeting up at a local soft play centre with the kids on Friday. Hopefully she’ll say yes! And it goes without saying of course that I want to make lots of lovely new memories with Stacey and Oscar. Because I missed out on doing that last year too.
04. I’m going to learn to drive.
I actually started to learn to drive when I was a teenager, but I found that I couldn’t afford lessons every week, so I ended up quitting. At the moment I’m finally in the position to be able to afford weekly lessons, so I’m going to get some booked in before I chicken out! I think I’m going to go for automatic lessons rather than manual as I have scoliosis (which is a curvature of the spine) and I remember struggling with the clutch a little the last time I drove.
05. I’m going to save £1,378!
A couple of years ago I took part in a money saving challenge which guaranteed I would have £689 at the end of the year. I remember feeling really proud of myself when I completed it, and of course the extra money for some New Year treats made the kids extremely happy too! For some reason I didn’t try saving any money last year, and I was really disappointed with myself, so this year I fully intend to take part in one again.
As I’m hoping to be driving by the end of the year I’ll be needing to buy myself a car. And let’s face it, they don’t come cheap! So this year I would like to put £1,378 away in my savings account towards a little runaround. The challenge I’ve decided to take part in this year is a weekly one, just like last time, and it’s really simple to follow. I basically start by saving just £1 the first week, and then add on an extra pound every week after that. So on week 2 I save £2, on week 3 I save £3 and so on. Then, by the end of December I’ll have the full £1,378 (plus interest if I keep it in a savings account or ISA). Provided I don’t have any mid-year emergencies and have to dip into my savings of course.
I’ve also set up a ‘savings goal’ on my online savings account (I’m with the NatWest), and whenever I log in I can see how well I’m doing. I think a visual reminder is always helpful when you’re doing something like this. And I’ve just transferred my first £1 across to my account too … whoop!
BLOG & YOUTUBE RELATED GOALS:
Next up I’ve set myself 5 Blog and YouTube related goals …
06. I’m going to say ‘yes’ more.
Over the years I’ve been invited to absolutely loads of blogging events and I’ve had to say no to the invitation because it’s been too short notice or I couldn’t get a babysitter. It’s really disappointing, especially as I’ve enjoyed the few events I’ve managed to go to. Oscar starts school in September though, so I’m hoping that by the end of the year I’ll be able to start saying ‘yes’ to more invitations like these. Let’s just hope they don’t stop coming in now I’ve said this! Haha.
I’d also like to finally meet with some of my lovely blogging friends who live a fair way away from me. Emily from London Beauty Mum, Becca from Mrs Jones London, Jada from Unique Young Mum and Hayley from Sparkles to Stretchmarks I’m looking at you guys here!
07. I’m going to have a blog redesign.
It’s been a while. I’m ready for a new look.
08. I’m going to try and post daily from today.
Years ago I used to post twice a day, every day. And although I know I don’t have time to write up 14 posts a week, I’d like to try and blog daily again from today. I’m not going to get wound up if I don’t manage it though. I’m only human and last year taught me that sometimes life gets in the way of being able to sit down at the laptop and just write!
09. I’m going to try to be more consistent on YouTube.
Last year Oscar and I started our very own YouTube channel, and we absolutely love filming for it! We haven’t uploaded for a while as we were super busy in the run up to Christmas, but this year we’d like to try and be a lot more consistent with our content so people know when to expect new video’s. We are hoping to film and upload 5 a week, Monday through to Friday, and then take a break at the weekend so we can spend time with Stacey.
And if you’d like to come and take a look at what we do, our channel is called ‘Oscar’s Toybox’ and we play with and review toys for kids of all ages. This year we’d like to take our viewers on more days out and things like that as well as our family fun day at the farm video seemed to go down really well!
10. I’m going to stop comparing myself to other bloggers.
One thing I do a lot is compare myself with other bloggers. When I read other people’s blogs I see better content, prettier pictures and bigger followings. And I’m not going to lie – it sometimes gets me down. Then I remember that I have lovely readers who leave me such wonderful comments, share my content and take time out of their busy days to say hi on Twitter or Facebook. And that makes me happy. So this year I’m going to try not to compare myself to anyone else and just enjoy what I’m doing until you guys decide you’ve had enough of me. I hope that’s OK with you!
SOCIAL MEDIA NUMBERS I’D LOVE TO REACH BY THE END OF 2017:
And as I’ve been working hard on my social networks this last few months I’d also like to reach some higher follower numbers on these too …
Bloglovin’ – 3,000 (currently 2,412)
Twitter – 7,500 (currently 6,849)
Facebook – 1,500 (currently 1,388)
Instagram – 4,000 (currently 3,074)
Pinterest – 4,000 (currently 3,483)
YouTube – 1,000 (currently 521)
And I think that’s everything. Wow, this post went on a lot longer than I expected it to. Did anyone actually make it to the end?! LOL.
All that’s left for me to say is that I hope each and every one of you made it safely in to 2017 and I want to thank you all so much for sticking with me over the years. I truly appreciate every single comment, tweet and ‘like’ that you leave for me, and as I said before it makes me really happy.
Here’s to the next twelve months!