Well here we are, nearing the end of Feb, and where the heck did it go???

Another month – blink and you missed it!

This month has been busy!

We’ve achieved quite a few fun days out here and there to magic shows, museums, and walks in the arboretum and science bazaars and so on. And of course there has been football and after-school clubs and the usual activities.

We survived half term (only just!) and had lots of fun trips to see old friends and family, some of whom hadn’t met S yet. We had quite a few meltdowns and wobbles from both girls, a combination of tiredness and being in lots of new places with new people. I also haven’t been sleeping well lately (god knows why – I’m convinced everything is the peri-menopause these days) so I’m fairly knackered and run down too.

The house is still standing and feels a lot warmer since we have the loft insultation re-laid, though I suspect it could stand to have a lot more insulation added to really make a difference. We are making a long list of all the next things we want to fix and sort out, like replacing all the mouldy silicone around the windows, fixing the leaks and the broken guttering, insulating the external wall along the alleyway, and stripping and decorating the last couple of rooms we haven’t got to yet, etc. Still hoping for that lottery win! But we’ll get there eventually.

S has had another growth spurt and I am astonished at how much it costs every time we need to source new jeans, leggings, school uniform, jumpers, blazers, pyjamas, pants, socks and shoes. You forget that when they grow you have to basically buy EVERYTHING all over again from scratch! I haven’t really had this problem with A as we get given enormous bags of high quality hand-me-downs from a kind friend, but S is older and less keen on wearing other people’s cast-offs! We are hoping to recycle some too-short jeans into shorts for the summer to keep them useful a tad longer, but we’ll see…. (I am attempting to convince her that second-hand clothes on Vinted are really cool and good value but not sure if that will work….).

While it was nice to see some family and friends I haven’t seen for a very long time over half term, we also lost my uncle this month, who had been battling cancer for a long time and was very ill, so that was a sad bit of news. The funeral will be later in March I believe.

We are starting to get ready to go on our big adventure next month to Australia, and also getting ready to say goodbye to our elderly cat who is growing somewhat frail these days.

I have started numerous savings pots for this year, and a spreadsheet to track my budget and another one to track my annual leave allowance. This is the first year I won’t be able to take all the school holidays off, so I am busy saving up for holiday camps for the kids to keep them busy in the summer, and saving up so we can go camping with friends, and working out how many days of leave I can take, and when, so I don’t accidentally use it all up before Christmas etc. It doesn’t help that I keep forgetting to factor in teacher’s strikes and inset days so it feels like the girls are constantly at home needing to be entertained while I need to be at work!

We are lucky that this year we have a couple of really lovely holidays lined up, and lots of fun things to look forward to.

In spite of all those lovely things to look forward to, and in spite of having such a (mostly) cheerful January, I am feeling somewhat deflated this month. I’ve seen lots of friends lately, which has been lovely, but I am feeling really quite lonely at the moment, and I am keen to try harder to see friends and do things. I find nowadays that most of my friends are also busy, overwhelmed, exhausted parents, and it is harder and harder to find time to hang out or socialise, and finding times when everyone is available at the same time is complex. I have cancelled more plans (or been cancelled on) lately than ever before.

My poor friend M and I have been trying to get together to catch up for months but first I was ill, so we rescheduled, then she and her kids all had a chest infection, so we rescheduled, then it was Christmas and everyone was away, then S was vomiting and I didn’t want to pass that bug on, so we rescheduled, and last time M was so knackered she just forgot to show up and called very apologetically half an hour after she was supposed to arrive to reschedule it again. Another friend and I couldn’t find a free weekend between us to meet up for over 2 months, and even attempting to call friends and catch up always seems to get put off as I’m too tired to chat or they’re too tired to chat, so I’ve got a long list of people I really want to see and talk to but just can’t seem to manage it. It feels like it takes superhuman levels of organisation and commitment (and energy I often don’t have anymore) to actually see any of my friends these days, and I miss them. So many of my friends aren’t very local anymore either, so organising to meet up is harder and harder.

But mind you the friends I have seen or spoken to recently have really cheered me up and been proper chicken soup for the soul. It makes you realise how important it is to have friends and foster relationships, especially when you are single and on your own so much of the time dealing with stroppy kids yelling at you all the time – it can feel really quite relentless at times. 

I’m not sure if it’s loneliness or general winter-based ennui but I am feeling very flat and not at all my usual cheerful self this month (which coupled with my unusually bouncy cheerful January makes me think mood swings/menopause again of course).

But hey ho – onwards to March, and more teacher’s strikes to come (wish the Gov would just give them a bloody great pay rise already – they deserve it!!!).

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