It's Okay To Not Know What You Want From Life

 I turned 30 this year. 30. 3. 0. 

In the lead up to it, 30 seemed like such a big deal. It felt like I was going to have to be a proper adult now,  and finally sort out what it is I want from life. 

I still don't know what I want to do for work. I like my job at the moment and had a promotion at the beginning of the year but I know its not necessarily something I want to do for the rest of my life. I put so much pressure on myself in the lead up to my birthday, losing my mind because I don't have my dream job, because I have no idea what that is. 

At 17, chasing my university course, I had everything planned out. Media Production, directing, writing. Then I dropped out of uni half way through my second year because I hated my course and I didn't want to do media production - don't get me wrong I adore media production, and I learnt loads, but I don't think the particular course I chose was for me. 

Writing has always been a goal, but I have no idea what kind of writing. I guess that's why I started this blog, so I could write something. I also still dabble in short stories, because writing fiction is my one true love but I'm not sure I would want to make that my job. 

So where am I going with this? Truthfully, I'm not too sure. I just wanted to put it out there that plans don't always work out and whether you are 13 or 30, its okay to not know what you want from life. I still have a really good life, with a wonderful partner, brilliant son and we are happy. Would I like to find my dream job? Sure that would be great but for now, I'm okay with where I am, and I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself to find out what that is for now, and I'm going to enjoy getting back into writing for my blog and my short stories, you never know, maybe one day this will be my job. 

The Truth About Solo Parenting

Solo parenting is a very real thing. Sometimes it is considered the same as single parenting and people get offended when parents who have partners talk about solo parenting, but, for me at least, it's a very different thing. 

What is Solo Parenting? 

Solo parenting is, in its simplest terms, when you parent on your own. This could be another way to describe single parenting but I feel that Solo parenting is a much broader term. Single parenting means someone who is not in a relationship, solo parenting doesn't have to mean this. 

I solo parent most weekends. Sam works shifts and out gets 15 out of 52 weekends off a year, the other 37 weekends of the year Harry and I are alone, not to mention the weekdays that Sam is at work by the time Harry and I get home from school/work. This means that I spend around 75% of my time parenting Harry alone. Sam and I are still very much together, and during the school holidays and when he is home, Sam does a lot of the parenting.

Why is Solo Parenting difficult? 

Doing most things alone is more difficult. Parenting is no exception to this. Parenting is a 24/7 job and having to do it alone is draining. Most parents find that with no second parent around, there is no support, no time out, no break. You are also very limited in what you can do. I can't decide on a Friday night I want to go out with friends, I have to have lots of notice, plan around Sam's shifts and try to get a babysitter if need be. 

Solo parenting can also put a strain on family time. Every time Sam's weekend off rolls around we are torn between spending time together, either on a day out or just at home, and Sam and I giving each other a break from parenting. 

And above all, solo parenting is exhausting. Not only is parenting a 24/7 job, it's a 24/7 job that is supposed to be shared between two people. 

How can you make solo parenting easier? 

Here are some of the best ways I have found to make solo parenting easier

1. Have a plan - Plan your day. Are you going to take a trip to the park? Or are you going to have a movie day? having a plan really helps. 

2. Make the most of family - Your mum wants to meet up for coffee? Chances are your child is going to be attached to her and if your mum is anything like mine or Sam's she will take over for an hour for you, make the most of the little break. 

3. Pick your battles - This one was so hard for me. So your child wants to go to the shops in their PJ's? Is it going to cause them or anyone around them any harm? Picking your battles can seem like you are giving in and I worried about giving Harry his way, but honestly, for the small stuff like the shoes not matching or some of their breakfast on their jumper, who cares? Fighting with them about it is just going to make your job ten times harder. In the words of Elsa, Let It Go!

4. Sleep! - The tempting thing to do when Solo parenting is, when your child finally goes to bed, you finally get some alone time and stay up to enjoy it. DON'T! you are already exhausted and being tired for your next day is not going to make it any easier, I promise. 

5. Keep your expectations low - At the end of the day, you are keeping a human alive on your own, so you may not get everything you want to done each day but if your little one is safe, warm, fed and loved, you are doing a great job!

6. Get the kids involved in your housework - Anyone else's house NEVER seem to stay tidy? The kitchen and washing are the main culprits, and I have no idea how, but Harry loves to wash up or help with the washing, so I let him. He thinks its great fun and I'm the best for letting him help, and I'm getting a job off my to do list which means that I might even get a five minute sit down afterwards. 

Do you solo parent? If so I'd love to hear how you make it easier too!

Budgeting Tips You Can Actually Stick To

Everything is getting more expensive. Unfortunately wages just don't seem to be keeping up with the rising cost of living and so people are starting to budget even more and sticking to your budget it going to be even more important. 

This post isn't going to be talking about going without your favourite treat or saving every spare penny and just buying essentials, because that is no way to live and I don't know anyone who can live like that. 

I have tried lots of different methods of saving money and have definitely found these few little changes to be the most useful. Please do let me know if you think of anything else I haven't mentioned here. 

Work out exactly what you have coming in and going out every pay period and when. 

We get paid monthly so work on a monthly budget, but if your pay period is different then you will have a different way of working this out, but I use my planner, which has a monthly view page for each month to plot out when each bit of money is due in and which day I have bills coming out. You can also use a spreadsheet (I use google sheets which is free with your google account) to keep track of spending. 

Have a pot or separate bank account just for bills

We bank with Monzo, which allows us to split our account into separate pots which we can pay direct debits from or round up every transaction to the next pound to save, however if your bank doesn't offer the  'pots' it may be worth looking into a basic bank account just for your bills each month. On your payday you can then move over the exact amount for your standard bills that don't change, ie rent or mortgage payments, gas and electric, car insurance this will then give you an accurate view of exactly what you have left each month to spend. You could take this a step further and move over your food shopping budget for the pay period. 

Meal plan and write shopping lists

This is so important for me. I find that if we go food shopping not knowing what we are eating for the week we aimlessly stroll around the aisles and put random things that we aren't even going to eat into the trolley. Sam and I are both really big impulse buyers so we actually prefer to do our shopping online, but recently we have been having Gousto for most meals which is a bit more speedy than shopping and cooking for ourselves, however we end up saving money and we don't buy food that we don't need. We also waste a lot less food because Gousto measures everything to the perfect portions.  - If you want to try Gousto our referral code is here which gives you 65% off your first box!

Plan treats 

There is nothing wrong with a spontaneous treat, however I find that if we plan a day every so often for a day out, or a take away, it gives us something to look forward to and we don't tend to randomly order a £30 take away that half of gets thrown away! We've had some really good days out spoilt because we have spent too much on takeaways before hand and have no spending money to go with which makes me feel horrible for Harry but now we plan better. 

And those are my tips. Please let me know if you try incorporating any of these into your budget and if it helps!

Where It All Started

Birth Story

Harry's birth story seemed like a fitting first post on here. Bear with me because it was written months ago. More posts to follow ever...