How I use my bullet journal to get my parenting shit together!

You may have been a queen at organisation before you had kids… HA! How is that working out for you now, hmmmmmm?

Like it or not, actually trying to organise your time effectively isn’t going to be easy peasy. For someone like me, who plans out every second of my life so as to suck out the chance of fun and spontaneity (because I am well and truly a fun sucker), this inability to do anything really ground me down.

However, I have a solution, and I am sharing it with you all. It’s my Bullet Journal. I actually love this thing, possible more than my child.

Here are 5 ways my bullet journal has made me get my shit together…

1. Shopping lists

Look, I know this is incredibly anal of me, but I made lists of what I can buy cheapest where. Yes, it took a lot of time, and yes, it was totally worth it. I try not to shop at Tesco (even though it’s most convenient, literally being at the end of my road), and if I’m able to, I shop around and check special offers on http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk

If you can make out my tiny writing and you have these shops near you, feel free to use the list next time you go!

Obviously there’s not every single item on these lists………. THAT would be ridiculous…. ha

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Tesco now sells custard creams the cheapest – 36p a pack. Priorities.

2. Money saving

This is my newest spread (that’s what you call a page in the BuJo lingo, I’m so down with the kids) and I frigging love it. Can you tell what my weaknesses are?
I am going to hit my 30 days “spend free” – it’s not really spend free as I obviously have to buy food and shit to feed my kid, but it’s no spending on anything non-essential. I’ve got days out planned for weekends that are totally free, or if not, dirt cheap. For example, today I went to a local RSPCA centre with Olivia, saw the kittens, dogs, horses, and ducks and had a home made picnic, and all it cost me was probably a couple of quid in fuel and a small donation on entry (and yes, I am having to be stingy, so it really was small! – I’ll make it up to them in a few months’ time).

I am going to be the most frugal mum on the planet if it kills me! I’m fighting all of my instincts to do this and I neeeeeeeeeeeed to stick it out for at least a month or our Christmas is ruined… awkward.

3. Future planning

Anyone like Back to the Future? Do you see what I did there? I’ve literally just completed this spread and I’m feeling all pleased with my artistic prowess (that completely totally doesn’t actually exist but let me pretend for like an hour, okay?).

4. Setting goals

I completed this spread on New Year’s Day, and it has served me well! I followed it up with a 6 month progress spread to see how I felt I’d improved and in which areas of my life…

BUT I won’t be doing this one again. I’ve found myself tracking things I don’t need to track – i.e. spirituality! That’s what happens when you use a template. I definitely will use a similar style to do monthly goals in the future, hopefully utilising some of my CBT techniques!

5. Habit tracking

This was my first tracker of the year, and it worked and it didn’t work. For a start, I was tracking too many things, and I was still insanely busy at the beginning of this year. Now, in line with my money saving agenda, I’m tracking a couple of things. No spend is a continuous one, as are the amount of grocery trips, and then there’s things like blog posts or social media.

You can use this tool to track what cleaning and household tasks you’ve done and how often, or even get the kids to do their own to track their chores and make it a bit more fun… If you think stationery and colouring in little squares is fun… Which I do… Don’t judge me!
It’s such a versatile option and it really does help me get my parenting shit together!
What do you use to get your shit together? 🙂

Mental Health Monday: New Year’s Resolutions

Today is New Year’s Day.

The first day of 2018. Does anyone else think 2017 just flew by?

Anyway, most people reading this will have made new year’s resolutions last night… a few common ones in my house growing up were to stop biting your nails or to lose weight. It’s only since I’ve grown up and left my mother’s house that I actually stopped bothering with resolutions, and realised how superficial those ones are.

For us mummies who have been through the horrors of pregnancy and childbirth, and gained a lot of weight in the process (I gained 3 stone in total!!!), it’s completely understandable that you want to lose that extra weight in the “mum-tum” region. I still have my little tummy pouch and I hate looking at it, as stupid as that sounds. For some people, setting those personal fitness goals might be the perfect way to motivate yourself and get the job done, for others, it can be a clear example of setting our expectations too high and putting too much pressure on ourselves. For me, I’m a healthy weight and not at any further health risk, so waiting until I have the time to spend toning up instead of adding it to my already full plate (a pretty poor expression when we’re talking about weight loss, so forgive me) will help me in the long run. It gives me time to focus on my education and my daughter, without constantly jumping on the scales to see how much I weigh. I know I weigh more than I want to, so what is the point in checking every day until I know I have time to do something about it!

Our blog has spoken a lot about self care, and maybe your New Year’s resolutions are your way of achieving that – great for you! But for the mums, like me, who have plenty going on already, a smaller goal for self care might be better. At the end of the day, if you set your goals too high, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of feeling like a failure and then not being proactive enough to succeed.

2018 is the first year since I left home that I will be setting New Year’s resolutions. But they’re not just about my health and fitness. I’m focusing instead on living a level 10 life, and I discovered this idea through the realms of bullet journal ideas on Pinterest.

Your level 10 life makes you assess each of the ten areas of your life…
1) family and friends
2) personal development
3) spirituality and (my own addition) inner peace
4) finances
5) career
6) giving/contribution
7) fun
8) marriage
9) physical environment
10) health and fitness

You score them out of ten, and then give yourself small goals on how to improve. You can see mine below…

 

I showed this to my stepdaughter and she was genuinely interested in my goals and how I was going to get there. I felt like that was a better message for her to receive than for her to hear myself and her mother saying we wanted to lose weight in 2018 and however many years after that. I had to hear my mother say it every new year and all it did was make me set the same goals when I was old enough to learn and want to follow in her footsteps.

So this new year, focus on the little things you can change to bring you more positivity! Don’t set your goals too high and put extra pressure on yourself… we have enough of that already just being parents!

If you’re already living your level 10 life, then that’s fabulous, but for me, it was a reality check having to assess my happiness and work out how to improve it. I think this exercise will ultimately improve my mental health and help me to feel more positive about life and it’s changes, but time will tell!

Let us know in the comments if you have any resolutions or habits you want to kick, whatever they may be! Or even if you’ve tried the level 10 life spread and want to share its success/drawbacks!

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