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? 🙂

Stop Asking When I’m Having “Baby Number 2”

 

I am in my mid-twenties with a preschool-aged child and have been married to my husband for just over a year now – so it’s time I had another baby, right? *insert eye roll here*
At our wedding people were asking if I was already pregnant again (drinking champagne from the bottle soon stopped those questions). We were asked if we were going to have a super romantic honeymoon baby. A couple of months after the wedding people were checking in and asking if I was pregnant with said honeymoon baby. A year on, people are tapping their watches, commenting on the age gap and generally getting involved in our private business. 
 
Compare that to when my son was still very little and people were telling me that I absolutely shouldn’t have another baby. Some people even commented that THEY weren’t ready for me to have another baby (?!) but my answer has always been the same:
 
That is between me, my husband and my uterus. 
 
Thankfully, the word “uterus” seems to stop most people from making further comment for some reason.
 
I am not going to divulge whether or not we are trying for a baby because… well… That is between me, my husband and my uterus, but here are just some of the reasons why brash comments about a couple’s reproduction can be really inappropriate:
 
1. This is a big one with a trigger warning for infant loss – they have already conceived but have suffered one or more miscarriages. I would encourage everyone to be as open as they feel they can be about these losses but equally, if they don’t want to talk about it then it’s not okay to force their hand or make them lie or brush it off like nothing. If someone has suffered a loss like that the last thing they want to do is smile along and say “oh no babies for us just yet”. 
 
2. They are struggling with fertility and may well be considering other options like IVF, surrogacy or adoption. Unless this person has told you about their struggles and you are just checking in to see how things are going then this is a real stinger.
 
3. They don’t actually want to have (more) children. Yep – that’s right, humans can actually make the conscious decision not to reproduce and their reasons, if they choose to share them, are perfectly valid and you should respect them. From previous pregnancy/birth trauma to just not wanting to raise a family the phrase “you’ll change your mind” needs binning along with “when are you having a baby then?”
 
4. They already know they can’t have children for medical reasons. This can be broad, perhaps due to an injury or illness, complications with a previous child or medication that could make pregnancy risky to the mother and/or the child.
 
5. They’re already trying and if you just hold on a few months they will let you know when they are good and ready. They don’t want to talk to anyone about their sex life. “We’re trying for a baby” = “We’re having regular sex” and that level of sharing is just a little too much for some people. 

 
6. They want to wait until they are in a more stable financial situation or living in a nicer area and they don’t want to talk to you about sex and money and how they don’t like the town you raised your own kids in because that is an uncomfortable conversation waiting to happen. 
Now, I am actually going to hold my hands up here and say I have asked people about when they’re having babies in the past, and more than once I have been shocked and saddened to hear of their losses and struggles but now the shoe is not the other foot I can only apologise and change my attitude. 
 
Let me know what I’ve missed in the comments, I’m sure there are more than six reasons not to ask a person when they are having a baby!