This week my children go back to school and a new chapter of my life starts too. For the first time in 13 years I will not have a twice daily school run to do!
My children are now in High School. The eldest will take her GCSE’s in May / June and my youngest is starting Year 7. But this new stage is about continuing to develop their independence and with their school being a short walk from home (rather than the car ride we did to the last school) both children will walk to school with their friends.
Like many parents in the same boat, I have been thinking about what this means for me and what I might use my extra available time for. I work from home and have been doing so through the school summer holidays as always, but where once I had a mad juggle of youngsters to entertain alongside trying to get my work done (which involved many, many early mornings and late nights for me as I squeezed my desk work into the hours that the kids were zonked out!) Recent years have been a little easier. As a morning person I can easily be happily at my desk at 6am in the holidays and manage to get several hours of work done before my teen and tween even rise from their beds! Once they are risen, these days they don’t always want to spend time with ‘mum’, preferring to have their friends round or go out to someone’s house which means I have time to work during the day. I still manage to have the odd day off with them during the holidays, planning our togetherness under the guise of school shoe shopping or ‘back to school haircuts!’ and I enjoy these stolen moments of their childhood, because one day all too soon they won’t require me to take them into town and pay for their shoes so I get away with it whilst I can!
What I noticed during the early summer mornings at my desk, is how much work I can plough through when I am able to get to it with no interruptions. Without having to clock watch or worry about getting dressed, getting the kids up and fed and doing my morning chauffeur stint each day. Just cutting out the school run round trip will give me back an extra hour in the morning alone.
As a creative person I need the space to imagine and produce. As a morning person I am fresher and more clear in the morning and this is when I do my best work, so it makes sense to use my extra morning time from this month onwards for myself – carving out that previous school run time for me. If I allow it to, I could easily find more chores and obligations to fill the time. Running a home never has an off button and family needs are round the clock, so it’s important to remain actively mindful. Being conscious with my choices of how I spend my time so I don’t get to the end of the day and find I did nothing for myself.
One way I have always found useful to be mindful and to create is with pen and paper. My work is on a computer screen so I switch off more easily and allow my creativity to flow when I am away from the PC. Having the right tools makes this low tech time a pleasure. My new notebook is a beautiful peacock journal with a stylish and colourful cover and a rich, thick leather trimmed spine. This book comes with acid-free, bleed-resistant lined paper keeping my written thoughts well organised and neat and it is large enough to sketch in.
To use with it, I have a lovely Caran d’Ache 849 white fountain pen from Pen Heaven. Using a fountain pen takes me back to my middle school where I often used fountain pens as it made my writing neater and therefore my grades better!
With more and more adults looking to further their education and taking time out for themselves by attending summer courses or evening classes, they can find luxury notebooks and pens like mine at Pen Heaven. Featuring arty covers and a range of shades, it’s easy to find something that suits your own personal style and many of the range make excellent keep sakes.
As well as using my notebook to plan out creative content for my blog, this autumn I’m using my extra time to do a yoga workshop too. I’ve signed up for a 4 week local course to expand my yoga practise beyond what can be accomplished in an hour’s fitness class at the gym, so there’s a lot for me to be mindful about this year as the children go back to school!
Thank you to Pen Haven for the journal and pen to review.
Large Peacock Journal £33.90 also available in Blue and Green
Caran d’Ache 849 White Fountain Pen £47.00 also in Black, Blue, Green & Pink