I moved into a flat in a village at the beginning of September. This was a cost-saving exercise as - whilst I found myself suddenly living on my own at the beginning of the year supporting my little boy - I have now had time to adjust and realistically discover what I can afford. Because of having little money to spend outside of standard living costs I thought it the responsible thing to do to move into a more affordable home. This new flat is in a nicer condition than the house I moved from, the neighbours are lovely (two out of the four of them are named Jim) and it is in the catchment area of an Ofsted Outstanding-rated primary school and nursery.
Moving to the flat has reduced my travel time to work, cut my rent and reduced my bills. I have also moved my son to a childminder's (he was in nursery before) and because I am still continuing to be sensible about what I eat and in particular portion size, I am also saving money on food. It's early days so I won't see how much I really save for a couple of months until I get into the routine. I am already noticing the reduced trips to the petrol station though.
The reason for me posting today in particular is that it is exactly three days until my 30th birthday. I feel that this is a new era I am entering into. I can no longer be the fun-loving 20-something who struggles to make ends meet whilst supporting a toddler. I am entering into proper grown-up territory. The territory whereby I should have a pension, should be saving for the future and should be making long term, short term and contingency plans for my son.
I think I will wake up on Saturday morning and feel like a whole new person. Will I have an unknown confidence that will emerge in certain situations that before I felt I never had the credibility carry off? I was described by my boss today as, "lacking tact" when writing certain emails. Will I no longer have the excuse of being a young green 'whipper-snapper' for being so blunt? Does becoming 30 automatically have expectations in society, and will I be able to live up to them?
I struggled to know what to do for my birthday to celebrate. I realised I didn't have the urge to go out and forget the evening through drunkenness. All I want is to spend the day with my friends. They have been there through the thick and thin of it over the years and it would be great to have those who mean the most to me in one place at a civilised lunch in a country pub. I won't have my son with me, which I think will be difficult. However, I will be able to truly relax without having to worry about what mischief he's up to.
And he is a mischief-maker.
This last month is as though a switch has been flipped. I'm wondering whether it's perhaps his age (now two and a half) or perhaps the move which has been unsettling for him. Perhaps a combination of the two. He has slipped back into his old ways of getting out of bed at bed-time, hitting me, throwing things at me and one week he soiled himself like clock-work daily (just as he was dressed in the morning and we were about to leave the house).
I'm not sure where I heard it, but someone once said to me that the key to successful parenthood is bribery. I am beginning to realise the truth in this comment. Although it sounds like it should perhaps not be encouraged, my son actually responds to rewards such as stickers and marshmallows when all else has failed. I don't agree that food should be used as a reward, and yet I still find myself offering food stuffs because I know that food is one of my son's favourite things in life. He's happy and so I'm happy. This tactic is especially useful in the middle of a supermarket car park when he refuses to get in the the car, having an impromptu screaming tantrum like a crack-baby, whilst onlookers stare at me as if I'm torturing the child. But....sugar highs are ridiculously exhausting. With his size it doesn't take a lot to tip him over the edge. Balance, therefore, is paramount.
I'm now three dress-sizes smaller and although I haven't been going to boot camp recently, I haven't gained any weight and I am continuing along the straight and narrow. As Christmas looms dangerously near I will have to take care not to trip up on the slippery road of temptation and give into the voices in my head urging me to indulge.
The Sea Monster
I know you're wondering what happened there. Well....I ignored his texts for a week after our date because I didn't know how to tell him I wasn't interested (I know, I'm a pathetic wimp). He finally left me a voice mail to say that he didn't think our last date went well, and he didn't think we should see each other again. Phew.
The Sweet Swede
A few weeks ago the Swede and I had the "exclusivity" conversation. I still only see him every other weekend on average. We always have a great time, but I wonder if it will only ever be a fun dating experience without the nitty gritty of a serious relationship. That thought was even more to the forefront of my mind when he mentioned there's a chance he'll move back to Sweden next year. I suppose I'm just trying to live in the here and now, enjoying the moment, and being taking out for dates. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I would eventually like someone to make long term plans with, someone to share the load of looking after my son and someone to nag after a long day. I just don't know if it's him yet.
Onwards and Upwards
The weekend is set to be a busy one. It will involve a wedding party of a couple of friends of mine, my birthday luncheon and a day with the Swede. Next week's post promises to be written by a career-hungry, healthy-eating, 'body-is-a-temple' believing 30 year old woman and mother (can't be 'Mummy' any more when I'm 30) with a sensible outlook on life, an interest in children's education and a desire to complete a Business Degree.
But wasn't she there there all along?