A FINAL NOTE FROM AMY IN 2020:
(THE WRITER BEHIND THESE POSTS)
I’ll be honest…I drafted this in December, let it percolate and didn’t want/nor had the time and emotional bandwidth to review and edit before I decided to hit ‘send’ in the early days of 2021.
How could I be so ‘thoughtful’ yet ‘careless”driven’ yet ‘disorganized”creative’ yet ‘here’s a canned response”inspired’ yet ‘apathetic’…Hmmmm???
If 2020 taught me anything (let’s be honest it taught me more than one thing), it was about experiencing and dealing with polarities, especially when it came to feeling my feelings and then carrying on in spite of/despite them.
I don’t need to recap the year that has been – if you’re reading this, you’ve been living it alongside me.
This update will focus on what I haven’t been doing, what I created and practiced over the past year instead and what I’m going to continue incorporating as 2021 unfolds.
Let me start with this: I’m tired. But I’m not done.
The medium is evolving but my message remains the same: I believe everyone deserves to design a life that works for them and their family.
That’s what I’ve been writing about since 2010 on this blog and a previous one, and what I will always find myself coming back to, time and time again.
I love travel, creativity, exploring new places, trying new things and working flexibly.
While I couldn’t travel or explore overseas in 2020, I doubled down on the other areas I love exploring: writing, art, creating things, helping others, spending time with my family, learning how to spend ALL the time with my family and listening to my intuition even more.
I also let go of a lot of ‘shoulds’ and shit I don’t enjoy, which came pretty easily to me since I’ve been gradually practicing boundary setting and ignoring messes in our house since around the time I became a parent in 2016.
Back then, I knew something would have to give if I wanted to feel fulfilled, human and like more than a parent (because I was a whole person with a bunch of interests I pursued before becoming one) and I wasn’t about to hand all of it over just because I decided to have a kid (or more).
There are lots more I didn’t do and other things I did in 2020, like family time/bonding with my kids/working alongside my partner/trying to endure/getting out of bed most days/counting to 10 before responding to the same question…the below points were the highlights for me.
Here are two lists for easier reading:
WHAT I DIDN’T DO IN 2020
(and felt great because of it)
- Folding and putting away laundry – it got washed, dried and then piled on a chair in our bedroom for days, sometimes a week or more, at a time, as part of a regular battle to see who would crack and start folding first…scroll for a pic (yes, our furniture is on brand).
- Hosting monthly events – I organized an in person event in February but then didn’t start hosting online events until September because I was in survival mode. Waiting came with a surprise gift – Bayview Yards helped onboard me as a digital event host and people still signed up to join us months later. #noregrets
- Regular exercise – I hate too much routine, so walks outside with my kids and playing in our yard were the main thing we did but never regularly or on a schedule…it takes us between 15-30 minutes to get dressed for winter these days so I aimed looooooow (still do).
- Dishes every day – they get put in our dishwasher but we let them pile up and do the washing up in batches, which is why we bought a LOT of baking trays, ok? We didn’t have a dishwasher in our last two homes in London and feel immense gratitude for our current hard-working machine.
- Crafts or any kind of Pinterest-inspired activity – I am GRATEFUL for remote school because they send me things to print out which largely only require paper, printer ink, some pencils/markers/crayons, a bit of parental explanation and our kids’ imaginations.
- Regular content planning or social media – I get closer every day to deleting FB/IG/TW and going ‘off-grid’, which is why I aimed loooooow with daily/weekly content scheduling and told myself to send a monthly newsletter (and sometimes failing at that) as I gradually plan my social media exit strategy. Maybe by the end of 2021 you’ll be receiving these dispatches in handwritten ink on parchment paper with fancy stamps. Send me a reply if you’d like one of those.
- Read the news or engage in deep conversations – I really felt the need to keep myself from burnout and despite having some times where I needed to rest or recover, I’m glad I stuck to this for the most part. Sometimes I would resurface, engage, consume and then realize the dips in my immune system or increase in anxiety were most likely due to it.
WHAT I DID INSTEAD OF THE ABOVE ITEMS
(within our walls because it was all I could do)
- Wrote and self-published my first book in April 2020 – based on my experiences pitching to countless strangers, bringing my kids into business settings, validating business ideas and building a community of parents interested in professional development over the past few years. Learn more and buy a copy here.
- Spoke at other people’s events and their digitals channels – about remote work, mixing babies and business and working from home with kids for Women In Leadership Ottawa, Treehouse Medical, Female Tech Leaders, The Gifters Podcast and Future of Good Summit. My parent-friendly professional development was even recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Recovery Projects in 2020! You can learn more here.
- Rekindled relationships and let others fade away – this is where I could insert a timely quote but instead I will remember WHY I was a late adopter to most technology…because it can reduce important conversations and human interaction to character counts, heart ‘likes’ or emojis. I hated computers in school, refused to get a mobile phone for a long time, then didn’t want to upgrade to a smartphone (until I eventually did). I kept in touch with most friends and family while I lived in Australia and Europe via snail mail letters and postcards. This year, I went back to making time for the practice of writing to friends, sending care packages and personalizing my messages for those who light me up.
- Created flexible work resources – based on my experiences doing remote work since 2014 to help people who all of a sudden found themselves adapting to a new normal. This included a free remote work with kids time blocking template and a mini e-course for people hoping to transition to a service-based remote work role long-term, if they decided they enjoyed it (I took it down to revamp it but it’ll be back online here soon)
- Interviewed others, learned how to produce and launch a Mixing Babies And Business™ Podcast – with Season 1 featuring 14 mini episodes with business leaders who are also parents, sharing their real-life experiences when it comes to entrepreneurship, business, flexible and remote work with kids. Tune in if you’re interested or share with your network, Season 2 will be rolled out over the coming weeks!
- Got back in touch with my inner voice, intuition and all things woo woo – I’ve always been good at manifesting (although I didn’t always know I was doing it at the time) but this past year I really spent a lot more time reading paperback books, doing intuitive readings for myself, being outdoors (even if I wasn’t going far), journaling freely, writing down my dreams as soon as I woke up and seeing what happened as a result. Despite the lockdown and multiple reversals on restrictions, I’ve kept meeting others online who I feel aligned with and have made some great friendships this year with individuals in different parts of the world.
Grateful to have you reading this as we are head into 2021…
I hope you’ve uncovered some things you’d like to let go of, others to pass the time and things you’d like to embrace more of in future.
If you’re interested in connecting to chat about the past year or your future plans, creative projects or any other questions you may have for me, I’ve set up a calendar where readers of the newsletter can book a call with me via Zoom.
If you can’t find a time which suits you, please reply to this address with your request. Or if video/audio calls aren’t your thing and you prefer to write, you can send me an email to the same address!
Over the coming months, I’ll be focusing on:
- Writing my second book
- Releasing Season 2 of the podcast
- Making time to connect with other like-minded people (like you)
- Looking after my mental health
- Listening to my gut and trusting it more
- Getting outside, even if it’s -20 in winter
How about you?
My love affair with time blocking: FREE training
Give yourself a couple of weeks to see if it helps clear the mental fog, structure your days and knock some tasks off your list.
If you’re like me, at the very least you can tell yourself you tried because you downloaded something in an attempt to experiment with a new routine, even if it doesn’t get implemented every day or you half arse it most of the time.
Do what works best for you and your family right now.
Big (virtual) hugs all around.
Stay well everyone,
– Amy (+ Family) xx
Download the free template:
Remote Work (With Kids) Time Blocking Made Easy [DOWNLOAD]
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