The Glossy Mag New Year, New Me Plan

New Year New YouI’m giving in to the lure of the tantalising glossy mag promise of becoming a better me. Yes, that’s right, I’m making some new year resolutions to lose weight/get fit/generally be a better version of myself. Setting myself up for failure? Possibly. After all, (like most women I imagine) I’ve made similar vague resolutions in the past. But I guess that’s where I do feel that this year will be different. It’s got to be. I simply can’t face another year passing by where I’m not really happy but not really doing anything about it. Like my general malaise about my working life, I’ve been dissatisfied with how I look for several years.  Since having children really.

I’m at least half a stone overweight and around a stone heavier than I’d like to be. OK, so I’m hardly obese but I am overweight so there are some health issues, but the main issue is clothes. Life is hard enough without wasting time every day trying to find something in my wardrobe that (a) fits and (b) is reasonably flattering. Finding something fashionable? Pah? Fat chance (excuse the pun). I am constantly battling to avoid “Mum Dressing” because of the extra pounds I’m packing (check out this great article on Mum Dressing by ‘Selfish Mother’ Molly Gunn) and shopping for clothes is never a pleasure anymore.

So… all that said, what am I going to do about it? How exactly is this year going to be different? How can I be sure I won’t be sitting here in 12 months time making the same resolutions?

Here’s the plan:

  1. I’ve signed up to run a 10k race at the start of March and will be following this training plan. I have ran a 10k before and can easily run 5k  so I know I can run 10k but I haven’t actually done it in almost a year! So with the incentive of not collapsing in a heap halfway round the course, I will have some motivation for actually doing some training.
  2. I’m going to supplement that training with Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred DVD. I won’t be doing this every day as I’ll be focusing on my running but I’ll do it on my running rest days and on the core training days.
  3. I’m going to do the 5:2 diet. I started dabbling with this before Christmas so I know I can survive those 2 low calorie days without passing out from hunger, but what I also realised is that I need to carefully plan for those days.

As an added incentive I’ll post regular updates on how the training is going, the low-calorie meals I’m making and, crucially, the pounds and inches I’m losing! I’m officially still on my Christmas holidays so the plan starts on Monday 6 January. Wish me luck!





The working mother’s eternal quest

Is work-life balance like the mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

Is work-life balance like the mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

Does any working mother feel like she has a good work-life balance? Is such a thing even achievable? And what about working dads – have they got it nailed or does the work-life debate not really apply to them?

I have been a working mother for five (long) years, and I’m beginning to thing that work-life balance is like the mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But still, like an eternal optimist/fool I’m still seeking it out!

I’ve always been very career-minded and never for one second imagined that I would give up work after having a baby.  Sure enough after 10 months’ maternity leave/coffee mornings/baby yoga/baby salsa etc I was itching to get back to work. I was able to negotiate a smidgen of flexible working (a nine-day fortnight) and that worked well enough for a year or so before I headed off for my next bout of maternity leave. This time round, I was determined to create a new working life that would satisfy my twin cravings of income/intellectual challenge and spending more time with my children that I did with sweaty strangers on the tube. I set up an online baby clothes boutique, convinced I would become the next great ‘mumpreneur’ and leave the drudgery of commute/office/commute behind. Sadly, it wasn’t to be and I returned to work after a year. The baby boutique is still active but it just doesn’t generate anywhere near enough income to pay the bills.

So for the last two years I have been back on the treadmill. I absolutely do not want to be a stay-at-home-mum – no offence to anyone who does that, but it isn’t a life for me and happy mum=happy kids – but I do not want to carry on working full time in an office with a 45 minute commute each way. It isn’t possible to gain any more flexibility/reduced hours in my current role and part-time roles in my profession aren’t advertised (believe me I have been looking for two years!) so it’s easy to feel trapped but I’m determined to find a way out. I’ve decided to write a blog about my experiences as a working mum in search of that elusive work-life balance and hopefully connect with/learn from others in the same situation/anyone who has reached the end of the rainbow.