Here’s To You

And so almost ends my first year as a stay-at-home, work-from-home, Momma Bear. How’s it’s been? Oh where do I start? How about with you.

There is no doubt that this year has had its challenges, its ups and downs, its curveballs, its wins and loses, its terrifying Momma Bear moments and its exciting “did I really do that?” moments. I pushed myself every month, every week, every day to make this freelancing gig a success for me and my family, to show the world and you, that with passion, commitment and a stubborn streak, you can do it too.

But without you, without every one of you, who read my blog, clicks onto my website, likes my Facebook posts and Instagram pics, those of you who follow me on Twitter and read my features in the papers and magazines, and those of you who listen in when I happen to be on the radio, without all of you, knowing you have my back and want to hear more from me, I quite possibly would have packed it in before I started.

That’s a painfully long and badly written sentiment but it’s the end of the year and my brain slowly wrapped up writing well at the beginning of the month. Which is why the blog has had a few dustballs around the last few weeks. I started to wind down the end of November and finalise a few projects, end a few contracts and ease up on the writing. And yet I still managed to get Repetitive Strain Injury in both hands mid December!

I’ve enjoyed easing up on my work load and having a few more nights free to binge watch Netflix (The Kominsky Method was a surprising delight FYI. And I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I have only discovered The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt recently!) and break into the box of Roses. Christmas tree goes up and all bets are off when it comes to the Christmas stash.

I couldn’t end another year of blogging without letting you all know how thankful I am to you all. If I could share that box of Roses with you, I would.

Every word I write, I write for you. To know you’re not alone. To know you can be daring and challenge yourself. To know being Momma Bear is not all you are.

That being Momma Bear means you can still be you and chase your dreams.

I’ve wanted to be able to call myself a writer for as long as I can remember. Until I was published, and published consistently, for some reason I could never give myself that accolade. This year changed everything for me.

With features in The Irish Times and The Irish Examiner, articles in Easy Parenting, Mums&Tots, Maternity and Infant Family, and my name being called out over the radio airwaves including Newstalk, not to mention my stroll onto the set and couch of Ireland:Am, I think it’s safe to say, I’ve accomplished a hell of a lot more than I thought I would this year.

I wanted to write. I’m doing so much more than that.

And loving it.

But Freelancing, I’ve come to discover, requires downtime. Time to shut off, forget and ease the pressure of the constant motion of writing, pitching, writing, pitching and writing. Thankfully there is more writing in there than pitching but it’s an all consuming job amongst another all consuming job of being Momma Bear.

Both jobs I love. Both jobs equally mentally and physically exhausting. Trying to find the balance between them has been… tough. No one ever said juggling working from home and being with the smallies would be easy but damn it is tough.

From incessant guilt over taking phone calls or battling to reach deadlines after another DVD goes or the TV does that “your TV will turn off in 55 seconds. 54. 53. 52.” Shit, has the TV been on all day? To being so tried from working late into the evening and not having the energy to dance around the sitting room or the headspace to play dolls again.

But I managed it. I found my stride. Admittedly, deciding to get a childminder for one day a week starting in October played a big part in finding this balance.

At the beginning of the year, I had my doubts. I had incessant fears and worries which kept creeping in. Would I get enough work, would the pay be enough, would I even get paid? Would anyone want to read what I have to say?

Turns out, I did, it is, I have on occasion and they do. If you can follow that, fair play!

I’ve learnt a few lessons in the past year though and I know I have a few more to learn. Most importantly I have to be a bit more ruthless when it comes to invoices and getting paid. But I’ve developed a thick skin, a loud voice and I now know my limits and the level of work I can take on.

I’m quite excited for next year, which wasnt exactly something I said for 2017 or 2018 with a tough pregnancy followed by a fricking Flamingo (postnatal anxiety) pecking at my toes.

But with two secret projects hopefully on the cards for next year and work already lined up for January, I’m more determined than ever to keep writing for me, for you, for the soon to be Momma Bear who suddenly wishes she had someone to vent too, someone who understands and won’t judge.

At the end of the day, we’re all in this together.

We’re all rocking motherhood in our own special way. We did last year, this year and we sure will next year.

Merry Christmas to you all! Catch you in 2019!


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