Somewhere over these last 12 months, I managed to completely lose myself. I’ve been really quiet in this space. What you can’t see is behind the scenes. All the unfinished posts, some just with titles and a few passionate sentences. Some with thousands of words or a jumble of paragraphs I couldn’t bring myself to organise and post.

A year of changes

We always knew 2019 would be a year of changes, the biggest for me was with our littlest starting school. I’ve gone from being a mum of four small children aged 6 and under, to be a mum of four school-aged children. It has left me feeling a little empty – I always suspected it would.

In January I had hundreds of ideas, lots involving helping the community and self-employment. Then in January I started to feel poorly and was struggling just to make it through the day. By June, I knew I had a vitamin D deficiency and we thought I was suffering from MS or ME (my mum suffered, and died from MS when I was eleven).

Thankful, it wasn’t either. I am not sure what really changed, other than my diet and exercise but I slowly started to feel better by the end of July

An unexpected change of plan

In August, Simon landed himself a new job, one outside of education that finally paid him for his skills and passion. We halfheartedly went to view a house in August – just for an idea with no real intention of moving and somehow this whirlwind happened and in November 2019, we moved into a beautiful Edwardian semi-detached house with lots of potential and double the space.

This is a complete change in direction for us. In the early years of our marriage, we amounted a lot of debt, through our student loans, overdrafts and our wedding. When we bought our first house and fell pregnant in quick succession, we dropped from two incomes to one. We had more debt than we could afford, not even enough to make the minimum payments. We were living well below the poverty line:- family, friends and neighbours would give us food to help us survive. We vowed never to have debt again and when we became debt-free in 2016 – our new mission began – to pay off our mortgage before we turned 40 years old.

We always said that our beautiful 3-bed semi-detached house would be the perfect choice to stay in forever. It was a squish with four young children but we figured it would be around 10/11 years before they started to leave the nest – and it was plenty big enough for myself and Simon. Living with less was a passion – if people could survive in tiny homes then so could we! With a pinch of minimalism and a touch of creativity, all six of us could thrive in a three-bedroom house.

So what changed?

Slowly the children grew, and slowly they began to outgrow their space. At a similar point, we realised that it will be different and much harder for their generation to get on the property ladder. Part of our decision to move into a bigger house was to give the children the space to remain comfortably at home well into their twenties, possibly with a partner too. If they choose to move away, that’s absolutely fine too – they have the space to decide.

We know we are very, very lucky. The downside is we have doubled our mortgage, and our plans to pay it off before we are forty are no longer possible, even paying it off before sixty isnt looking so good!

The start of a new year – Hello 2020

And so, we start 2020 in a new house, in a new town, a new school and a new job (for Simon). A total change for us all. The biggest change for me is still Ava starting school. For ten years I have been a stay at home parent, and now things have calmed down, it’s very strange to come home to a larger, yet silent empty home.

My mental health has taken a hit, from the illness at the beginning of the year, the stress of the move and the huge change. And so I plan is to spend some time this year finding myself again. Through lots of reading, walks, growing, digging, creating, crafting, writing, thinking & photography. Through lots of being present with my family and accepting ‘enough’, rather than striving for perfection. Through lots of self-care.

And lots of saying ‘no’ so I can have the time & space to do all of the above.