There are just hours left of 2019. This year isn’t just the end of a year, it’s the end of a decade and that’s kind of a big deal, I think.
If you are the same sort of age as me – mid-30s – the 2010s have been ‘our’ decade. While we technically hit adulthood in the ’00s, most of us truly became grownups this decade. I think it’s really interesting to look back at the last ten years and look at where we started, and where we are now.
I was 23 years old when the clock struck midnight on January 1st 2010. I had not long qualified as a primary school teacher, something I had wanted to be ever since I was in nursery. I was literally living my dream! I was about to start my first ‘proper job’ after doing a couple of terms of supply work, and I couldn’t wait. Graham and I had been together seven years by this point, and while we both still lived with our parents, we were engaged and starting to think about moving in together and maybe even starting to plan a wedding. We had the children discussion, knowing we both wanted them at some point in the future, but still thinking they were a long, long way off.
By the end of that year, I was eight weeks pregnant with Harrison. The speed in which our lives began to change was quite scary, and really set the tone for the rest of the decade – manic, and lots of children!
In March 2011, Graham and I moved into the first of our many homes together. That’s when I really grew up. I was, in the best way possible, a little spoilt by my parents – while I had lived at home, I had barely had to do anything, and suddenly, I had to learn to cook, clean and look after myself. Thankfully, Graham was domesticated enough for both of us! Three months later, the first of our four beautiful children, Harrison, arrived. Alex and Ben came in quick succession.
I think we both adjusted to parenthood pretty well. I never considered myself the maternal type, and I’m not the sort of mum who stays home baking and planning wonderful, enriching activities for the kids. That’s not me. I think we’ve done alright though – the kids are generally well behaved, polite, kind, caring, and most importantly, happy.
As well as many kids, we’ve had many house moves, and as a couple, Graham and I have had more than our fair share of ups and downs. We have always managed to get through it and come out of it the other side, and I actually think now we are in a better and stronger place than we have ever been together. We bicker a lot, but we love each a lot.
After having Alex in 2013, I realised that teaching was not for me. I loved the job itself, but the direction that the profession was heading in scared me, and I just wanted to be at home with my kids, and so I handed in my resignation. The problem is, I didn’t realise how isolating and lonely being a stay at home mum could be. I threw myself into doing lots of crafty stuff with the boys and posting photos on Facebook. An anonymous message from a ‘friend’ telling me I was showing off prompted me to start a blog, and well, look where I am with it now! A year or so after starting the blog, I dipped my toes into freelance writing and realised that writing was my thing. I wanted to be a writer.
In August 2016, with the prospect of yet another house move, we made the biggest and best decision of our lives: to move to North Wales. We had been here on holiday a few times and had fallen in love, and realised it was a pretty good place to raise a family. It was more than a little scary, moving 130 miles away from all of our family and our friends, but we have never regretted it.
2019 has been a pretty big year for us as a family. The final piece in our little puzzle – Elizabeth – came along, and we’ve finally found our way as a family. Graham is a team leader in a job that he loves, and I am doing pretty well with this blog, my other blog, and my freelance writing career.
Along the way we have cut a few toxic people out of lives, but replaced them with some of the very best friends you could ever hope for. I have my squad – a group of amazing women who have my back no matter what, and my friends from uni. I’ve also made some pretty good friendships with some of the mums from school. I gained two sister-in-laws this decade – and they’re not just my brother’s wives, they’re two of my best friends as well. I also became an auntie to my beautiful nephew Freddie. It’s the best feeling after being a mum!
The 2010s were a decade where I lost a lot of confidence but gained it back again. After years of doubting myself, I’ve finally worked out who I am and I’m happy with it. I’ve stopped worrying about what other people think of me, because if someone doesn’t like me, that’s their problem.
I don’t know what I want from the next decade. To be honest, I’m quite happy with how things are at the moment, so plodding along would be ok – although a lottery win or a huge pay increase would be quite nice! I’ll turn 40 halfway through the next decade, which sounds scarily old. I think we will probably get married at some point, but there will definitely be no more children. I think the 2020s will be about making sure that we give the kids the best childhood that we possibly can.