Time to Bloom


Okay, it's been almost a month since I last posted here. I've tried to, I really have, but there just hasn't been the time. It's as simple as that.

Although, as I've found out, it's not that simple at all.

When I started this blog I set myself a goal of one blog post a week. I thought that was doable - even with being a full-time mum... and anyone of you who takes care of a toddler all day (and often all night) every day of the week will tell you just how time consuming and utterly exhausting that can be.

I was managing it, just about, with some late evenings finishing illustrations or writing posts. But if Little Bear was poorly, or just wanted me to play or read to her, or the chores had stacked up and could no longer be ignored... then work (and I do see this as work, even though I love doing it) had to wait.

Suddenly spring arrived. The weather improved and I wanted to be outside more. We all wanted to be outside more. So days out meant more time away from drawing and writing - although I did get some great inspiration and photos for my Instagram feed, which I've kept ticking over, and there's been some wonderful response. Thank goodness for Instagram, it stopped me vanishing from followers completely.

Spring is a time for emerging from the dark of winter, it's a time of renewal, the time when everything blooms.

This year I began that process by having my long hair cut into a short choppy bob. I haven't had my hair this short for around six years and it felt so good. I renewed my make-up look too, going for a sheer base and minimal, natural colours on my cheeks and eyes. It took a bit of practice to get it right, but I think it looks fresher and more youthful. I took a good look at my diet too and ditched the stodgy winter fare for healthier, lighter, fresh foods and smoothies.

Then we finally picked up our caravan, and took our first trip last week.

Having a holiday away from my usual routine allowed me to put everything about the goals regarding my work - the blog, illustration and photography - into some sort of perspective.

Even though I had so many lovely distractions, sharing time with Tom and Little Bear, exploring new places and revisiting favourite ones, I thought about my work a lot. While taking family photos I continued looking for shots for Instagram and my blog. I took art materials and my tablet so I could draw and write if I wanted to.

It was only when we were on our way home, trundling down the motorway, caravan in tow, that I came to a decision.

As important as my work is to me, there's only one person who's setting these targets and deadlines, and that's me.

When I started this blog and the weekly deadline, I should have added a caveat to myself - you're doing this for you because you love drawing and writing and taking photos. It's a start of easing yourself back into work mode so that when the time comes for Little Bear to start school you'll already have something of your own, something that people are already interested in and following... a new career.

What I never forgot was that I chose to be a mum, I love being a mum, sharing Little Bear's early years entirely in the most intense and fulfilling relationship I'll ever know.

So, when Little Bear wants my attention - even if it's just to admire the stickers she's haphazardly put all over the wrong page in her sticker book, or read Mr Mistoffelees for the gazillionth time (even though she knows the words off by heart now) - I've decided I won't beat myself up for missing another self-imposed deadline.

To truly bloom a flower needs the right conditions - and it's no different for me, for all of us. The demands of life change constantly, they ebb and flow. Years and years spent in working environments that had strict rules and deadlines are proving hard to unlearn, but I have to remind myself I can now swim with the tide, not against it.

My energy levels are already improving, my mind is quieter, I feel happier... I'm ready to bloom.

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