When I returned to working life, I promised myself that, as well as devoting more time to my girls, Andy, my family and my friends, I'd do something for ME. It's taken me nearly a year to actually practice what I now preach to my coaching and mentoring clients and to the charity leaders that I'm working with, but I have decided on the thing I'm doing for ME, I am honouring my commitment to myself to not work full time hours, and I am LOVING my new Friday routine:
8.45 - School Run
9.00 - Catching up and finishing off bits of work from the week
11.45 -Turn off my laptop and my phone REGARDLESS of whether I've finished or 'done enough' (I put my Wellbeing out of office on)
11.50 - Out come the boots, the hat, the jodhpurs, and the gloves (and today, about an additional 6 layers) and off I go to my riding lesson.
1.15 - walk like John Wayne back to the car
1.30 - lift legs out of car, stagger back into the house, have a coffee and clear up before Friday-after-school-armageddon begins
I remember someone telling me that the ultimate aim of any parent should be to keep your children safe, healthy, happy, stimulated and loved, and to try to give them that which you wanted as a child.
As a child I ALWAYS wanted a pony. My sister and I were both horse mad. We'd spend our weekends were we could, at my grandparents house and would hang around at the local stables, generally pretending the horses were ours, and probably getting in the way. Our grandad even made us a wooden horse on wheels which we used to drag each other up and down his drive on. But (as I'm sure you don't need telling) it wasn't the same.
Part of the mental healing process of me taking control of the parts of my life that I'm able to, included our move to the back of beyond on the West Pennine Moors. Gone are the suits and heels - up here the standard wardrobe is boots, LARGE coat and a bobble hat. And the horses outnumber the people.
My girls are both as horse-mad if not more horse mad than I was. The 5yr old climbs on to her rocking horse in full riding gear including boots, hat and whip, and watches videos of Charlotte DuJardin and my cousin, Gareth Hughes, on Youtube. The 11yr old gets off the school bus at the stables 2 nights a week and spends from 4pm - 9pm helping out in lessons, grooming, mucking out and has the odd lesson thrown in. They too have been bitten by the bug.
And, because we live in a place that makes it significantly easier and cheaper to do so than living in the middle of a suburban housing estate as I did as a child, Mr W and I have decided that we will buy a horse of our own.
So, I'm getting back in the game. There is no way I'm going to own a horse and not be able to ride it myself, so I'm back having lessons. My thighs generally feel as though they're my own about 4 days after each lesson but I'm loving it.
I'm also loving that fact that I'm doing it for me. No-one can call me, email me, or even find me! And the enforced escapism of that time is amazing.
What will you do for YOU today???