Me Time: Learning something new

In this time of New Year’s resolutions and making promises to “do better this year”, don’t forget you.  You are probably aware by now of the mission of More Than a Mum (if not, click here!) and therefore I’d like you all to look carefully at your New Year’s resolutions and check that you’re not using them as a stick with which to beat yourself…

It is easy to get into a negative frame of mind with New Year’s resolutions.  Looking at the ‘bad’ things you do and trying to improve them is important, but don’t dwell only on what you do that you shouldn’t and don’t do that you should.  I advocate (and have a few of my own) resolutions which fit with the ‘giving up …’ ‘trying to stop…’ ‘making more time for…’ ‘Getting round to…’ themes, but I also think that we should all have at least one resolution which is based purely on a positive and gives you some of that all important “Me Time”.

That is why this year I am going to learn pottery.

I am a learn-a-holic. I’m a teacher by trade and last year I completed my Masters in Education. This completion has left me somewhat bereft.  Doing my MEd kept me sane at many points during the last few years (No honestly, it did!) and the flexible study of the OU was perfect to fit around family life. I love education and enjoy learning for its own sake, but this year it is OH’s turn to start studying, so there is no way that there will be enough time for two of us in the family to be working on academic stuff and frankly I should take a break from essays and all that jazz. But, I couldn’t take a break from learning, hence the pottery.

I really think that learning something new is a great gift to yourself.  It challenges your views of yourself.  It gives you a goal and who knows, it could open new avenues for you. Watch this space for my online pottery catalogue! You could learn a language, take an eyebrow threading course, try burlesque dancing or learn to sew.  It doesn’t matter what it is; how big or how small; it doesn’t matter if it is academic, practical or even pointless, learning something is all about focusing on you for a bit.

As a Mum it is also great to share learning experiences with your kids.  You will be better placed to understand their trials and tribulations in school: they may be struggling to understand algebra and you trying to get to grips with ice-skating, but you’ll remember what it feels like to be learning.  You’ll be able to talk to them about strategies you use to help you learn. You can discuss ways of overcoming difficulties and sympathise about how teachers and/or other students can really get on your nerves!

The things you could learn are endless, the places you could learn them diverse and the costs varied.  For first inspiration you could try googling your postcode and the word courses, classes or learning. I tried and found a photography course, a reki and natural healing course and Spanish lessons in less than a minute. Libraries and local council websites can also be a good place to start looking for ideas, as can local pubs and clubs (my local has Salsa classes in its function room on a Wednesday evening) or shop and community hall noticeboards.

My OU masters cost a fair bit (though some was paid for by employers as it was relevant to my job – always worth asking your boss; the worst they can say is no.) The pottery is run by the Arts Centre at a local University, and costs just over £90 for the term, including materials. Our local Children’s Centre runs various free courses from drawing classes to job interview skills, from yoga to bhangra. Many universities run free taster courses in both academic and professional development courses. If you don’t fancy or can’t afford taught courses there are so many things you can learn for free online. Just google “learn to knit online” if you need an example.

Why not make this year the year that you learn something new?  It might be something you’ve always dreamed of, or something you spotted on a whim on a flyer, but go on, make a resolution to spend some time on you this year: learn something new.

R

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15 comments

  • Lyn

    My resolutions are mostly positive I think, including making 12 cardigans for L, at least one of which will be self designed, growing something in our garden that we can eat (I’m trying to start small!) and cooking one recipe a week that we have never made before (I have a massive collection of cookbooks that are well-read but not as well used as they might be). I find it easier to frame resolutions as learning experiences. My inner nerd is much better at sticking to them that way.

  • A fellow learn-a-holic here, loving this post. I am always starting something new. Last year I took up knitting and crochet (although I’m not very good at either just yet). The year before that I tried photography (which I still do) and learning the flute (which I gave up on for now, but maybe I’ll take it up again when the children are older). I’ve just been bought a lovely sewing book for Christmas so I’ll be trying a bit of sewing this year, which could be interesting as can’t even sew on a button without it falling off within the hour at my current skill level. I also want to pick up learning languages again as I’ve always loved it.

    I hope that other ladies manage to find time to do something for themselves too as I find my hobbies really helpful in helping me unwind and making me feel like I am something as an individual woman as well as a mum.

  • My ‘me time’ thing this year is learning to the play the keyboard – just as soon as it arrives!

    Congratulations on a great blog, and thanks for your email.

  • Love this post and a big ‘hurray’ for you and all the mums out there being more than a mum and learning something new! My life is always about trying new things – 2011 included drumming, Italian and cycling, 2012 is going to be about silver-smithing, machine sewing and kayaking. And that’s only until June!… My motto about it : a happy mum makes for happy kids.

    • Wow, you put me to shame! They do say if you want something doing give it to someone busy. I am always impressed by how much us Mums manage to fit into our small amounts of spare time. Hope you enjoy all those new challenges. :-)

  • Londonmum

    I second this! Let’s bin the “must lose weight, must exercise” resolutions, such a depressing start to the year. I resolve to be a happy mum, a happy person.
    This will start by learning glass blowing. It’s something I have wanted to try for years, ever since I lived in Venice as a student. My husband gifted me a workshop for Christmas and insists I book it ASAP in case I make up excuses about not having time to go! Learning keeps us awake, interested, interesting and therefore more fun to be around for everyone. Good luck to everyone reading on your new experiences!

    • Brilliant – glass blowing sounds amazing. I am fascinated by watching it done. What a fab. hubby to give such a thoughtful gift. He’s right too, go and book it asap! 😉 (…and let us know how it goes.)

  • I’d love to do this,

    but time is not on my side, can i cop out and agree to join my local Glee club instead? who knows I may ‘learn’ to sing!

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