I am starting to look back on 2016 as the year is drawing to a close. Each year I conduct an annual review before I set my goal for the new year. It is important to know where you have been so you can work out where you are going to head next.

In the process of doing this, I realised I have learnt a great deal this year. Lots of small things of course, but also three very big things.

What you teach boys before their 13 does come back
In her fabulous book 
He’ll Be Ok: Growing Gorgeous Boys Into Good Men, Celia Lashlie says:

Every bit of information you push into his head before he turns 13 and the testosterone starts to move stays in there and will eventually re-emerge."

And I have found this to be so true with my almost 18 year old. While there is still room for growth, he really is turning into a good man. He has manners (may not always show them to me though!), he is articulate, he has empathy, he knows right from wrong (may sometimes run a fine line with this one!) and he is good company.

Lashlie also noted that:

"Mothers, particularly white middle class mothers, are overly involved in the lives of their adolescence sons."

And I know that for our eldest child to turn into a good man, I had to get out of the way. I had to let him make decisions on his own and I had to be supportive and encouraging, without being a nag or micro managing him.

I cannot say I have done this perfectly. I was in the way too much in the first year or so of adolescence, but I have certainly improved and our son has taught me a lot, for that I am grateful.

2. Less time on social media is a good thing
As a blogger, part of your work is to spend time on social media. It is so easy to justify your time on social networks by calling it "work". This year I made a commitment to spend no more than 15 minutes a day on social media for personal use and to minimise the time I spent on social media for work. I schedule out almost all of my social media and just pop in briefly to check on things and respond as needed.

It has been one of the best decisions I have made all year. At first I felt like I was missing out. I would hear friends talk about something someone had posted on Facebook or Instagram and would feel like an outsider, but I quickly moved on from that. People are happy to fill you in on the details!

Being on social media less has saved me so much time. It is amazing how much time a day you can lose on social media. It has also had a huge impact on my stress levels. So much incoming information can be overwhelming and stressful. It fills up your head and thought space. My head feels much lighter and happier without the constant barrage of new images and posts coming in at it.

I am not anti social media and think there is also a lot of good it can do. I do think however we need to be conscious of our social media consumption.

3. A productive life feels good
This year I launched a podcast and an online course. To achieve that along with keeping the blog going, but not increasing my work hours, I needed to be super productive. Reducing social media certainly helped with this, but I changed the way I worked. I focused on content creation as my key task each day and took a learnt to let little things go. The feeling I would get at the end of a day, when I knew I had spent time creating something tangible and positive for my business, was so good. Being productive feels good.

There were days when I wasn't so productive. I would procrastinate before working or spend too much time in my inbox and I never felt as good as I did on the days when I had been productive. I would get to the end of the day and feel like my work day had been wasted.

Naturally you cannot work at 100% every single hour of every single day, but making sure the majority of my days were productive made me feel good and this had a positive spill over effect into home life.

So now I would love to hear what you have learnt this year! If you would be so kind as to take a couple of minutes and hit reply to this email and share what you have learnt, I would be so appreciative. My plan is then to collate these learnings and share them in a post on the blog.

Sometimes we learn the most when things don't go as planned or go wrong. 2014 was like that for me, so if you have that sort of year, I would love to hear what you learnt from that too.

Looking forward to reading your responses!


Other posts from the blog on this topic:

How much freedom should kids have? - At what age did you let your kids start going out on their own, walking to school, staying home on their own etc? Every family will be different, but in this post, I share what we have done and what is working for us.

this family life episode 29: on solo parenting a teenager - It was great to chat with Jen about her experience of parenting a teenager. There isn’t as much real life info around on parenting teenagers and I love hearing what other parents do. In the podcast Jen shares honestly about the challenges of parenting solo, how she manages technology with her teenager and her best tips on parenting a teenager.

Pram Jam 

It’s a harrowing fact that one in 130 pregnancies in Australia ends in stillbirth – a number that is tragically higher than the national annual road toll.

Pram Jam is calling on mothers, fathers, grandparents, family and friends to push a pram from Monday 21 November to Sunday 27 November 2016. You’ll be raising much needed funds to help prevent stillbirth and complications from bubs being born prematurely.

Whether it be through donating, signing up yourself or as a team, or spreading the world about the initiative with your community using the hashtag #MercyPramJam, get on board to help protect the future health of our mothers and babies.

Click here to sign up for Pram Jam.

Sent to:


Nicole Avery, Planning with Kids, Surrey Hills Victoria 3127, Australia

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