It’s one of those standard interview questions isn’t it, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?”  I used to have all the answers.  Not anymore.

Before I became a parent I lived very much for the future.  Short term I lived for the weekend and the nights out.  Longer term I was all about promotions, property, and marriage proposals.  It was all part of the 5 year plan.

I am a planner.  It’s in my nature.  But with the arrival of small people in my life (yes, it was part of the 5 year plan) I began to live in the moment, and didn’t really plan anything much more in advance of a play date the next week.  Small people have an innate talent for putting a spanner in the works of best laid plans.


Why I don't have a 5 year plan


Today I had a rare moment of calm and stillness.  Alone with my thoughts I started to think about a 5 year plan.  I didn’t get very far before I realised that in 5 years the little one would be older than the big one is now, and the big one would be 11.  I then got a bit weepy at the thought of my babies growing up, because right now 11 might as well be packing his bags and leaving home.  So I stopped with the 5 year plan.

Being a parent has given me a new appreciation for time, in the sense that I know how quickly it passes us by.  I know every parent says, “It only seems like yesterday,” but it really does.  I blinked and 6 years have flown by.  I look back at my life before kids and yes, sometimes I miss the spare time that I had.  The time I got to spend in the bathroom.  Alone. The time I got to laze in bed on a Sunday morning with no one prizing my eyes open, demanding to be fed, or requiring me to be anywhere else.  The short time it took me to leave the house before 2 became 4.  Now there are 8 feet for 8 shoes, and 8 arms for 4 coats, and enough bags to look like I was going on holiday.  For a month.  Leaving the house is a military mission that should be recognised in some kind of award ceremony for parents.

Mostly I look back at my life before kids as a different lifetime.  It was a happy one, but a very different kind of happiness to now.  There were a lot less grey hairs though!

Sometimes I look back to the newborn days and I feel sad that I will never experience that again. I feel cheated that it all went by so quickly.  But then one of my small people will bowl me over with a bear hug, or tell me something they have learnt today, and I am back in the here and now, loving the people they are, and appreciating all that I have.

Becoming a parent changes the measure of time.  It’s not so much about hours, weeks, months and years.  It’s measured in the time between feeds.  Units of sleep, or lack there of.  Milestones and growth charts.  Changing faces in photographs.  First steps to first loves.  School pick ups and term dates. New shoes for ever-growing feet, and the piles of outgrown clothes for the charity shop.  Reading levels, and ever-changing out of reach hiding places.

We urgently will time to slow down so they stop growing too fast.  We wonder where our helpless babies went.  Then we will it to speed up so we can get over the current ‘phase’ of biting, saying the word “poo” on average 72 times a day, or the Ninjago obsession that is costing a small fortune.  

There are moments in parenting when time inexplicably stands still.  Normally in confined spaces such as cars, for prolonged periods of time when you just been asked, “are we nearly there yet?” for the 157th time, and you are fighting a strong urge to jump from the moving vehicle.

My head is often tied up with tomorrow and what needs to be taken to school, and what do I need to prepare for dinner.  I’m equally proud and embarrassed by my gift draw, for moments of forward thinking, sale bargains and forgotten emergency gifts for last-minute parties. My calendar is full of appointments, after school clubs, meetings and play dates.  But as for the 5 year plan?  Forget about it*.

The Measure of Time


*If I don’t forget about it, you will find me weeping in the corner and muttering something about, “It only feels like yesterday.”


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27 Comments on Why I Don’t Have a 5 Year Plan

  1. Jenny
    May 10, 2016 at 10:28 am (6 months ago)

    So so true I couldn’t agree more. I have been thinking a lot actually about this lately. I am the ultimate planner. Every minute and aspect is a to do list or a future goal/plan thought out. This year seems I haven’t been doing much of it in terms of my five year plan where I want to be, do, accomplish, check off, and have. Kids definitely change that and give you a better perspective on life. I love this. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. I have enjoyed reading your blog posts and so grateful for you linking up. I hope you will continue to link up in the next few weeks as I had the reins over to the new Share With Me hostess and continue long after linking up with her too. #sharewithme

  2. Becky, Cuddle Fairy
    May 9, 2016 at 4:06 pm (6 months ago)

    I think that living in the “now” as a parent is the best thing you can do! Enjoy those baby days, toddler days & each stage as they grow up because as you point out, they go by too quickly! Thank you for sharing with #bloggerclubuk x
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy recently posted…April 2016 at a GlanceMy Profile

  3. Laura threesypeasy
    May 9, 2016 at 6:58 am (6 months ago)

    I ALWAYS had pland but as soon as kids came into the equation I knee I would have to forget the plan- even at conception stage! If I have too many plans I tend to put everything into them and forget the now. I don’t have them anymore. Lovely post x

    • Laura threesypeasy
      May 9, 2016 at 7:02 am (6 months ago)

      Oo spelling mistakes – meant ‘plans’ and ‘knew’ x

  4. Louise | Squished Blueberries
    May 6, 2016 at 8:52 am (6 months ago)

    I have always been guilty of constantly looking forward and not enjoying the here and now enough. I think finally, now that I have three children, I’ve stopped doing it. Firstly, I don’t have time, then there’s the scariness if it all (I don’t want my babies to grow up waaaaah!) and also I’m just kind of content with everything how it is…. Great post!

  5. Joanna @mumbalance
    May 5, 2016 at 11:05 am (6 months ago)

    I know what you mean. Whenever I try to think too far in the future I have to leave the kids out of it. It makes me feel like I’m wishing time away. And I’m definitely not!
    With arrival of my 2nd – and last – baby I really hold on to days and moments, but they speed so…

  6. BecomeMum
    May 5, 2016 at 9:20 am (6 months ago)

    I agree, being in the moment is all that I can handle as a parent. I just want to make it through 5 minutes sometimes! #brilliantblogposts
    BecomeMum recently posted…Rehoming family. Punk.My Profile

  7. Fiona - Coombemill
    May 4, 2016 at 11:26 pm (6 months ago)

    5 year plans are scary with kids, my youngest have just turned 12 and my eldest is 18 tomorrow. 5 years ado I couldn’t have imagined now, it happens all to quickly. Enjoy them being young and Well done on the BIBs, a great result! #Sharewithme

  8. laura dove
    May 4, 2016 at 8:49 pm (6 months ago)

    Lovely post, and so true. I have never been a planner, it has been my downfall somewhat across the years, but I do understand how becoming a parent can change you in this way. We never make plans, from one day to the next, as I know that even something like a temperature from one of the children can throw our plans, so now we just take it one day at a time and play it by ear. I seem to be doing more and more of that these days, in other words, winging it! #sharewithme

  9. Whinge Whinge Wine
    May 4, 2016 at 3:30 pm (6 months ago)

    If I am still alive and have my sanity (or, enough of it) in five years then that is enough for me! The rest doesn’t really matter. Although obviously I plan on being a millionnaire #bloggerclubuk.
    Whinge Whinge Wine recently posted…MAD Blog Award Finalist – Best New BlogMy Profile

  10. Mummy Fever
    May 4, 2016 at 11:15 am (6 months ago)

    I am also a big planner BUT also feel like this since having children. I like the idea of goals and there are things I’d like to achieve but the children are changing by the day at the moment and I feel over planning wishes the “NOW” away somehow #sharewithme
    Mummy Fever recently posted…Using hair wax to create smooth plaitsMy Profile

  11. An imperfect mum (Catie)
    May 4, 2016 at 10:22 am (6 months ago)

    I am with you absolutely no 5 year plan. I used to have one but then life just got too busy. Also having a child with special needs forced me to change my outlook as one of the first therapists we saw told us not to look too far into the future and they were right! The picture I painted was nothing like the reality… Live in the now, enjoy the now because who knows what’s round the corner? Great post and congrats on being a finalist – very well deserved!
    An imperfect mum (Catie) recently posted…Autism and illnessMy Profile

  12. justsayingmum
    May 4, 2016 at 9:52 am (6 months ago)

    I love this and you;re so right we do need to live in the here and now – I’ll come join you in the corner if I find you! But, sometimes, when we sit at dinner and chat it is really interesting to ask the children where they see themselves in 5 years – it’s a lifetime to them but with mine being nearly 17,15 and 13, in five years they are going to be shaping their lives for their real futures so sometimes worth a shot at discussing – as much as I want to sob behind my very large glass of wine! A great read though lovely #BloggerClubUK

  13. Sassy
    May 4, 2016 at 8:06 am (6 months ago)

    A really lovely post! I don’t have children yet, but I’ve heard this saying a thousand times… It makes us sit up and appreciate how quickly time flies by! Congratulations on being shortlisted! 🙂 xxx #BloggerClubUK

  14. Cal at Family Makes
    May 3, 2016 at 4:29 pm (6 months ago)

    Wow, what a great and thought-provoking post. I must say, I kind of gave up on 5-year plans because life just gets in the way and does what it wants anyway! It’s good to have a vague sense of direction, even when you have kids, but as you point out, 5 years is such a massive leap in child-years, it’s too scary to contemplate! Love your blog btw, would you be offended if I message you some questions about it? I’m very new to blogging and have just found everything I want to be in one page xx

  15. jeremy@thirstydaddy
    May 3, 2016 at 1:30 pm (6 months ago)

    I love this post. Time is such a weird thing now. The past five have gone by very quickly but to look forward another five seems like so far away. I’m a bit older and it feels like I’ve lived several different lives now
    jeremy@thirstydaddy recently posted…True Bathroom FearsMy Profile

  16. Rhyming with Wine
    May 3, 2016 at 1:27 pm (6 months ago)

    Absolutely and utterly YES! My little one has just erupted into a hysterical fit of tears because he has broken… a cracker. That he was eating. In half. Now one half in each hand. He is bereft. Part of me wants to laugh, part of me wants to shout “It’s just a bloody cracker – Man up!”, but the biggest part of me feels so very lucky that right now in his teeny little life, this is the worst thing that he has to worry about. I want time to stop right now and for it to stay that way. Beautiful post Claire. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for linking up with #FartGlitter x

  17. Mess and Merlot
    May 3, 2016 at 12:50 pm (6 months ago)

    I can relate to EVERY . SINGLE . WORD. It’s so true that time goes quickly and having kids made me appreciate just how precious time really is. It’s good to have goals to achieve and things to look forward to now as a family rather than a ‘5 year plan’. I feel that my future has now kind of been planned out for me in relation to guiding my kids through the trials and tribulation of the years to come, it’s just up to me to add meat to the bones around that! #TwinklyTuesday

  18. Loving life with little ones
    May 3, 2016 at 12:36 pm (6 months ago)

    You actually brought a lump to my throat reading this, It was something i could have written myself. My third and youngest child has hit toodlerhood, he is walking chatting and wanting to be independant and with my middle one starting school in September, I feel very much like you right now. They are growing and changing so fast and although some days I can not wait for bedtime, I wish time would slow down too. Thank you for linking with #MaternityMondays.

  19. Kat
    May 3, 2016 at 7:50 am (6 months ago)

    I completely get this. I feel I do need some sort of plan or routine though, at the moment I just feel a bit lost. But then it’s finding the time to sit down and actually do all the planning I struggle with. There isn’t a lot of time between school runs, at least not enough time to do everything I need and everything I want! So it can wait for now! #twinklytuesday

  20. Laura @dearbearandbeany
    May 3, 2016 at 7:24 am (6 months ago)

    I love a plan and I feel more comfortable with a plan. But those plans are for things that are happening in my life right now. I can’t see past the next few months, life is just too busy and crazy with little ones x #twinkletuesday
    Laura @dearbearandbeany recently posted…Review: Moony Japanese Nappies…Plus a GiveawayMy Profile

  21. Honeybee Mama
    May 2, 2016 at 11:06 pm (6 months ago)

    Being in the moment is so important. It’s so true that these years are gone in a flash

  22. Helena
    May 2, 2016 at 10:52 pm (6 months ago)

    I’ve always hated that question at interviews. Thanks for sharing your take on it.

  23. mummyofboygirltwins
    May 2, 2016 at 5:55 pm (6 months ago)

    I was always a planner, loved it and being in control. But since my twins arrived this has also gone out of the window! I try to plan for weeks ahead instead of years and enjoy living in the moment xx

  24. Emma
    May 2, 2016 at 9:08 am (6 months ago)

    YES! To everything you say in this post. I love it. We have to live in the now and enjoy what we have in life. Life very rarely goes to plan but that is what makes it so exciting, we never know where it make take us. Sorry it is a bit early for all of the cheese from me but I love what you say here. Did I say that already? #fartglitter
    Emma recently posted…Like a blogger (at the BiBs)My Profile


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