For me, there was always going to be that moment. The moment I realised that the set up of blogging during the gaps of being a stay at home Mum wasn’t going to cut it any more.
A sequence of events in the Autumn of 2018 lead to that moment. When self care pushed its way up the list and fulfilling my own ambitions came back to the foreground.
And so, after a whirlwind few months, and somewhat sooner than originally anticipated, this week I made my first steps back into the realm of work, albeit part time, for an organisation in my previous pre-blogging world of science, healthcare and project management.
Having just returned from the holiday of a lifetime with the family in the United States, someone offered me some advice on jet lag that went as follows: “Rest, take it easy, don’t try and do too much”.
Like start a new job?
In fairness, I came off pretty unscathed by the jet lag despite having got a grand total of zero hours sleep on the night flight home. It’s kind of tricky when you’re serving as a human cushion.
But still, as always the concern was more about the kids, and we thought we’d have dodged it when they slept for the entire flight, but no. Dragging them out of bed for school after Easter break in the UK would have been hard enough, but the biggest challenge has been getting them up and to the childminder in a less than hectic fashion.
It’s been a long, loooong time since I started a new job which felt a real step along in my career. At 37, I’m guessing my last ‘first day’ was back in 1991, and even then I made a ‘leap’ to a different organisation just over the road from the one I left.
I have now managed to stretch my wings to a totally different (and stunning) part of Kent which makes my commute a total joy. I’ve had great fun buying up the all important work wardrobe, and the #HideTheBags guilt certainly feels lessened now I know it’s totally legit (and being paid for by me!).
Being surrounded by new and interesting adults, sharing conversations about their lives, their career paths, their families and their knowledge has been just brilliant. I’ve finally found a way to engage all those brain cells that have been overworked on thinking about stuff revolving around the kids and the house for a long time.
It’s also remarkable seeing how much technology in the workplace has leapt forward in five years.
Back in the distant past of the Mouses nursery 2 of 3, I met a bloody lovely childminder who I always said would be the one person whose availability would see me back to work in a heartbeat.
I guess fate was on my side and after some early initial ‘what if’ discussions, we secured the girls places ready for the big transition after Easter.
Finding childcare is no science. It’s a case of luck, gut feeling, who you know and a bit of letting go. You need to trust your chosen childcare provider and make time to ensure everyone feels comfortable around them. With all the preparation and research, there will always still be that final leap of faith.
I have no doubts that there will be bumps and re-routes along the way (already having to deal with a nursery closure on week two), but I’m seeing now that nothing is impossible if you just go for it.
One of the worries I had about changing the status quo was the fear of getting all the other stuff done, without losing my mind.
In actual fact, having secured a part time contract and alteration to nursery hours to the government funded 30 hours scheme, my ‘child free’ non work hours a week have reduced from 15 to 12. They now however consist of two 6 hour slots and reduce the number of midday pickups to zero, so it actually feels like I have more time than ever. The six hour days have proven to be super productive and all of a sudden popping to Aldi for a food shop seems so much more do-able (after a run / breakfast date / housework binge).
This is all good because as well as parenting, working, there is so much more I want to do. Read, write, run, learn, be with friends and continue to give my time to others.
Finding my happy
Even with jet lag, first day nerves, getting lost on the commute and rubbing shoes, I can honestly describe my mood this week as buzzing. The kids have done amazingly well with the change, considering, and aside from the expected tiredness I know they’ll soon adjust.
I’ve embraced the shared parenting with Dad Muddling Through picking the girls up on the days he is working from home in a strangely quiet house.
I suppose I just feel like this move is the final piece of a jigsaw that’s been in progress for a while now. I wouldn’t have changed a thing, and I know I needed to come to my own conclusions, in my own time. I’ve been fortunate that our circumstances and a supportive husband never put any pressure on me to get back out to work, and the blog was enough to keep me busy for a while.
On being a Mummy Blogger (groan)
And the blog? It’s lovely to feel a reconnection with that hobby with perks once more; in my own time, when I feel compelled to share something. I’m not going anywhere, if only perhaps a little more distant as I focus on absorbing a whole new world which is my priority for obvious reasons.
This shift has been a welcome change from a world where everything I read and write is orbiting around the fact that I am a Mum. Yes I am a Mum, but I am so much more too.
I do wonder already if there was more to it; the real reasons I didn’t return to work for five years? The fact that my redundancy came so soon after having our rainbow baby, still recovering from the trauma of losing our second daughter. A certain amount of fear and anxiety holding me back for so long; my home and my girls being my safe place. And maybe, there was absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s time to make peace with the path that’s brought us here and embrace every positive about it, of which there are so many.
For whatever reason I have no doubt that the past year has been a crucial part of me rediscovering who I am and what I need to thrive rather than exist. Working on the negative mindset from my life and getting to grips with the raw, down and dirty parts of my psyche in order to start believing in myself a little more.
Anything is possible if you believe it can happen.