My mother says I over think stuff and I should just get on and do stuff! I am doing so much at the moment that nothing seems still in my house or head! Exciting times but challenging too. Nothing will be quite the same ever again.
On my own with no local family support ( the on-going support of my lovely Mum always constant)I have been juggling earning the money, whilst sorting the home and being there for scraped knees, run away moments and exam celebrations, happy Easter pictures and hugs at school gates. Before this happened I had a reasonably successful career. I had a developing business and was using my intellect skill and knowledge and enjoying myself. I returned back to a wage for financial security and gradually over the years my career goals have decreased as I endeavoured to get the work life mum balance right.
Restructuring at work a couple of years ago meant I took a bit of a sideways hit with a job that I knew so well it has neither stretched nor challenged. Through this I have focused on part time working and home life. Actively choosing to work part time does indeed mean that you have free time, time to breathe but for me it has also meant that I was able to be all the things I have needed to be for the boys and explore some other creative projects too. I have enjoyed walking, drawing and drinking tea with wonderful friends. The biggest challenge about being a single Mum for me has always been the stuff I carry alone in my heart and head and time debating the world and taking on the challenge of small boy’s antics these days off have given me head space and time to reorganise and refresh my head and heart.
The liberty of this time and freedom has had its’ costs. Lack of money. This is the big one. In the last ten years I have kept a roof over my head on a part time income. The liberty of part time work has meant I have carried a constant burden of money worries which has got heavier as my wages got frozen and the bills increased. So on my days off I have increasingly scrabbled about taking from Peter to pay for Paul and creating money making projects. Frightening bills have been resolved by my fantastic Mum. I have had little maintenance (none currently) and have avoided the tax credit trap preferring to earn my own cash but the wonder of child benefit has got us through some hairy moments! In reality a lot of my “spare time” has been spent on wheeling and dealing and pulling rabbits out of hats!
At work the exciting projects or work activity are often on days you don’t work, and the challenge for me has been producing full time work in part time hours to keep up with peers. Perceptions of part time working is that you are not wanting a career, have little commitment and are generally not that bothered about work. This is not an unreasonable perspective from full time workers but for me it became self-fulfilling. On reflection I started to care less, not helped by a sideways restructure, and have done what has needed to be done but somehow lost the passion for my job. There has been little good news at work these last five years. Swaves of cuts in my work place has made it challenging to “care”. Sitting watching colleagues and peers retire and take voluntary redundancy whilst you remain constant at the desk makes you start to think where you are going/ not going in life.
I am fifty this year and when my boss announces his retirement date and I suddenly realise that my weekly trundle to work, tick off the “to do” list is going to change. There is also a job going. In an area where I have skills, knowledge and expertise. But heh I do not want it, I work part time don’t I? I no longer have a career. But this sits there niggling away. I am a bright well educated, experienced woman with skills and knowledge, am I really going to sit in the same job for next fifteen years? My children are growing up what am I doing with my life? Shall I just sit around drinking tea being a poor lady who can’t afford lunch?
I have a sneaky look at the job description, and the salary scale. Oh I could do that I think, no I have done that, and that and that. There are also some really interesting bits in this job. But of course I can’t apply, it will be too stressful, too much work , I don’t have a career. So I am having this yo yo conversation with my lovely man. He simply says you are not alone any more. I am here for you whatever but you can/could do it and I will be with you. It is this simple ; just to know that someone may make supper at the end of the day, someone will discuss your son’s school report with you.I will and is becoming “we”.
So after a challenging but exciting interview I have got a new management job. Fulltime it will involve a lot of work, hard work. Who knows whether I will love, like hate be a success a disaster, time will tell. But I have stepped out of my “no can do” head. Taking some decisions , stepping up and just feeling the fear and jumping anyway has woken me up and I am feeling excited!
So in the next three months I shall be starting new job, moving house, moving in with my lovely man in a new town, and selling my house. The last couple of weeks have meant that I have taken the biggest deep breath and jumped anyway. I have shifted my perspective into being in the driving seat and moving along rather than watching everyone else’s lives ride by.
Yesterday on Fb I read a Buddhist post about gentleness. The result of all the above in my life (taking deep breathes) ironically has been a chest infection and asthma! In all these changes I am about to embark do I need to make them all so hard and harsh for myself? I can make the changes and still be gentle to me? I really pondered this. So I can start this job and let it happen. I can work hard and focus on the can dos. A new school for smallish boy can be an asset, may be the best thing to happen to him. I visited a lovely school yesterday that seemed full of kindness and gentleness. As for moving, decorating and all this hoo haa I can approach the binning out and a bit of decorating as liberating and creative and perhaps I could ask for help? The liberation of having money will mean that I could indeed pay folk to decorate!
Close friends came around last night, drank fizzy wine and celebrated with me. They gave me simple straightforward solutions to kitchen ceilings, much easier than my mind had over complicated and stressed with! So in the coming months as I approach each new challenge I am going to ask , how can I approach this, achieve my goal whilst being gentle and kind to me?
So folks the birds are singing, there is blossom and sunlight and I am going out now for a gentle post coughing walk!