Here we are. Two big life events in one week.
Ciaran turned 6 months old yesterday, he is a smiley easy-going baby (I know everyone must hate me for saying that) who has (now) fitted into our lives so seamlessly that it is hard to remember life pre-Ciaran (that’s what having two kids in two years does to your IQ). I remember my first cuddle with him, feeling his warm wet tiny body against my skin and knowing that I would love him so much like it was just a few minutes ago rather than half a year.
I officially finish work at the council on Saturday 31 (not that after 5 years of service, training all the staff now working in the office, all the panel members in Bedfordshire and some of the Headteachers; they felt fit to mark the occasion with the usual send off presentation). Ben had his last session at nursery yesterday and that is it. I am now officially in sole charge of two small children all day five days a week.
I’ve worked to some extent since I was 16 and started baby sitting to supplement my monthly allowance, I graduated to a fulltime office junior post whilst waiting pessimistically for my A’level results and then tempted in offices every holiday while I was at Uni.
I graduated and grafted in the hard world of recruitment (its NOT like HR, its a blokey boozy sales culture and you work bloody hard), I took a scary salary drop and went back to admin when I knew that I couldn’t hack another day in my job and then a month later got a job at a junior managerial level in the the DSS.
I grafted, I managed staff and took a secondment to London where I led a small team of change consultants, convincing jobcentre staff to push bank accounts and get their claimants off giro’s and order books. I took a job in local government, the only thing I understood was that I would manage some staff, the rest of the job was gobbledegook to me but I managed somehow to bluff my way and stayed there for 5 years. I tried to build a cohesive team when two disparate groups were forced together, I project managed a new IT and admin system being installed, trained people, learned a lot about the law, avoided being judically reviewed and got some excellent training courses (a week residential committee admin course, train the trainer and PRINCE2). It was a great job and a great experience. For the first time in my adult life I am not working in a ‘proper’ job.
Like anyone I find change a little hard (ironically as much of my working life was spent selling and managing change) and the final goodbyes to nursery staff (and Ben saying in his cute baby voice “Goodbye friends” to the other children) hit me hard. Fordfield at Ruxox has been a marvellous nursery offering tailored care for each child (they even offered to make food to order each day for Ben) with well trained, caring staff. Ben has come on so far since he joined the nursery just over 18 months ago.
Am I doing the right thing? When I worked I consoled my guilt addled self that the nursery staff are trained to look after and stimulate children, he was mixing with other children and developing social skills in mid Bedfordshire’s finest nursery. Now he will stay at home with a Mum who rarely gets time to do her hair properly or apply make-up. Leaving all of that expert care behind I promised myself I would try to fill the void:
I promise that I will
Let Ben help me cook something at least once a week – regardless of the mess on the kitchen floor and the fact that he eats more raw cake mix than I do.
Take the boys to a play group or kiddie class at least once a week to get us out of the house and meeting other boys and girls.
Find ways to start teaching Ben his numbers (he can nearly count to 10).
Read to both boys (not just Ben) at least once a day.
Once in a very blue moon let the kids do proper messy play (preferably on a sunny day when I can turn them loose in the garden and hose them off before they come inside).
Regardless of the weather get both kids outside at least three times a week.
On the upside deciding not to go back to work (largely because I wasn’t feeling comfortable about some of the changes in my absence and decided that I would only go back if I was earning a fortune or loving my job most of the time) has been liberating. I’ve started doing things I wouldn’t have considered.
I’ve been appointed as a clerk to a local school governing body (a little evening time professional work to keep me vaguely skilled up in case I go back into the same line of work one day), I’m thinking about writing a book about the appeal process (I couldn’t have done this before as I needed to be impartial at all times) and I’m starting weightwatchers leader recruitment.
And…. the greatest job of all. Mum to two little boys with no professional help. I may not know the Early Years curriculum or be wildly keen on the idea of letting Ben make his own bread rolls but I can grit my teeth and allow the mess and I can do the best I can for my little family.