Friday, April 4, 2008

From nappies to nine to five... anyone else terrified of the prospect of going back to work?

Hi everyone. Sorry for the long silence, this week I have not had a moment to blog. Both Bella and James have been ill and when not busy administering every conceivable natural remedy I can think of, (see next post), I have been completing an application form for a Foundation Course in the Healing Arts that will begin in September. And joining the board of Jemima’s parent-run pre-school. What all this has taught me is: it is true what people say. How ever much I love being at home with my kids, it is quite frankly terrifying to even consider stepping back into the professional or academic worlds of deadlines, meetings, team work and the rest. Oh, and that I hate it when everyone is sick.

The combination of waking half-hourly, to the tune of coughing, crying or the strange night bird that lives in our mango tree, and staying awake when all is quiet again to worry about my incompetence at the school board meeting, failing to get onto the course I so desperately want to do, and the painful silence from editors about the variety of half hearted feature ideas I have been exhaustedly churning out… well, it has turned me into a (just about) walking, insomniac zombie.

By day I have sweated it out with Bella on my back, (sleeping lying down makes her cough), spent too long on the computer, while saying “Yes… yes…. yes? Really? Just five more minutes” to an increasingly fed up Jemima, and then losing my temper on discovering that in the absence of all parental supervision she has gone and painted a wall, given cat food to Bella and eaten all the biscuits.

By night I have let down my friends, cancelled all social plans, the mere thought of having to appear somewhere after bedtime in a presentable state filling me with further fear and loathing. My confidence needs a serious boost.

I was last seen in an office (Christian Aid) in August 2004. Actually that is not true. Last year I revamped the Save the Children Norway offices, but that involved nothing more technical than a measure tape and a lot of shopping trips to the market with someone else’s money. 2004 is also when I completed my Counselling Certificate at London University, the first step on a new career ladder that was happily interrupted by the beautiful Jemima Rose, followed by a rather inconvenient move from Winchester to Cambodia.

This morning, as I finally felt ready to send in my application, I realised I had to attach my CV as well. Last updated a few years ago, most of it seems completely irrelevant now. My areas of expertise are no longer Africa, poverty in all its guises, gender and communication, but breastfeeding, baby-wearing, child development and the best baby carrier on the market (Ergo and Hotslings). Natural health will soon be up there too at this rate.

My professional experience ends so many years ago that most of the CV is now filled with voluntary activities that have filled my spare hours since Jemima was born. Oh, with the odd published article thrown in. Ok, I have written a book, but until that is published that does not really count does it? So I have left that out. My blog? I can’t really put that one down can I? They might read it. Washing nappies? No, doesn’t sound good. An honest personal profile would deter any reader from moving further down the page. Although yesterday I did make an inspired puppet doll with nothing more than a chopstick, a round cardboard lid and some wool. That shows I am the creative type, right?

None of this would matter if it weren’t for my latest revelation, which came to me in the middle of my yoga class on Monday. I want to combine creative arts therapy with Kundilini Yoga and goodness knows what else to work with women, mothers, refugees and children. What a brainwave! Not only does it combine two big passions of mine, it is the perfect portable career which I could work around school runs etc. I bounced home to tell James about my plan. He was very supportive and positive given that this basically means several years of expensive re-training and zero likelihood of me contributing to the family income for the foreseeable future. But you see I followed him to Cambodia, and so I will always have a trump card.

I would love to hear from other mothers about their journey back into the professional or academic world, how they combine it with being at home and how they built up their confidence and caught up with all the latest lingo etc. I feel out of my depth on the school board for goodness sakes. And now to what I do best. Telling other people what to do with their babies… I’m off to write a new post on how to treat sick family members naturally.


Kat said...

I had the delight of handing in my resignation to corporate life this week. It began, 'It is my pleasure to inform you...' :0)

So, how to earn money now? I've re-trained as a childminder so I will have the joy of sharing the journey of other babies as well as my own darling.

You will be fantastic and you know it!

Kat x

Georgie said...

Congratulations! How exciting! How many kids and when do you start?

maddy said...

On Monday I re-enter the realms of full-time work, of the unpaid variety - given, it's only for two weeks, but it is scary nonetheless. I've been a full-time mum since September 2003 and on Monday step into a primary school classroom for a 2 week practical (part of my 3 year, part-time, distance pre-service training to be a primary school teacher).
I keep telling myself that it's only for 2 weeks so it'll be ok but I am so worried about how my youngest, in particular, will cope with the disruption to having his mum around all the time. Although I am on my own out here (no partner or family) I do have a fantastic network of friends who are stepping in to look after him. I'm disappointed that I will be working on his second birthday....and already panicking about the 5 week prac next year. Little Miss will be fine as she'll be at school but as for my baby, he won't be starting pre-school until he's 3 and so will have to be passed around my friends. I'm hoping to swap some courses so that he'll at least be in pre-school 2 days a week by the time the prac comes around.
I'm not worried about the work itself, am slightly concerned about how I'll cope with shopping, cooking, laundry, forget housework, lesson planning etc's how the kids will adjust.
I feel so lucky that it is only for a fortnight.

angelica said...

I've been agonising over going back to a job I love which looks after vulnerable children (which I feel even more strongly about since becoming a mother), and staying home to look after my own!

every time I feel the need to "get out" and start doing something for "myself", we have a challenging week, and wonder how on earth I would manage when I am barely keeping my head above water as it is (no.1 just turned 2, and No. 2 will be 6 months next week)

...more and more inclined to freelancing from home so that I am around even if working, and have control over my schedule...

Georgie said...

Ho hum just wrote a long reply and lost it. But basically just agreeing and looking forward to hearing how Maddy got on. Freelancing would be so great. Bella has been ill lately and I was thinking how on earth would she cope without me or how would she be dealt with? Also not sure how I could cope with strict office hours given B's wakefulness at nights. Sleep training I guess... which is why I don't really work. Actually it is why I am changing career path and training to teach yoga. So I can always govern my own timetable around school and be there to help with homework etc. I have been busy on weekends with my course and James has been there with them but still I can see a slight difference. Bella clings a bit now when I take her - I guess cos she thinks I am leaving again. I'll be interested in hearing your decision - I think it is doubly hard when your work is something you feel really passionate about. Hope you find a good solution Gxxx