It’s life but not as we know it

So, life has changed for me and my little family.

Before 5 year old was born, significant other and I made the decision that one of us would always be home with our children. That is to say, if we both wanted to work then it would not overlap. We have always believed that people these days are too quick to hand their children over to secondary carers. With an adjustment to your standard of living then it is completely possible to grow up like me and many other 80’s children who had a parent at home at all times. Yes, yes we all want to provide the best in life for our kids but the reality is that we are entrusting our children’s formative years to people who are often total strangers and, let’s be honest, could be teaching them anything. Don’t get me wrong – my friend whose daughter was in full time childcare almost from birth hasn’t, I’m sure, been encouraged to chew tobacco or pick pockets but does she know for absolute certainty that the people in charge of her care were interacting with her and developing her social skills or were they drinking coffee and catching up on their weekends? (Quite like me and said friend do now infact while the children entertain themselves. Which doesn’t count in this context ofcourse because we’re the actual mothers and therefore our own level of neglect is negligible!) Anyway my point is that hubby and I made a decision that we hoped would benefit our children emotionally whilst we worked around the financial consequences.

So having made the decision it was agreed that I would return to work (being the main earner at the time) and hubby would stay home with daughter. When I gave up work at the 18 month milestone in daughter’s life, hubby went back to work. Now we always knew that if we were to both be employed whilst still standing by our plans then I would need to find part-time work to fit his hours.

Well isn’t that bloody well easier said than done! I am shocked and frankly quite appalled at how hard it is to get not only a part time job but a part time job in a supermarket. We all have to endure the weekly food shop and even with the joys of online shopping, at some point we all run out of milk and have to pop in for emergency supplies. Correct me if I’m wrong but there are some total f*****g morons working in supermarkets these days. People far less approachable than sewer rats or pox ridden children. Men and women who are surly, rude, incompetent and frankly not fit to be in public service. So why, oh why, did it take me almost 4 years to get a job with these total f***wits? Please don’t be offended fellow supermarket workers. There is a large and unseen section of you that are massively overqualified for the job you’re doing. You know who you are because you ask yourself daily ‘why am I the only one doing any work?’ I do know why it took so long for me to be honest. I wasn’t wearing the right frame of mind to begin with. I underestimated the importance of pretending I am someone else. The raw truth is that I am surly, rude, often incompetent and not fit to be in public service but with the right frame of mind I transformed myself. My application form was a testament to every hint of customer service I had ever forced on to the people around me. My previous 5 years in HR became the most fantastical customer service role you had ever known – my brief encounters with staff (and they were very brief given that I worked in a poultry processing plant and everyone smelt kinda funky) turned into my aiding of their progress and career development in a friendly and calm way that is a skill you cannot learn in my opinion. I shit you not – these are things I actually said in my interview. Also don’t mistake my expansion on experience as lies. I never lied, I merely focussed on the smallest detail in order to impress. But I digress. Eventually, after years of applications and ‘thanks, but no thanks’ letters I finally managed to step into the world of the unappreciated retail worker. My first 6 weeks were fun. My last 6 months were not. I realised very quickly that I needed more and I also realised that ‘family-friendly’ and ‘work-life balance’ are phrases used only in interviews – so I wasn’t the only one in the room that expanded on the truth!

Back to the whole point of this blog entry – despite ending up in retail I had also been applying for many years to school admin departments. Not just because I had failed dreams of becoming a teacher but come on parents – who doesn’t want to work in a school? No childcare issues during the holidays, no childcare issues outside of school hours, 6 weeks off in the summer – yay! And finally, after eventually accepting that getting a job in a school with no school experience just wasn’t going to happen… I’ve only gone and got a job in a bloody school! Handing in my notice to my former employer felt incredibly freeing and made me realise how unfulfilled I have been for so very many years now.

(A quick sidenote. I know some of my former colleagues and also a very good friend from another retail outlet will read this. The moron comment is not aimed at you!)

So now all that’s left to do is to deal with the slight niggling guilt I feel about arranging childcare for the 2 year old monster for a few months. So much time was devoted to his sister – from both her parents – that I do feel I am giving in by backtracking on my own deal. However, I am also so pleased to be using the independent person side of my brain again instead of just the mum side that I am pushing the guilt aside. Plus, he doesn’t listen to a word I say so maybe someone else’s tone is on a level he can hear?

The time has come to reclaim our life and blimey – its all a bit exciting!

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