It’s just two weeks to go until the end of term, which means our youngest, Eva would have completed her first year at school.
There was a mixture of feelings for me last September. I was happy to see Eva excited to be joining her sister, pleased that they would at last be in the same place making drop offs and pick ups easier, and a little bit happy to be getting large chunks of my days to myself. I was also a little bit emotional about this new chapter, I worried that I would miss our days at home together and I was excited and worried about what the future held for me! Here’s what I’ve been up to (so far) this first year of having both kids at school.
As it turns out in the first couple of months, I landed a big freelance copywriting project which kept me busy and stopped me wallowing. But since November it has been a funny time, full of ups and downs. I’ve had a few regular projects to get on with and a couple of larger ones, but it hasn’t been consistent enough to keep me busy on a regular basis and I’m not very good at waiting around and sitting out the quiet times. Currently, I’m waiting to hear about 3 fairly large projects from clients (and all just in time for the summer holidays!).
Back in January, fed up with not having enough to do, I started job hunting. I was looking for something part-time to ideally fit in with the kids and my freelancing work. I’ve since applied for countless positions and have only realised recently just how naïve I’ve been in thinking this would work. These jobs are like gold dust! Every other Mum out there is probably looking for the same thing – a flexible job which fits in around the children. I’ve had 5 interviews. 3 of these were for a job in marketing which is my background. One was for a random admin job and another job was for a teaching assistant within a secondary school. In retrospect, whilst this last one would have worked around my children, I probably hadn’t given a lot of thought to the fact that on a daily basis I would be dealing with teenagers!! One of the interview questions even asked me how I would handle behavioural issues in a 16 year old (cue nervous laughter and shifting in my seat!).
In 2 of those interviews (unbelievably including the school one!) I made it down to the final 2 people but then it was given to the other person. Just this week I found out that I’d again been pipped to the post by another person for a part-time proof reading job within a marketing agency. Feedback from the interviews has always been brilliant which is good I suppose, but ultimately it’s still a rejection!
I’ve put job hunting on the back burner for now. With a 6 week holiday looming, and no child care arranged, I’m determined not to be down-hearted about this and instead enjoy the summer with my kids.
When the freelancing dried up back in the autumn, I threw myself into writing. I regularly entered into short story competitions (coming nowhere!), continued to write this blog and then started on the BIG IDEA of writing a novel. Some of you may know that my Mum is a published author and writing is something I’ve always loved doing so I thought, with some extra time in the day, this could be the perfect opportunity. I started with such enthusiasm, I set myself a target of 1,000 words a day and was meeting it! I was so pleased with my progress, I could see myself being finished and published next year. This was going to be my THING and my PURPOSE in life. Again how naïve! I’m not sure what happened. I suppose a few days not meeting my word count made me slow down. Countless times of coming nowhere in writing competitions again dented my confidence to the point that I stopped altogether. What was the point of carrying on with it? I felt crap about the writing and crap about myself. So I shelved it. It has only been in the last couple of weeks, that I’ve felt the pull to get back to it. To write for myself and my enjoyment rather than trying to win competitions or get a publishing deal!
Family history has always fascinated me. 8 years ago I joined Ancestry and loved trying to trace my ancestors back as far as I could get. In the last month, I’ve gone back to it with the intention of finding out more about the stories behind some of my ancestors. I’m especially intrigued by my grandparents’ and great grandparents’ stories from the World Wars as well as any other interesting stories including suicide, war stories, emigration and violent assault. Photographs and documents that we found in my late grandmother and great aunt’s house have all helped to make this vividly come to life. I’m still enjoying working on this project!
The rest of my time is divided up between the dreaded housework, cooking, running (usually two mornings a week), volunteering at the girls’ school and occasionally meeting up with friends.
So, as the first year draws to a close with having both kids at school for the first time it has been a mixed bag for me. I’ve had days of pure frustration and irritation at getting nowhere with job hunting or having not much to do other than housework. I’ve had some days of indulgence where I’ve visited friends or family. And then I’ve had some really busy days of getting a project done for a client.
Bottom line: I still don’t know what the future holds. I still don’t know what my purpose is, whether it will be more of the same or if change is on the horizon with a job! But I’m trying not to get too stressed out and worried about it. For now, I’m set to enjoy the 6 weeks summer holidays with the kids at home.
How about you? Do you work? What do you do if your children are at school? Let me know!