This time next week Ella will officially be a school kid. I’m not sure how I feel about this. She’s too small. I’m not ready… and I am SO ready. With her first day at school fast approaching – I’m becoming melancholic. At her first school visit I teared up looking at the little people wandering around looking like they don’t know what to do with themselves. Their back-packs look heavy and their uniforms too big. Ella is dying to start school and I know she’ll be fine… but I’m allowed to be a little bit sad – my toddler, who has only just graduated from being a baby is now a school kid.
I had no qualms about returning to part time work after my 12 weeks paid parental leave was up. I found being at home with someone who didn’t do anything all day rather boring and was looking forward to life getting back to some sort of normality which at that stage meant a job. Fast forward another year and I had resigned from that job to be a stay at home mum.
One of the main drivers for this was that her first winter had been a nightmare. She (and consequently I) had been off sick with whatever the trending bug was on average about one day every fortnight. It was also when I started to experience what was later diagnosed as (probable) fibromyalgia. Despite an understanding Boss and flexible working conditions the thought of a second winter feeling guilty for taking time off and feeling guilty for sending her to creche (when my gut feeling was that she should be at home with me) was enough for me to admit defeat.
Leaving my job ended up being a bit of a blessing in disguise. Like lots of other Mums I’ve met since; within a few months what had started as a hobby for my husband and I was morphing into something I felt could be a business (of some sort). Starting a facebook page – selling online – booking markets – and starting my own market became my new job as owner/operator of Teacup and Saucer. While the sales supplemented our income the behind the scenes stuff was keeping my brain active and I had one foot in the real world while focussing on Mum duties.
When my husband faced redundancy about a year later – instead of it being stressful we saw it as an opportunity to work together. Yes financially it was hard. We had to accept we’d go into a bit of debt for day to day bills- but we will never regret all of that extra time we had as a family – at what was such a crucial time in her development. You make sacrifices and get really thrifty to make do. We bought second hand – or not at all. We changed our eating habits – (we’re pretty much not eating meat at the moment which has the added bonus for the environment and animals too). When the financial pressure got too much after another year (there’s bills you just can’t plan for) James went back to work – and I continued on with our business.
I’m proud of the achievements we made over the last few years and I’m grateful that we were able to spend so much time as a family… but I am really excited about getting back into the workforce. I’m excited about having regular income. HOLY MOLY do I miss money going into my account regularly. It’s going to feel like winning lotto every time I get paid. I’m excited to have a routine, it can be really difficult to separate your home and work-life when you work from a computer on the couch. The email and facebook notifications come in day or night – and it can be hard to switch off at night. I’m excited about learning something new, meeting new people and starting the next part of our life.
But I wish she’d stop growing… we made the most of it, but we’ll never have that time again. If YOU can think of a way to make money from home when you have a young one – I urge you to give it a go. Kids drive you insane and any Mum will tell you that some endless days is like hell on earth with a toddler – but your reward for surviving it far outweighs the challenges. They don’t stay small forever.