Today started like most weekdays… which is with me battling an (equally head strong) 5 year old to get out the door on time. “Ella… can you get dressed?” “Ella… your breakfast is getting cold”. “Ella… have you brushed your teeth?” “Hang on… Why aren’t you dressed yet?” I have no idea how people get more than one child ready for school/work on time. Fortunately we are a 10 minute walk to Frankton primary so at least I don’t have commuter traffic to battle. I was stoked to find that the op-shop across the road from her school was open early so popped in and found a new (old) skirt and blouse for a grand total of $6.50; what an awesome start to the day! It was then time to get to work.
I’ve taken a part time role as a Recruitment Coordinator for the Women’s Health service at the DHB. I’m involved with trying to attract midwives and doctors to Hamilton to provide obstetric and gynecological care. As you can imagine, promoting Hamilton is second nature to me and I’m really enjoying the chance to be able to utilise my love of the city to attract others here.
I rushed back to school a bit earlier to attend a meeting by a parent lead group who focus on fundraising at the school. We’re working on next month’s Spring Fair. It will be held on Thursday October the 27th and provides an opportunity for the wider school community to visit and help with a number of fundraising efforts to purchase more outdoor gear.
I walked Ella home before heading off to my next appointment. (More serious content now). On Friday – I found a lump in my breast during a self examination. My Gp put me at ease and the awkward process of her checking was not as bad as I expected. She confirmed there was in fact a lump – and she explained to me what happens next. I (like most people my age I guess) don’t have private health cover so will be relying on the public health sector for follow up. I’m now on the waiting list for a ultrasound and mammogram. I’ll probably have to wait about two months… My husband and I did briefly discuss “going private” but given the risk is low… (no known family history and a non-smoker) we feel comfortable to wait. I’ll keep you posted, but do want to take the chance to remind women to check themselves regularly for any signs of changes to your breasts, shape – size – colour and lumps. It’s all about changes.
That wasn’t the end of the day. I’d really been looking forward to the YWCA “Suffrage day Candidate event” as I am passionate about supporting women in politics. It was an opportunity for women standing for local body elections, their supporters and the public to come together marking 123 years since women won the right to vote. The event involved candidates for the HCC, Regional council and DHB introducing themselves and having the opportunity to answer questions in a “speed dating” format. I’ll be writing more about this event tomorrow – but it wrapped up a day which for me was all about being a modern woman. Juggling, aspiring and succeeding in nurturing our families, our jobs and our community.
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.