Monday, 4 May 2015

From Stay-at-Home-Mum to Work-at-home-mum... diary of a transition

My journey from being a stay-at-home-mum to two gorgeous, vivacious and characterful little monkeys, to being a work-from-home mumpreneur has been a little bumpy just lately. 

At the moment C is at school every day, and Bug is at pre-school two days a week 9-3.  On the three days that she's at home we go to a play-group, go swimming, do the shopping, walk the dog, go to play-parks, do housework and play together.  On the two days that she's at pre-school I try to cram in things like going swimming, taking the dog for long walks, and working.  In the evenings I'm trying to work, do housework, do exercise, walk the dog and occasionally do some Scouting.

I'll be honest here, things haven't been as easy as we hoped since the move from Scotland to Herefordshire.  Hubby's job is hard mentally and emotionally, and he's taken quite a while to settle into that, and been pretty exhausted when he gets home, so I've been doing pretty much all the dog-walking and housework etc.  We're also both suffering a bit from the tension of having an empty house sitting up in Scotland which is taking a very long time to sell and costing money.  Don't get me wrong, things could be a lot worse, the house we are renting is not at all bad, it's just not ours, and we can't make it feel like home because we know that as soon as we sell the house in Scotland, we'll be buying down here.  We're just unsettled and edgy.

As you'll know if you've been reading these posts, I've been trying to do a combination of writing and crafting, hoping to build up a portfolio of work and sales, enough that I feel confident to work from home once Bug is at school.

I was doing okay.  I was working hard at the writing and getting a bit of money for that, and I was selling a few bits and pieces on Folksy and Etsy, but it was not enough to call a proper business yet, and a craft fair with zero sales was also a bit disheartening.  We've managed fine on Hubby's income for the last six years, so it's not that we're desperate for cash... its more my peace of mind and sanity really.  I feel like I've so much more to offer in life than the ability to iron and cook.  I'm reluctant to spend any money on me because I'm not earning any, so would really like to contribute financially - so I can buy clothes when I need them, decorate and buy nice things for the house and garden and so we can go on more holidays together.  I NEED to be working and feeling more fulfilled now - I'm not saying that I'm not fulfilled as a mum, I love it, and I've loved being at home with the children and I know that I've done the very best I can for them (and they are awesome), it's just that I've reached a point now where I need to be moving on and doing more.

So anyway, I realised (actually Hubby pointed out, during a rare argument one evening) that I was spending loads of time tapping away at the computer and getting frustrated with him and the kids for interrupting me when I was "working", but actually Bug isn't even at school yet, I'm actually not making any money, and surely the whole point of it all is to make family life better.  So I took a deep breath and re-evaluated (again).  I took my foot off the pedal.  I've concentrated on doing a few jobs around the place to make this rented house a better place to be, since we're going to be here for at least the next couple of months.  I've tidied up the garden and planted lots of pots of flowers, I'm painting the back door, I made a tepee for the children to play in the garden, I painted Bug's bike.  I'm still trying to write and make stuff to sell - but that's only when I have time.  Family needs to come first.

Then I started applying for part-time jobs starting in September.  Mostly teaching jobs, but not all.  Anything which appears to fit my interests, experience and aspirations and also fits in around school.  One in particular really sparked my interest as a job I would love to do, and since I'm trying to be better at self-esteem I can say (not boasting) I know I would be good at - I'll likely hear in the next couple of days whether I've been short-listed.  I'm not holding my breath.  I know I'd be good at it, but I don't quite have the experience listed in the person spec, and I know that if I am short-listed it will most likely be as the "wild-card".  Plus, before I settled down in Scotland for seven years, for various reasons, I kept moving around the country, so my CV is somewhat patchy, and now I've had a six-year break.  I guess that makes me a bit of a gamble.

If I get one of the jobs I'm applying for, that's great!  It will be part-time, which will allow me to work hard and earn some money, but I'll still have time to be there for the kids, to do the house-work (I am going to pay somebody to do the ironing though!), to get out and get some me-time, and to continue writing and crafting in my spare time.

If I don't get one of the jobs, then I'll keep trying, but I'll also have more time once Bug is at school to do the writing and crafting and try to make that work a bit more.  I might make my career even more of a tapestry by adding a few other things to the mix too, making more of my teaching experience by doing story-telling, writing and 'eco' workshops in schools.

As you can tell, I'm at a bit of a cross-roads at the moment.  I really don't know what direction I'm going to go in, but just now I feel that they will all take me somewhere good, so I don't really mind, and I'm just going to keep plugging away and let serendipity find me and guide me in the right direction.
When we finally sell the house in Scotland (it will happen, and soon we hope), I know too that Hubby and I will also suddenly feel a huge weight lift from our shoulders, and life will feel brighter and easier, and we'll be ready to settle properly into this lovely part of the world and make our new home and new life here.

Do keep me company on the journey.  It might be bumpy, but we'll get there in the end!

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