Still Here

In case anyone was wondering!

Apologies for the lack of posts over the summer, turns out that having two jobs, and two kids and trying to write a book is ever so slightly time consuming, and doesn’t leave time for much else!

Also *types under breath* I kind of hate summer and find it one of my most difficult times of year.  There, said it.  I know it’s a hugely unpopular opinion, but for me summer is mainly sweating, getting migraines from the sun, and trying to cram in as much QUALITY FAMILY TIME with my kids as possible whilst battling the urge to strangle them when I step on yet another mothafucking piece of lego with goddam bare feet.  This summer has been an odd one because I’ve been working four days a week, so I’ve not been around much and then when I have, I’ve felt this incredible pressure for us to have Perfect Family Fun together, which rarely if ever works out how I envisage it.

We have had some good times though, and thanks to Chris taking some annual leave each week to be home with the boys, they’ve enjoyed having him around a bit more and not missed me too much, I don’t think.

My new job is going…ehhh…well, it’s going anyway.  My CIDP is behaving itself, and the book I’m writing is the slowest project ever but it’s keeping me sane (ish).

And honestly, that’s pretty much it.  Every now and again I think about archiving this place, since I’m not really actively blogging anymore, but then I see people finding old posts about CIDP/Molar pregnancy/Miscarriage etc through their google searches, and I think- ‘well what if reading about my experiences helps someone?’  So it’s staying, for now.

Who knows, maybe one day when I have more time (not clear when that’ll be, but let’s play pretend) I’ll be a bit more active (and possibly even witty?!) but for now, this will have to do 😉

 

 

 

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Job Search Hell

That’s where I’m at right now.  One of Dante’s lesser-known circles.

Possibly the worst bit is that I actually already have a job- one that I love and don’t want to leave.  So why am I looking for something else, you ask?  Good question.  The answer of course, is money.

giphy-1

Turns out that working seven hours a week as a library assistant, and about fifty hours a week as a ‘writer’ pays…well…pretty close to nothing actually.

I’m aware we’re not supposed to talk about money- that in doing so I’m breaking some weird universal taboo, but honestly- who is this secrecy helping?  We all need to eat and somewhere to live, and I’ve yet to find a landlord or supermarket that accepts poems in lieu of payment, (not that I’d do much better even if I did, since I can’t write poetry for shit).

So, with a heavy heart I find myself looking for other options.  I spend about half of my time feeling really MAD about the unfairness of the situation, and the other half telling myself to STFU and stop thinking I’m some special snowflake who isn’t subject to the same economic strain as almost every other working class person on earth right now.

In more dramatic moments I hear Jim Broadbent, as Harold Zidler in Moulin Rouge:

zidler

(just change love to live)

In less dramatic moments, I tell myself that I’m no different to anyone else and that I’m lucky to at least be (vaguely) employable.

One thing that is really pissing me off as I trawl through job search results, is the demand on applicants to not just be willing to do the job for the pay, but the requirement to declare it your life’s ambition.

Seriously, if you’re looking to employ someone as a neurosurgeon, or helicopter pilot perhaps, I can understand you wanting the role to be one of that individual’s defining characteristics, and for them to display a real passion and significant dedication to the field.  But when you’re looking for a cleaner?  Isn’t it enough that they’re capable of doing the work, and that they’ll show up and give a shit, at least within proscribed working hours?  If you want someone to display AMBITION, ENTHUSIASM, FLEXIBILITY AND PASSION about cleaning a toilet, you’re possibly going to need to offer more than £7 an hour, and appreciate that you’re appealing to a very niche audience.

Ehhh…I don’t know, this could just be me having a surly attitude and poor work ethic, but when I stumble across yet another minimum-wage job that not only wants me to spend forty hours a week away from my children, my partner, my home, and my writing but also wants me to demonstrate that I will treat it as my #1 priority and life’s work, I find myself getting a bit ‘Braveheart’, yelling at the screen.

giphy.gif

It’s times like this I wonder if leaving nursing was a terrible terrible mistake.  But, when I (briefly) went back to it last year THAT felt like a terrible mistake, so how can that be true?

Gah.

Regardless, I should probably get back to it.  Incidentally if anyone knows of any kick-ass jobs that would allow me to keep my Saturdays at the library, and pay me enough to feed my children who basically never stop eating, then HIT ME UP.  As you can see, I am totally AMBITIOUS, ENTHUSIASTIC, FLEXIBLE AND PASSIONATE etc etc etc 😉

Virtual (and Actual) Reality

I am struggling to keep up with things at the minute, both online and off.  I have so much to do that in the rare free moments i have i have difficulty figuring out which to do and in what order.

I have some important work-related stuff coming up next week which has me a little worried.  For one thing i am going to be doing my NLS (Neonatal Life Support) for the first time on Tuesday which is nerve-wracking as it involves a full day of resuscitation training (8am to 6pm or something absurd) plus a practical and theoretical assessment.  You’d think after 4.5 years of working with neonates i’d be confident in my ability to resuscitate them right? Nuh-huh. Let’s not forget i’ve been busy making neonates of my own.  Which is why i am only just getting round to doing my NLS now in fact.

As well as fretting about that i am also starting my Mentorship Course next week.  Something i am beginning to regret applying for as i am feeling like i may have bitten off more than i can chew….but it’s too late now.  I just keep telling myself that i can only do the best that i can do and no more…and hopefully my best will be good enough.  Well, it will have to be!

I briefly decided to resurrect my twitter account as i thought there was little point having one if i never used it, but i’m not convinced it’s for me. Chris tells me the reason i don’t like it is because i don’t use properly but i don’t know how to use it properly and am not sure i have the energy to figure it out!

I am thinking of getting strict with myself when it comes to social media and adopting a strict “Use it or loose it policy” I did something similar with Myspace and ended up deleting that. Otherwise i just have all these accounts i never use and what’s the point?

I thought maybe i could use twitter for my parenty updates, the kind of things that bug the crap out of non-parents when you post them on facebook.  You know- “My kid just pooped on the toilet!” and “Guess what funny thing my baby just did!” to avoid alienating all my non-Mumsy facebook friends but i am not sure i’m capable of compartmentalising like that, or if i should even try…

Anywho, aside from my musings about social networking here’s a little over-view of what else we’ve been up to 😉

Lovely Autumn Walks

Baking Gingerbread Stars (sadly they got a little burnt)

Falling asleep in dentist’s waiting rooms (!)
Painting Autumn Pictures
Visiting the runway visitors park at the airport

The latter being a last-minute decision on my part as we’d been stuck inside all snuffly and bored and i decided we needed to get out for the afternoon but it had to be somewhere local and inexpensive.  I was a little worried that we’d get there and that Toby would declare the aeroplanes “TOO NOISY” and want to go home or that Rudy would be bored, or that it would start pouring with rain or some such.  But it actually went really well.  They were both mesmerised by the planes and we spent a good hour and a half there before we got a bit chilly and decided to head home and the whole thing cost me £12 which i didn’t think was bad- £6 to park and £6 for a little toy plane for Toby that he’s in love with 🙂

Today we’ve still got the sniffles and we’re and currently camped out on the sofa watching Home Alone (yes it’s September, no i don’t care! I just want ten minutes peace- more if possible!)

It’s amazing how quickly Autumn has arrived and made itself at home.  Already the leaves are changing colour and falling, we’re having to put the heating on at least once every day, i have started wearing my dressing gown over my PJs and i’ve asked Chris if we can go up in the loft this weekend to  unearth the hats, gloves and scarves box! The only thing missing thus far is conkers! We can’t seem to find any anywhere! Where are they all?!

I love autumn and i’m looking forward to all the exciting stuff it’s got in store, i just hope we’re going to be able to squeeze it all in!

Mental Arithmetic

So i’ve been thinking about how some stuff just doesn’t add up.

Like, how having two children can sometimes feel 10 x as hard as having one child.

How working 3 nights a week (as i have this past month) instead of 2 nights can somehow feel twice as bad, and just totally wreck your entire week, leaving very little time or energy to squeeze anything else in other than work.

Similarly, how two people living in the same house can see so little of each other.  Chris and i are like ships passing in the night at the moment because of work.  Our interactions mostly consist of handovers about how our day/night with the boys was, what they ate/drank, when they slept and how long for and who has pooped and peed, and when/where it occured.  It’s romantic let me tell you.

How can an ONLINE grocery shop take up an entire afternoon, and feel almost as stressful as actually going to the supermarket after a night shift with two children.

How it can possibly still be another 12 days until pay day?!…

…And yet only be 101 more sleeps until Christmas?!?!

How has 6 weeks of summer holidays flown by in the blink of an eye and it’s back to reality for us all as of Monday (aka Chris goes back to uni to start his final year- eeek!)

I just don’t get it.  It doesn’t make sense.  But then Math never was my strong suit at school.  I much preferred creative writing.  Not that you’ll be seeing any of that from me this evening having had a grand total of two hours sleep today.

Mayhaps i’ll be back tomorrow with a clearer head….

 

Working Wonders

So i’m back at work these days and i realised i haven’t really talked about that much. Or at all in fact.

It’s a funny old thing.

I trained for 3 years to become a nurse, and it was one of the toughest things i’ve ever done in my life those three years training.

in my final year
work hard, play hard, n.b. those are not my actual colleagues, although they are all nurses/student nurses! Afraid?! You should be! 😉
 
i graduated!
there was hat-flinging! although i’d already taken my cap and gown off at that point (oops!)
and there was a graduation ball. i may have ingested a few alcoholic beverages prior to this photograph being taken 😉
 

I then took a job 50 miles away from my home to get experience in my chosen speciality (neonates) and i then put myself through the whole application and interview process all over again to get a job closer to home in that same speciality, and the month that i started my new job we also started trying for a baby!

5.30am Friday 13th March 2009 a little pink line appeared…

So for me, it hasn’t so much been work taking a back seat while i have babies, or babies being off the agenda until my career was flourishing, it feels as though they’ve both just co-existed, happening alongside each other. Which at times has been really tough, but i am just now beginning to think that it may actually have all worked out for the best.

I love what i do, both at home and at work, some days more than others (that statement is true of both my roles as a Mummy and as a Nurse!) but priorities shift when you have children, and going back to work after having Toby was hard.  I mean really really hard.  The last few weeks of my maternity leave with him were a total waste, i just spent hours upon hours crying, and then frantically searching online for jobs, any job that would pay me lots of money and mean i would be able to use my skills but without ever leaving my precious baby boy for a minute.  Guess what?! Turns out there aren’t any jobs like that no matter how many hours you spend surfing the net or reading the jobs pages 😉

It was made worse by my manager at the time refusing my request to go back on reduced hours on nights and putting me straight back on to a training program within weeks of my return.  We had assumed my nights only request would be accepted so didn’t have any childcare in place.  I remember that 8 weeks before i was due to go back we were thrown into the frenzy that is suddenly trying to find (and fund!) a nursery place for Toby.  We were clueless.  I called the most local private day nursery to us at the time and asked if we could come take a look around “well, let me see if we have any places first shall i?” the woman said.  “How bloody presumptuous of her” I thought, “Who says we’ll even want to send our darling angel to her bloody nursery anyway?!” I didn’t say that of course.  I sweetly gave her Toby’s date of birth and the proposed start date we’d need- 27th September 2010 “I’m sorry, the soonest we’ll have a space is January” she told me “when we’ll have a space opening up on Mondays and Fridays.  The next available full time space we’d have would be next April”…Uh-huh…Okaaayyy.  I called a few more places…”Has the baby been born yet?” one woman asked me sweet as pie. It seemed unlikely we were going to be able to find somewhere in 8 short weeks if most places expected you to be putting your babies’ names down BEFORE YOU’D EVEN FINISHED GESTATING THEM!

Of course, some of you will know how this ends.  We did find a place, and truth be told, it all worked out ok in the end.

cuddles with a 9 month old Toby before heading to work

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a difficult thing to go through though. I really resented being back at work those first few months after i returned.  Once i was pregnant again with Rudy it felt more bearable leaving Toby as there was an end in sight- soon i’d be off on maternity leave again, and in fact, as the start date for my maternity leave loomed, i felt i was really getting back into the swing of things again, and finding my groove with it all.  Then i had another 9 months off…and then it was time to go back for a second time.

It’s been very different this time.  For a start my manager left, and the acting manager approved my request to go back on nights so that obviously made a massive difference.  I’ve also reduced my hours.  But aside from that, i’m not sure how to explain just how very differently i felt about it this time.  In terms of the boys- they were both a similar age when i returned to work, Toby was 9 months exactly on my first shift back, Rudy was 8 months exactly.  They were both still breastfeeding, in fact Toby was more amenable to having the occasional bottle than Rudy was.  They were both still co-sleeping part-time.  I love them both equally.  So surely i should have been distraught this time too? Weeping into hankies in the weeks leading up to my return date, freaking out that i’d have forgotten everything, or that Rudy would feel abandoned, or that the whole household would fall apart without me there to hold everything together? Erm…nope! I barely gave it a thought.  “I’m back in work on Tuesday” i’d say to people, and when i said it i’d feel…nothing of any real depth.  It was just a statement of fact.  I was apprehensive as the entire unit has been refurbished  and extended while i’ve been off, so i had some (well founded, it turns out!) concerns that i wouldn’t know where anything was but aside from that i felt ok about it.  Really ok.  And when i turned up and took handover and walked into high dependency to start my shift, it was just as if i’d never been away, as if i’d been at work only the week before and not 9.5 months ago.

Crazily i feel as though i am being disloyal to Rudy by finding it so easy to leave him.  But he’s at home, with his Daddy and his big brother who both love him to pieces, there’s plenty of breast milk for him in the freezer and a whole host of bottles with various teats and sippy cups for him to drink from should he so choose.  So why shouldn’t it be easy to leave him?  People have been asking me how it’s going and i keep saying “Fine- for me! Not sure Chris would say the same thing though left alone with the boys all night when all Rudy wants is boob!” but actually, if you ask Chris- he also says “Fine”.  They’ve had some unsettled nights, where Rudy has cried so loud he’s woken Toby up and they’ve all ended up in the big bed together at 3am, they’ve had some good nights where  putting rodrigo y gabriella on the ipod speakers in Rudy’s room has settled him back to sleep.  They’re already figuring out their own ways of getting through the night together, and this morning i walked into the house at 8.30am with boobs like Dolly Parton to find a very contented Rudy fast asleep in his Daddy’s arms having just polished off a bottle of EBM because he couldn’t wait any longer for me to get home (damn traffic!) and Toby greeted me at the living room door “Shhh Mummy- Rudy’s asleep!”

So actually, it’s all good so far.  I know we’ll have hard times still, i don’t imagine it’s going to be plain sailing juggling working part time, having 2 small children, breastfeeding, Chris being at uni and having assignments, placements and 2 part time jobs plus dedicating time to our relationship, seeing family and friends and taking care of our home…but that’s life right? Messy, complicated, hard, fun.

The week after i went back for my first shift Cherie Blair, not someone who really comes up on my radar at all, apparently caused a bit of a stir by giving her opinions on stay at home Mums vs working Mums.  I’m not sure that her version of being a “working mother” is really the same as for the rest of us, given her position and financial status, so what she thinks or doesn’t think about it is irrelevant to me, but as someone who spends time on forums, i found it interesting to see how people reacted- it seems she’s managed to piss off people from both camps (impressive!) It’s a debate as old as the ages and almost as heated as the breast vs bottle thing.  I don’t think i’m particularly qualified to speak for anyone other than myself so all i will say is this.  I was raised by a working mother.  She didn’t have a real choice whether to go out and work or stay home as financially, having an alcoholic husband in and out of work is crippling when you have two young children and a mortgage.  I think she also enjoyed her work (although you’d have to ask her that) In some ways it would’ve been nice to have her home more often.  I remember that i missed her.  But then again, if my Dad had been different, maybe that would have balanced things out more, made life more stable, less scary, maybe i’d have coped better with the notion of her being out at work in the evenings. I don’t know.

If someone came up to me tomorrow and offered to pay me to stay home with the boys would i accept? Probably in a heartbeat. But i don’t know that it would make me a better mother.  I love them both with all my heart but i have felt so much less weary with them since being back at work.  Which is ironic, because i’m working nights and not really sleeping, so i should be at the end of my tether. And yes i may be grouchy, but i’ve had more enthusiasm for playing, more patience for having my hair pulled, i’ve felt like by going to work, i’ve actually had a break!

I hate to say it, as i think it might sound a bit terrible, but perhaps absence really does make the heart grow fonder? For me, anyway.  If finances were different i probably would put my nursing career on hold for a few years to bring up my children, but they’re not, and it’s ok.  For a long time, after having Toby it didn’t feel ok.  I constantly fantasised about handing in my notice at work just to get rid of that icky feeling.  But two years down the line? I think i’m doing the right thing by going to work.  I think we’re doing the right thing.  For our little family.  Which is all that any of us can do i reckon 🙂

what i get to come home to in the mornings and what makes it all worthwhile 🙂