This week marks a change in my life.
My youngest child has just finished his last part-time week in Reception class, and goes full-time from Monday. That’s his 9-3 taken care of for the next 14 years then. Poor chap.
Having said that, he’s so excited about being at school all day like his sister and brothers, and luckily time (and age) means nothing to him at the moment. He’s been ready for months, and now he begins a new adventure which I hope will be both fulfilling and fun.
And now begins new chapters for me too. I’ve been lucky enough to be an at-home mum while they were small, working part time on various projects when I could. My daughter made this easy for me, being such a good baby and toddler I was able to work as a copywriter while looking after her. Not so The Boy however – known to some as The Pocket Rocket, he’s nothing if not lively, making working around him quite difficult!
Now I can focus on work more, developing various projects – some new, some slow-burners that can now be completed. I’m taking up piano for the first time, and various sports I used to do when I was younger. Plus, I’m learning to knit (I’m terribly Rock, you know.) There is more that I want to do but I keep reminding myself: I Can’t Do Everything.
My seven-year-old daughter asked me today if I was going to make my life “yellow”. What do you mean? I asked. She reminded me of a time we were playing Colour I Spy months ago, looking for something grey. I’d made a throw-away joke: “my life”.
Yes! I said today. “I am making my life yellow. I’ve spent so much of the last few years cleaning up some form of poo, wee or vomit in one way or another. Much as I love you children, now I have a little bit of time to do Me things. Yellow things.”
It’s easy to fall out of the Loop a little when you raise children, especially if you take a career break. I admire those friends who returned to work sooner, as much as I admire those that didn’t. It’s horses-for-courses, and where some may have fretted about childcare worries, the others may now face a dip in their confidence as they face returning to work. I am not only doing this, but with a switch in direction – not a lot is familiar.
I do realise however I’m lucky enough that I chose a career-path that’s self-employable – this allows me a lot of flexibility. But it also means I need to concentrate and wear several different hats throughout the day. I need to be disciplined with my time; not a strong point I must admit. I am more likely to spend unsolicited hours faffing about with something messy and creative than doing paperwork. My head is usually flitting about from one activity to the next and it’s hard to pin down sometimes.
But pin it I must, and I know that even if I don’t make a fortune, I will at least be productive.
It’s strange going back to work – but for anyone on the cusp of any new chapters: hang in there. You got this far after all.
Life is merely a series of phases, some more challenging than others. Have faith in yourself and what you have to offer the world.
If my four-year-old boy can go into a building full of strangers with new routines and rules and OWN it, then so (metaphorically) can I.
And I will be YELLOW.