So last week I did something really rather brave. Well, really rather brave for me anyway. After eleven years at home since giving up work to be at home with my children, I applied for a job. As in a real job. One where I would actually have to leave my house, wear proper shoes and get paid and have a pension and everything. It all happened a little fast but in hindsight, I think that could be a good thing because I didn’t have the chance to catch my breath nevermind change my mind. And it would have been very easy to change my mind had I have let my nerves got the better of me.
I feel like I should start by adding some sort of disclaimer that being at home for the last eleven years has been the best thing ever. Because it really has. It was a huge decision for me to give up work and one that I haven’t regretted for one single minute. Not even on the hardest or most mind numbingly dull of days. I also know how fortunate I am to have been able to have all of this time off. It was never an option for us when our eldest two were little, we simply couldn’t afford it. But when going on maternity leave to have our third baby in 2006, it felt like the right time for me to take a bit of a break. Then a couple of years later we were blessed with our fourth (bonus!) baby of course so any thoughts of going back to work went by the wayside. And then I blinked and had somehow been at home for eleven whole years.
I will never ever understand the whole debate about stay at home parents versus working parents. Utter nonsense. I’m a big believer in doing whatever is best for your family. I don’t think there is a right or a wrong. We’re all just trying to do our best, aren’t we? I am the first to admit that back when my youngest two were little and I was working, I didn’t always manage the juggling act very well. Balls were often dropped. The fact is that me being at home has worked brilliantly for us, I have honestly never felt so content in my life. I know the traditional roles of the father going out to work while the mother stays at home doesn’t suit everyone – and I totally get that – but it did for us. Which I guess begs the question why on earth would I want to upset the balance now?
The truth is that I don’t have a real answer to that. All I know is that it just feels like the right time for me to get back out there. There have been times over the last few years where I have thought of going back to work but for whatever reason, it never quite came off. It never seemed to be the right time for starters but now I realise that like most things in life, there probably never will be a right time. I don’t know, I just feel like more than ever, that this is something that I have to do now.
Over the last couple of years, I have been lucky enough to have some fantastic opportunities open up thanks to my blog but in all honesty, I’m never going to make a proper living from it all. Good luck to those that do but it’s just not me, you know? I’m a bit of a blogging dinosaur in that I will only ever work with brands that feel like a good fit and that means that I turn down easily ten or more writing opportunities for every one that I accept. And I’m fine with that. In fact, I’m more than fine with that. I have been lucky enough to work with amazing brands and PRs who totally respect that integrity. I’ve been blogging here for more than seven years now and I don’t intend to stop any time soon. I have never seen my writing as a real job, it’s just a hobby that sometimes makes me a bit of pocket money. I don’t want it to ever feel like a chore. No, I wanted something more than my blog. I wanted a proper little job just for me.
So last week I applied for that proper little job. By some minor miracle, I got through the application stage and was invited to attend an interview two days later. I agreed before I could change my mind. I really wasn’t expecting things to happen so quickly. On the day of the interview, I was ridiculously nervous. It’s hard to explain how much being out of the workplace for so long affects your confidence but it really does. I almost didn’t turn up but somewhere a little voice in my head said, you can do this. And I listened to it. The same little voice also told me that if I got through the interview without crying or being physically sick or worse, then that alone would be a success. I have never been so nervous in my life. Seriously. It was the longest two hours in the history of the world ever. Halfway through, I was so certain that I had made such a terrible mess of it all that I thought it would just be one of those things that I would have to chalk up as experience. I felt completely out of my depth. But they saw something in me that I didn’t and offered me the job there and then. They even went so far as to say that they loved me. L o v e d. M e. I KNOW!
So next week I start my little part-time job. It is near to home and it means that I can still take my little ones to school in the morning but I won’t always be able to pick them up in the afternoon. But between us all as a family, we’ll find a way to make this work because I need this. I need this little job. I’m sure the nerves will kick in before my first day but for now that little voice is still telling me that I can do this and I’m beginning to think that it might be right.