Tag Archives: career

Small Things #2

Morning morning from Mrs Chirpy Face here! Time for Small Things #2 🙂

Sorry. I know I shouldn’t be chirpy so early in the day. It’s not right, and it’s just plain inconsiderate. But there it is, and here I am!

I’m feeling all chirpy because this week is the start of my new life/work balance. I’ve blogged before about how working 4 days a week was proving counterproductive for our family. So after the Christmas break I went to see my boss to give my notice in.  The intention was to go back on the payroll at our shop for a couple of days a week, sorting out our neglected website and social media presence, and then  trying to cobble together enough freelance bits and pieces to give me another day, thus getting to the Holy Grail of the three day week, which is what seems to work for us at this stage of the kids’ lives.

It’s taken a few weeks to iron everything out but the upshot is that I have now been given a new one day a week contract at work! This is brilliant as I like my employer, and I like the work I do, and also it takes the pressure off with scrabbling for freelance assignments when I’m not qualified to do anything, at all.

There is one fly in the ointment, which is the skint thing. This reorganisation dramatically and scarily reduces my take home pay. And that kind of brings me on to the Small Thing (since technically reorganising my work life is a Big Thing and so I’m not sure qualifies for the MummyNeverSleeps Small Thing Linky).

So my Small Thing is this: Right after gave my notice in, our car died (permanently) and my son brought home a letter about a school residential trip. Both those things come with bills attached and as yet I haven’t figured out how we are going to pay for either of them. Huh? Where’s the Small Thing in that sentence, I hear you cry….well, reader(s), the small thing is the word AFTER.

Because if these bills had arrived before I gave my notice in, I probably would have been ruled by my head and not done it at all. But my heart and my gut – and my kids reactions – tells me that skint or not skint, bills or no bills, I have done the right thing.

So there you have it. Small Thing #2, brought to you by the word ‘after’.

All the Small Things - MummyNeverSleeps
Thanks for reading – why not pop over to Mummy Never Sleeps and have your day cheered up by reading some more Small Things?

On the difference a day makes

Back to Monday, back to work. I left the house this morning before the kids had even had breakfast, which isn’t unusual. I will walk back into their lives at 6pm, we’ll eat all together as a family and then they’ll become mine again for bath, stories and bed. This is our routine until Thursday night.

This isn’t enough, for me or the kids. Bedtime is becoming later than it should be, because if I’ve been out all day they need more than a quick splash, dash and kiss – they want to tell me how their day has gone, and I want to hear it. I want to read with them, and have them read to me, and sort out any niggles and worries they have from school.

And it’s not just the kids that are suffering. By the time they are all in bed it’s getting on for nine o’clock, which leaves hardly any time for the Husband and I to spend together.  I’ve written before how hard it feels to maintain a relationship when the kids are young…now they are getting bigger, and therefore easier in so many ways, it feels as if the pressure has been replaced by work.

Needless to say, anything that isn’t husband or kids related doesn’t get a look in – I’m not managing to go to Welsh lessons, get out running,have  a social life or to do anything at all on the Cardiff Pound project. I’m just about managing to keep the blog going but only in snatched moments, on the bus or at lunchtimes, sandwich in one hand, iPhone in the other. And weirdly the less time I have for it, the more important it becomes – a sort of bolthole when everything feels too crazy.

What’s tipped the balance from life being busy but manageable and energising, to life feeling like a hamster wheel, is a mere seven hours a week. That’s the difference a day makes. My previous contract was 21 hours, whereas now I’m working 28. I’ve also got an extra 7-8 hours a week travel time (my ‘commute’ at my old job was under 10 minutes). I know some of you reading this will be working longer hours, with longer commutes, and still managing to be great parents and partners, and I take my hat off to you!

I knew things would be a bit different going up to 4 days – I just assumed that we’d readjust and resettle, as we’ve done before when our work situation has changed. And I guess we have readjusted and resettled, just into a pattern that’s not really working for any of us. I should say at this point that I enjoy my job and I have a very supportive and flexible employer so this isn’t a case of being unhappy with what I do, or being stressed at work, or anything like that.

It’s quite simply about the fact that I’ve realised my – our – tipping point, and now I need to figure out what to do about it.

So I’m off to figure. Thanks for reading!


On September

September has always felt much more like a new year to me than New Year itself. Even in the in-between years between finishing Uni and my kids starting school, when term times were irrelevant apart from their effect on holiday prices, September always presented itself as a new beginning. The slightest whiff of a tiny chill in the early mornings, the leaves starting to change colour, these things always filled me with a feeling of promise and excitement for the year ahead.

This September feels like a significant one – lots of things are changing for the kids and for us. For the bigger kids it’s the usual stuff – new classes, new teachers – plus the excitement of starting term in a brand new purpose built school and all the changes that brings – new route to school, different park afterwards, being part of a huge three-form entry school instead of the small primary they are used to. For my youngest, this will be his last year of babyhood – he will be starting nursery every morning at the same school as his big brother and sister. If I am honest, I don’t feel ready for this at all. It’s not that I want any more kids, it’s just that I want time to slow down a bit.

All change for me too – I have just started a four day a week contract, which is an exciting opportunity for me, but a bit (a lot) nervewracking. As the job is working across 4 different organisations, this means four times the pretending I am half competent, four times the names and faces to remember, and also adding travelling time into my day away from the kids (how I will miss my seven-minutes-including-a-co-op-stop-commute of the last 12 months!) On the plus side it’s a great chance to gain more experience, and also I am immensely grateful that I have a job at all in these times.

On the business side, we will be tying up loose ends from the first project that the Husband and I undertook together; we sold our coffee shop last November but there’s still final accounts to file, tax bills to get sorted and so forth. This is the closure of a huge chapter of our lives. I’m mostly happy about it – our time had run its course and we had definitely fallen out of love with it by the time we sold it. But I do miss the proper coffee on tap whenever I’m in town!

One door closes and another opens though, and I have a feeling that this will be a very significant year for Rules of Play, which the Husband and I co-own with a friend. After three and a half years of slogging away, we have now brought the business to a stage where we can come up for air and pause for breath. Instead of thinking about next week and next month, we can begin to sit down and plan for what we’d like to do with the business next year and even over the next five years. That feels like a massive achievement for three friends who basically shut their eyes tight and took a huge plunge into the unknown, armed with not much more than a basic business plan and a conviction that we could translate our vision into a living, breathing enterprise.

And – perhaps most excitingly for the year ahead is that the whole Cardiff Pound idea is beginning to gain traction in and around Cardiff. I am not sure yet what shape this will take, but I am determined that we will have our local currency in the not TOO distant future!

Bring on September!