Hello all 🙂
I’ve been so slack with posting this year – life has been super hectic with the kids in Year 5, Year 3 and Year 1 now.
I was also really busy with work – I had a wonderful opportunity to manage a team in a different division for 6 months, which I thoroughly enjoyed, even though my work-life balance was slightly out of whack. Once this was over and I was headed back to a Communications role, it kind of gave me pause for thought, and I found myself asking the dreaded question – what am I doing with my life?
Ever since I was little, I’ve had a strong desire to help people and do something to contribute to making people’s lives better. Even when I was studying Communications and working in that field, I always thought I’d end up working for an international charity or government agency and living overseas. But as life has a wont to do, it hasn’t worked out like that. I know I’ve been a bit disillusioned working in a government environment – I’ve realised making a difference in policy is just really hard and takes a lot out of you. I’ve also realised that the lifestyle of an international aid worker doesn’t really sit well with being the kind of mother I want to be. So I’ve had to let go of that dream – for now, at least.
So, what next I hear you ask? Well, I’ve decided to pursue an option that will allow me to help people more directly. I’ve gone back to Uni part time to study psychology. And I’m absolutely loving it. I’ve dropped down my days at work so I can be a bit more available for the kids and get some study done, and I’m really excited to see where this next part of the journey takes me.
A dear friend described this next stage of my life as “Act II” and I love that description. We’re never too old to pursue a new dream or goal – and isn’t 40 the new 30?
I would love to hear about your goals and dreams for the next year or the next 10 – we’re never done growing and changing and I think that’s wonderful.
I haven’t posted for a while – mostly because I have been ridiculously busy – and then I got sick – but also because after the Jonah Day described here I had a few more. Stuff was going wrong at work, at home, with the kids and cars and even the plumbing – how depressing!
And then – just like Anne Shirley promised – a new day came and the sun came out and all was right with the world once more.
I decided I just couldn’t fit parent teacher interviews into the week, so I emailed the kids’ teachers and got brilliant responses back which were so encouraging. They are all doing great at school. Work calmed down and I decided to get serious about trying to lose my extra winter kilos – and I lost 1.5kg over the past week. I booked in some much-needed leave and decided I am going to host Christmas, which I am really looking forward to. The broken tap got fixed by a very able plumber and I also had an impromptu career counseling session with someone very knowledgeable which was really helpful.
And most importantly – a totally unexpected and very exciting door opened up at work. It’s so lovely how the universe works sometimes. After feeling like such a failure on my horrible Jonah Day I got a call from a manager in a different division encouraging me to apply for a secondment in her division – much bigger management role, and one I would never have thought I could have applied for, had she not rung. I applied – and got it for a six-month period! I start next February and am really excited – it will be a big challenge, but I’m up for it.
So I am pleased to report that Jonah Days – and indeed, Jonah fortnights – do end eventually.
I often feel that, four weeks out of five, our lives run pretty smoothly. It’s busy and somewhat chaotic I grant you, but generally clothes are washed and people are fed and homework is handed in and no one is left at the side of a road (which is my dear colleague and fellow-working-mum’s standard of success for any given week).
But then we get to the fifth week. And that’s when the wheels fall off the wagon. It’s when kids get sick, and you both have super busy days and no one can take sick leave. Or worse – I get sick, and as everyone knows the Mum can NEVER get sick without the house tumbling down around everyone’s ears. Often it’s that my work load has gone into overdrive (the curse of being at the mercy of the media!) or that unexpected emergency with the kids occurs. Or it rains for days and no one does any washing or the dog literally does eat someone’s homework.
Well last week was one of those weeks. Work was manic and Souljourneyboy had reports due and Bookwork was going through a tough time and and the final straw came on my day off when I simply couldn’t face making lunches again – and so I gave everyone the day off school. Which in hindsight was exactly what we needed – we just lazed around in our PJs all day and did nothing.
Sometimes on that fifth week I wonder despairingly what on earth I am doing. Is all the mania really worth it, I wonder? I look longingly at the stay-at-home-mums and fantasize about spending hours cooking nutritious meals and calmly picking everyone up from school and chatting about their days while we have home-baked cupcakes. But then – I have been a stay-at-home Mum, and I know that’s not really the reality either. More likely everyone had a fight on the way hone and the cupcakes were confiscated as punishment.
Like I read somewhere not long ago, we always compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s stage show – so no wonder we find ourselves lacking.
I like working (most of the time 🙂 ). I like keeping my mind busy and bringing in an extra income. I like the fact that when I took Little Miss to a party today I got chatting with other Mums and we laughed about baskets of washing all over the house and forgotten school notes and the chaos of the morning drop off. I think we’re all in the same boat, really, and we need to remember that when the lights dim and we watch someone else’s show, wondering if ours looks as good.
So hang in there, Mums – we’re all doing the best we can 🙂
I have been on holidays for the past week and feel really refreshed, even though it’s only been 7 days. Here were the highlights…
The past few months at work have been really stressful. It was so nice to spend the week at home not really doing…anything. Lots of sleep-ins, afternoon naps and coffees on the verandah.
Autumn is always my favourite season, and last week proved exactly why. Gorgeous golden sun, just perfect for picnic weather, followed by cool nights where you can snuggle into your blankets and get a good night’s sleep.
We enjoyed a few of these – with friends, family and by ourselves too. We rode bikes, ate ice creams and even squeezed in some water play in the fountains before winter sets in.
My niece slept over one night – she is Little Miss’s age, they are in the same class at school and sit next to each other. They are cousins and best friends, and it was wonderful to have her come and stay. It was even more wonderful that they played perfectly and we hardly heard a peep from them. But what made it super-dooper wonderful was that Little Miss finally found someone able to match her in her craft obsession. They crafted all day and all night and I barely had to open a glue stick. Heaven help me when that girl discovers Pinterest.
Reading and writing
I read some books and wrote a few chapters of my book. Perfect.
I hope those of you who had school holidays enjoyed them too 🙂
You know how there are those people who know exactly what they want to do and what they want out of life?
I’m not one of those people.
Soul Sister has known since she was in primary school that she wanted to be a teacher. So that’s what she became. She is now on a temporary hiatus as she juggles motherhood and her Master’s degree, but once that’s all done she will return to teaching with a passion and enthusiasm that is quite simply, inspiring. She has always known exactly what her purpose in life is.
Picasso is like this too – I have blogged before about how he wants to be a pediatric nurse. And even though he’s just seven, it won’t surprise me at all if that’s exactly what he ends up doing.
And then there are people like – me 🙂 Over the years I have wanted to be a…film producer/interior designer/psychologist/writer/lawyer/journalist/architect/archeologist/marine biologist…ah, the list goes on.
Right now I am working in the world of Corporate Affairs in Media, and for a while I felt as though I had found my niche. But…now I’m not so sure. And I can’t help wondering – is it me? Am I the problem? I just don’t seem to be able to settle on an occupation and be satisfied with it for the long term.
I still have dreams of being an author, of going back to Uni and finishing my PhD, of renovating a house and travelling the world. And then I wonder if I am wasting my time on pipe dreams -if there will ever be a career or job I feel is the “right” fit, or if I’ll just do a whole lot of different things throughout my life and be OK with that, even though it won’t really get me anywhere.
So in some ways I feel at a bit of a crossroads. Maybe it has something to do with being 35 and nearly 36 – and feeling ready for a new challenge.
I can’t believe it’s just me – there must be others out there who feel like I do, as though you’re a slightly odd-sized shape that NEARLY fits a few different holes, but just not quite.
I’d love to hear from you if you are out there 🙂
…you slam your own face into the car door while you’re opening it.
Yes, I hear your sniggers. And I totally understand – I mean, how is it even possible to do that? Can anyone really be that spacially challenged?
Well yes they can, because I did it this morning and now I have a fat and grazed lip. It’s actually quite painful.
…the tooth that you’ve just paid $200 to get fixed starts hurting again.
It’s very depressing. I rang the dentist and I think he used the word “root canal” but I’m hoping I misunderstood. I just feel like a whole world of pain is headed my way – physical and financial – and I’m in denial.
…the clock loses time
Poor Picasso. We were late to school and I totally blamed his last-minute dash back to his room to get news. I blamed him – quite loudly – for the entire car trip. And then I got back home and realised the clock was actually 20 minutes late.
…the printer runs out of ink
And OF COURSE this happens when you’re working from home on something super urgent and you need to print something RIGHT NOW and that stupid yellow exclamation mark pops up on the little printer screen. Frustrating doesn’t begin to cover it.
Anyway as you can see, I had a bad day this week. It really sucked.
But it’s the Long Weekend…so things are looking up 🙂
I caught up with some of my dearest friends last night. As we chatted away over dinner, I found myself thinking about how each of us are in quite different places in our lives at the moment. We are all mothers, but one of us is embarking on a brand new business venture; another is finally starting the postgraduate degree she has planned for years to do. Another is just starting part-time work after many years as a stay-at-home mum to four children, and then there’s me – and well, you know all about me 🙂
Thinking about this made me think about women in general, and all the women I’ve been over the years. I thought about this a lot on International Women’s Day – I wanted to post last week when it was on, but was too frantic juggling preparations for Little Miss’s Princess Party and a busy week at work to find the time (the irony was not lost on me!)
Over the International Women’s Days I’ve celebrated, I’ve been: a university student who manned a stall raising money for women in developing countries, and a woman still in the throes of joy after discovering she was pregnant for the first time. I’ve been a mum with a days-old baby, at once insanely sleep-deprived, but also reveling in that intense love you can only feel for a brand new baby. I’ve been a stay-at-home mum juggling playgroup and playdough, and also a mum juggling full-time work and the school run. I’ve been a postgraduate student, and a woman who was running her own business. I’ve been out late with friends, and up late with sick children. And, of course, a mother who was too busy researching how to facepaint butterflies for sixteen five-year-old girls to spare five minutes blogging on her computer 🙂
I love all these women I have been, even if I didn’t love every single thing about being them at the time.
I think women are great. And I think no matter who we are or what we do, we all deserve a pat on the back. Take a moment to enjoy who you are right now, because you may never be this particular woman again.
Here’s to all the wonderful women I know – and in the world everywhere.