Candice: I’m typing this from an apartment in Cardiff where we have come for a last-minute break before the return to school next week.
I can’t believe it is a whole year since someone started school and what a rollercoaster that has been. One of the biggest rollercoasters has been trying to work out how to wrangle the new way of life: Work, childcare and school holidays.
Though my daughter has been in childcare since she was quite young that was different, it was 51 weeks of the year and the hours never changed. Once she started school things got very different as we had to make sure she had a place in breakfast and after school club, whose opening and closing times were different to what we were used to. There were also after school clubs that she might like to attend, which meant more jiggery-pokery.
I also changed jobs, and went from being employed somewhere with flexible working (i.e. working from home when I wanted) to being at home for a bit, to being somewhere where I had to be in the office set times all the time. That little voice saying “Why can’t you pick me up earlier?” really hurt sometimes.
And then finally the saga of school holidays. Planning if we were going to be away or not, if we weren’t then booking in some time at the school holiday club which had to be done as soon as you got back from the last holiday as it would fill up quickly. And then the six week holiday…. there were many hours spent with a chart working out who would cover when, if she was going into paid holiday club, where she would go when that wasn’t open, and all the time trying to work out if we could spend some quality time together too.
Somewhere in all of this, I was trying to find some time to write. To be honest I failed miserably. When I wasn’t working the first time I was too busy trying to get a job that I couldn’t focus on anything else. Now I am between contracts again but I have a slightly different view and am finally having the time to write. I’ve taken to going to the library and working there for a few hours to help me concentrate, and its working. In the last week, I’ve done 4000 words. So, until something else comes along I will do that as my new ‘job’ and also plan how next time I work I’m going to get the work/life/child balance better.