I’ve been missing in action for the last while. Blogging has gone so far down my list of life essentials just like so many other things which have gone by the wayside. Four loads of ironing are waiting for me in the kitchen. The windows still have that brown sludgy residue on them from the Beast from the East. There is a fine layer of dust cascading through the house that seems to follow me everywhere. The weeds have decided to join us now that the weather has picked up and the chickens, well they’ve multiplied as we’ve adopted two more, but their pen is in desperate need of enlarging. And there’s a one year olds birthday party to plan. I have a list. A long list of items that will never get done because I am MIA.
I remember when I was on maternity leave with Little Miss, I felt very out of the loop with colleagues and friends. I was taking the standard 26 weeks maternity leave, which in itself is an incredibly short time. I would be back to work in, what now feels like, an instant. But for those five or six months with little contact from colleagues, I felt very isolated from work and it was odd heading in on that first day back. There was a sense of unnerving questions despite being excited to get back into the fold. Was I missed? Have things changed much? Can I still cope with the workload? Now that I’m not going back at all, feeling out of the loop is an understatement. I feel kind of blurred, like a nomad, forced to find my own way and a new center. And being dependent on myself to provide that centre is even more daunting.
I’ve had quite a few people contact me about quitting my career and taking the risk of freelancing since I published the post Why I’ve Quit My Job. Some have wanted to do what I’ve done but have been too scared. Others are desperate to do the same but lack the confidence. I’ve been told that I’m brave, that I’m strong and that they admire me for doing something I’m clearly very enthusiastic about. It’s been an ego boost and a positivity rush which, I’ll be honest, I’ve needed. The past few weeks have been up and down, a rollercoaster of dear gods, what nows and general wonderment and worriment about whether this decision has been a good choice. At the end of the day, it’s done now. So what’s a girl to do? Feel the fear and do it anyway as my mum would say. Which is probably the best advice I can give to everyone who has asked me in recent days what steps they need to take to make the same jump.
I think I’m classed as a millennial woman. A mid thirties, career minded woman with children in the mix who is trying to figure out how to have it all – if “have it all” really exists. I am the type of woman who has a partner, a mortgage and ideas in her head to climb all sorts of ladders. A woman whose ideas about herself, her life, her future, changed almost without her knowing but those ladders were still there. I was twenty one leaving college with a Bachelors Degree in the Arts. I jumped feet first into my career as a Librarian and continued with postgraduate studies in the evenings. I loved it. It was a plan, a path, an ideal I was working towards. And here I am twelve years later, abandoning that career I worked so hard for. It wasn’t always the plan to stay at home, but life has changed my options, and more importantly, my perspective.
This week I handed in my resignation. Dun dun duuuuunn! My intitial reaction last night, after a very anti-climactic day of talking to my boss and sorting things out with HR, was “Oh dear god, what the fricking F have I done?” Followed by mild panic and anxiety as it was all finally oh so very, very real. I was due back to my post as a Medical Librarian in May but now I will officially not be going back to work after maternity leave. I am leaving behind a twelve year career to start something brand new. It’s the big decision, the big change, the new me I was talking about last week. So, why did I take the massive step to quit and what am I doing now?
I’ll be honest I’m glad to see the back of 2017. In a year when I should have been ecstatic at the fact that our baby was born without any issues, I was a mess. There’s no nicer way to say it really. I struggled for months with postnatal anxiety and I’m still not over the final hurdle. There are days that are tough but I’m managing a million times better than I was a few months ago. Even so, I’m starting this year with a particular mindframe that is going to keep me balanced and in control. I’m finding the positive again and I’m living to my full potential. Or at least trying.
The root of work life balance is supposed to be happiness. Where are you happier? How can you be happier juggling two separate scenarios- work life and home life but for many, the root travels deeper on a very basic and monetary plane – money. Is it there? How can you get it? And how can you spend less of it? When making decisions about how you are able to balance a career and a family, the basis of it all often comes down to how you will survive – on one income, on two, on cut salaries or by getting creative. Finding your worth and appreciating what you are worth to your employer is the first step to earning a wage you deserve. But are you brave enough to chase your worth? A question I constantly ask myself.
With the new year just days away, I can’t help but start to consider the ideal that is “work life balance” as a parent. There is no doubt that it is not easy being a parent and working a full time job. Being constantly pulled in each and every direction becomes tiresome and we end up constantly questioning why there aren’t more hours in the day, because damn we need them! The thoughts of returning to work have played on my mind since Little Bean was born and I’m wondering is there an answer to the perfect work life balance.
It’s almost the end of January and I’ve been thinking about my New Year’s Resolution. Calling it a resolution and telling everyone about it, was my way of kicking myself in the rear end to get a move on and fulfill this dream that has lingered around me for almost a decade. Do it. Write it. Get to a stage where you can tell everyone you have a finished manuscript rather than the cute, normal line of I have two half written novels. Aren’t I adorable? Who hasn’t heard that one before? I think we all have a couple of half written novels somewhere, either sitting in a drawer (under the bed in my case), flung onto a hard drive that may or may not work these days or floating above the clouds in your head. I’ve longed to have my novel written and this is the year I’ve told myself I’m going to do. Nuff said! It’s happening! Boom! Make it so! Where does it sit now, you may ask. Has my word count doubled? Have my characters become my best friends or my worst nightmares? Have I done anything?
Stop the Presses! I’ve been officially published! This winter has been fantastic as I’ve had not one, not two, but three Irish parenting and family magazines publish my blog posts. Three of my meandering thoughts on a page about parenting, with it’s good moments, it’s sad moments, and it’s tense moments, are now on the national stage as they are shelved amongst others in Easons. I always wanted to walk into Easons and pick up a magazine that featured an article that was written by little old me. Well, since October, it’s happened three times. If you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook (which you should really – nudge, nudge, wink, wink) then you may not be aware of my writing success, so of course the obigatory blog post with my achievements is here! Short but sweet for today, here are the magazines who deemed my posts good enough to grace their pages.