Getting on with it

I was up until nearly 1am last night applying for the opportunity to train as a social worker and fulfil an ambition that I have held now for a number of years but have not been in a financial position to take the plunge. Hence my lack of blog post last night so another £1 in the pot to Unicef.

The training is part of the Step Up to Social Work programme funded by Central Governmet. In addition to funding the course, funding is also provided to cover living costs, which is a relief as it means I wont havetoworry about chidcare.It is a full-time course over 14 months, so intensive an , for me, exciting. However, I have just secured a fixed tem contract in my current career, whichwill begreat for th time being but I know it is a means to an end, which is a relief. That is, of course, that my application is accepted and that I pass the assessment tests.

Some members of my fammily dont believe I am cut ot for it. In many ways this makes me more determined, but I will leave it to the professionals to decide whether I would be any good at it or not. For now it lies as desire within me to make a difference to the most vulnerable children in our society.

My husband is exhausted from his current job and the commuting he is doing so isnt in the right frame of mind to discuss anything. I broached the subject of moving our daughter to another school if her learning continued to deterioriate and he completey brick-walled the idea for no sensible reason other than he was narked that I had looked into the options without consulting with him first. I figured he was too busy and to get involved in research on education so I did the initial work myself. Aparently that was the worn thing to do.

So exhausted from an argument, I cried and cried,, wondering what I had to do to make life a little easier for him so that he wouldnt be so tense every night so that I was not abe to raise any issue of concern for fear of arguments.

Then I got the email that the social work training programme was now accepting applications. So I was glad to put down the pillow I was burying my head in and just got on with it.

Thats the only way to live life.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

An evolving Eve

I am cold and tired, it has been an exhausting week, hence 2 missed blog posts (£2 in the pot to Unicef). I can breathe a sigh of relief that within a week I have got a full-time job to cover off our financial issues (and consequential wobbly marriage moments), handed in my notice with my part-time employees (albeit reluctantly as it was such a good, but not lucrative, solution around children), contacted my referees, filled out a medical questionnaire, interviewed a childminder and nanny and agreed a start date with the childminder and organised increased hours at my son’s pre-school). Phew! I hadnt realised how stressful organising childcare can be as it is such an emotive choice because they are the most important people to you in the world. However I am very happy with our choice and hope it works out.

Now I have to get my career brain into gear again and my friend (who is an amazingly talented and driven entrepreneur) tweeted a really good blog link on how to be a more productive woman.

The trouble is half of the 7 steps, I am mentally and physically incapable of achieving (such as getting up immediately in the morning and reading as soon as you have woken – I am not even classed as human before 9am. In fact I only begin to ‘evolve’ once the school run is over and I have taken in some caffeine.

See if you can achieve any of the 7 steps (

Good luck!

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Free the robots

It is 10pm and I have baby boy sat next to me chattering away about superheroes, monsters and dinosaurs. He has a cold that is particularly snotty and not conducive to lying horizontal so is far happier sitting upright on the sofa…moments ago he was snoring. 

I have spent most of this evening firing out messages to all available childminders and nannies in the area as I have been offered the job. So now the reality has hit home that both children will need to be cared for from 7.30 til 6, with school and pre school inbetween. I want to try and keep them together if possible hence the search for a local childminder. If they could also take the dogs out and run the Hoover round the house that would be great too, as I am not fancying spending my weekend as Mrs Mop. I’m not OCD but I can’t quite bring myself to leave the cleaning until the point where I need to ‘muck out’ the house.

Because it will fall to me, I am under no illusion that just because I will be working, my other half will pick up more of a share in housework. No, I am a woman therefore I must do EVERYTHING. 

Maybe by the time our children are our age there will be robots to help or women will be emancipated from all assumptions of domestic duties….no I think robots are more likely..

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.


No matter what age you are, or your situation, rejection is always hard. I was told I was unsuccessful in a recent interview and the member of the panel who interviewed me gave me the corporate version of ‘its not you, its me’. There was a stronger candidate with a bigger skills set apparently. I put it down to an interrupted career of child rearing therefore I dont stand a chance against someone who has worked without a break since University – fair play to them.

It does affect how you perceive other job adverts though, as it discourages you from adverts that could be at the limit of your experience and skills levels. A lot of work goes into the application and interview process so you dont want to time-waste for the sake of either party. Therefore I am tempted to drop a few grand off the salary and play it safe to bridge that skills gap to the higher echelons of the salary bracket. The only down-side is childcare costs which bring the monthly net income down considerably to the point where its in the hundreds rather than the thousands – working hard for not very much is the state of play for any working mum these days,particularly mums of younger children.

But in an employer’s market, mums are not so appealing as employees, especially so in these leaner, meaner times.

The upside of this news however is that it buys me more time with my children and I enjoyed a lovely afternoon helping my daughter spend her birthday vouchers in the high street. I was impressed with her choices to update her bedroom – a lamp and a bin – very grown-up. She also observed me giving money to a homeless person in the subway and I said to her I hoped he would spend it on something remotely healthy. As we walked back past him later, his bottle of orange juice was rolling away from him, so I picked it up and gave it back and noticed he had a big pack of chocolate cookies too. My daughter saw that the money had been spent to make his life more bearable and it was good to know it may have helped him in some way. Thankfully he also had a sleeping bag and warm gloves. I cant ever recall seeing a homeless person in this particular city before and wondered what led this young guy to sleep rough in a subway. I reminded my daughter that he may be someone’s brother and/or son – therefore we turn a blind eye to no-one.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Finding another me

When a Mum goes back to work, organising childcare is both complicated and a real emotional wrench. When I picked up my baby boy from pre-school today, he helped himself out of the school as soon as he saw my car pull up. I picked him up and he pressed his little chubby cheek so close to mine and cuddled me so tightly. The lady who runs the school had to tell him not to run out of school again because its dangerous but she wasnt as stern as she would have liked to be because he was just too cute. Although he is 3 he knows how to work the look. That is going to come in very handy when he is older.

I also face the issue of what happens with our 2 Jack Russells, who will have no-one to spend the day with when I return to work. I need doggy day care too. In fact the more I think about it, the more I realise how much of our current lives depends on me being at home working part-time.

But….as readers of my previous blog posts will know, somethings gotta give.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

A womans job…

So have just been offered an interview with my old job from a decade ago, but now with more responsibility and more money. I have to go for it for the sake of my marriage health and our financial health but it saddens me that I will have to miss out on two full weekdays at home with my son together with the ‘top and tail’ hours I get either side of pre-school. In life, particularly with children, time is precious and in the early years especially because it doesnt take long for them to lose that innocence and morph into a streetwise, wise-cracking teen-like character overnight.

He has another year and a half to go before school so still quite a chunk of time to miss out on.

I remember when I returned to work when he was 9 months and crying as I handed him over to the nursery.He was fine, it was just me. Mums work regardless, its when they do the other less important work that brings in the money that emotional attachments, responsibilities and duties are maxed to the limit. Female emancipation means just doing more and more. A friend once said her brain can only hold the equivalent of an armful’s clutch of laundry and that a few dropped socks are inevitable if you get too ambitious. I can relate to the dropped socks.

My mum recently gave me a mug with the words ‘ a woman’s work is never done so why start’?

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Soul searching online

So, I am glad to report that this is what I sent to my Mum in Spain tonight…..
After 11 days of contemplating life without each other hubby and I have finally sorted things out. He and I both apologised but he was very apologetic about my birthday and he was so upset about me not being back to celebrate with him that his feelings came out in all the wrong way. He made it up to me by going for a lovely family meal together at a lovely Italian restaurant. He was also very honest about his feelings and said that life would be awful without me (which is nice to know). We also talked about careers and he is supportive of what I want to do with social work. However, I feel that the strain of a single income is what got us here in the first place, so I am now actively pursuing a full-time job in the meantime. When I get the information about applying for the SW course next year, we will assess it and see if we can afford to progress with it. The only downside is I think it is a full-time course so I wont be able to earn until 2017. No point worrying whether it will happen or not – just going to let fate take its course.
I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and that we are a team again. In a way, although it was a horrible experience, I am glad it happened because it made us both realise things about oneanother that may have got lost somewhere between looking after children and bringing in the money.
Also, when I start full-time work, it is going to put us in a very tricky situation with the dogs. As much as it is upsetting to have to think about it, I think re-homing both of them will be the only option.
It is very special to be able to communicate with your Mum, regardless of age, time etc, their views and advice still count. I have a friend who lost her Mum to cancer a few years ago – she still emails her about her day and any issues that arise – although there is never a response, just typing a message to her, wherever she is, is soothing for the soul.
This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

At home Mum on the rocks

This was an email I sent to my Mum in Espana:
Dear Mum,
…………Talking of birthdays, there has been no improvement between me and hubby. He is refusing to apologise and I am refusing to let it go so we are now in stalemate, co-existing under the same roof but not communicating unless absolutely necessary – it is hideous. As a protest I have stopped cooking meals for him and doing his washing. As a result there is so much less for me to do which is great! He took an aversion to my lovely retro phone so that is now unplugged on the side and it is just being used for role play games – I didnt even bother to have a battle over that one. It turns out that he had to go through the formal process of interview at his work to get the full-time role and he had been getting worked up and stressed about it – think my birthday was in the wrong week. He complains that he is tired which is true but I still cant find a valid excuse for being so horrible on my birthday so I dont have much sympathy. I think something needs to change as the wear and tear of the job and the commute and working 6 days a week is causing wear and tear on our home life. I have threatened separation and his pride gets in the way of fully taking that on board and he just goads me to go ahead and do it. I am worried that by the time he realises what a fool he has been, it will be too late and too much water will have passed under the bridge. I want to do what I can (e.g. mediation) and may suggest it when he is ready to discuss further as I feel he would benefit from the views of a third party neutral person.
In the meantime, I have started looking at applying for jobs again as the last time we hit rock bottom I was an ‘at home Mum’ and I think that this is a recipe for disaster as far as our marriage is concerned!
Thankfully Lucy and Karen are on the phone/ in person to support me but what I find most worrying this time round is that i dont feel sad enough about the situation. Its almost as if I want to see what living on  my own would be like as I have never been without him since the age of 17! Turning 35 has flicked a switch in me, in that I am now looking to the next decade thinking by the time I am 45 will I still be treading on eggshells around his moods, feeling guilty every time I use my bank card, worrying that if I purchase something for the house without his approval he will just try to chuck it away or push it to one side and  will I still have to tailor my career around his? Unless he is wiling to face up to his increasingly stubborn and belligerent behaviour (as Louise says the ‘1950’s man’ syndrome) I will have to seriously re-consider things….
As much as I love hurling cakes across the room, I would quite like to eat some birthday cake next year!
This blog is for Unicef.
Thanks for reading.

Something new to know

Further to yesterday’s blog, here are the answers….

Is a fish farm a farm?

Yes, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) classifies fish farms as ‘Aquaculture Production Businesses’ – all of which must be authorised in advance and licensed or, in some specific niches, registered. Further restrictions are placed on fish-farms within National Parks.

Is a bush a tree?

No, a bush is not a tree. A tree is distinguished from a shrub in the following ways: a woody perennial plant, typically having a single stem or trunk growing to a considerable height and bearing lateral branches at some distance from the ground. A tree can be subject to planning control.

However, If a hedge (made up of either a tree and/or shrubs) adversely affects the owners/occupiers of an adjoining domestic property then they may be able to take action through the High Hedges complaints system introduced by the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003.

Can a telephone kiosk be a listed building?

Yes, because English Heritage have over 2000 telephone kiosks listed.

That only took me an hour to get the answers….Not good at doing homework at 35. Now I know what my 8 year old daughter feels like.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.