Wow! That flew by quickly! I thought I would be totally unpacked by now, house sorted, but no, I still have lots of untouched boxes piled up in the garage, books that need bookshelves, photo albums that need somewhere to go, drawers I just dumped into a box: the things you leave because you really dread spending a whole day sorting through them. I still have a lot of that to do.
But the kids are happy in school, my husband is getting used to the commute and finding his place in his job, the house is getting there – we have most of the furniture we need, TVs, music. We have had our families and a number of our friends round. Now I am beginning to feel that everyone is sorted… apart from me!
I drop the children off at school at 8.30am, home by 9.00am roughly, I pick them up at 3.15pm. Those are my parameters. Inside those times I do several things repetitively in the house. I realise I spend an awful lot of time moving things from one place to another: children’s toys back to playroom; pyjamas back under pillows; duvets, toothbrushes, breakfast things, laundry, clothes, all back to their respective places and then I tackle the piles of stuff that just seem to accrue after a day or two in that special place behind the kitchen door, you’ll have a place just like it I’m sure. I make phone calls, I search the internet for storage devices; I prepare dinner; I order food (still loving that); I plan.
But I am a getting a little bored now.
It’s not that much fun.
I realise I like people, being part of something. I like the energy of a workplace, being part of that community where you can share jokes, knowledge, being busy, not having to think so hard about how to occupy a day sensibly, not feeling you have to justify your existence to a stranger or even your husband when he comes home tired from work, dare I complain? I love feeling valued, contributing to something worthwhile, making a difference. And I know being at home for young children is incredibly important, but when they’re at school, life at home becomes somewhat less meaningful.
The thing is I know my husband and my children don’t really appreciate me being at home, they expect it yes, it’s been the normal so it’s a but unfair to ask otherwise. But it is quiet. I know I can fill up my time with social activities, I could make more of an effort to organise coffee mornings, do exercise classes (sorely needed!), find some voluntary work, but I don’t really want to do that either. I want to earn some money. I want to have my own cash flow, even if it a small trickle! I don’t want to find that I am totally unemployable in ten years’ time and I haven’t got a pension and my husband has run off with a younger woman (okay, now I’m being a bit anxious but I’ve always thought that a woman shouldn’t leave herself totally vulnerable). I am in that halfway house where I am beginning to contemplate the world of work after a five year career break.
I am scared!
I’m not sure how I will drop the children and get to a job by 8.45am or pick them up at 3.15pm. What happens if they are ill? Who is going to do the housework and the constant ‘stuff’ placement? What about school holidays? And what about the Nativity play and that extra day off for teacher training? And my son’s physiotherapy appointments? How does one get a job when you are a full time Mum and housewife with a husband who doesn’t get home until 7.30pm, leaves at 7.40am and can’t really help at all? And how will I do all the marking and planning that goes on if you’re a teacher when I have a family to manage.
Am I just making excuses?
Loads of women manage it, how do they do it? They get help. Someone has to do it and if it’s not the partner, it’s another woman stepping in to fill your shoes. You have to have either a parent, a nanny or an au pair. My Mum lives too far away and would drive me mad if she was running my house, a nanny would probably earn a similar amount to me and I might resent that she doesn’t have to do any marking (maybe I should retrain?!) and my husband wouldn’t sanction an au pair as he would see it as an invasion of his space. So what to do?
I’m not sure but I’m looking into it with a mixture of fear and excitement. I just realise that I’ve been focusing on everyone else and actually I’m not that happy. It’s too quiet. Too dull.
In the meantime exercise and the occasional coffee with an actual friend helps a lot. I went for a stunning walk this morning for 40 minutes in the woods near where we live. It made me feel so much happier walking through these incredible woodlands of burnished orange, yellow and brown leaves, spotting purple berries, seeing birds fly off when they heard me approach, a pheasant dash past me. Just beautiful.
But then I came home and started sorting through the kitchen piles and then I ate too many of those delicious little pieces of millionaire shortbread from Waitrose….oops! Really meant to save those for the children.
Back to tidying.