5 July to 31 August 2018 – Summer of fun
Two whole months of fun with my family, with only a few nights away, experiencing the delightful hospitality available in Leeds. I say family, but I hardly see Hubby. He is busy working for the two of us. Yesterday he was looking drained, so I turned to Nigella Lawson’s website to find something sparkly to cook for dinner (I do try every once in a while. The effort is generally more impressive that the final result but that doesn’t stop me trying new things). The website advertised details of “An Evening with Nigella Lawson” which is touring the UK later in the year. On the basis that this might have a more sparkly effect that a home cooked meal, I booked two tickets and decided to order take out. Hubby has a special place in his heart for Nigella (I think we all do). When I shared the news with him, he definitely seemed to perk up a little (twinkle returning to his eyes, smile returning to his face, color to his cheeks) In fact, he had a break from working in the office, made a drink for the both of us, sorted two loads of washing; all whilst whistling the tune to “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” I am a genius! I am hoping the effect will last until November. Maybe I’ll offer to wait in the bar whilst he gets his book signed.
My lung function has definitely benefitted from the time off. I am full of energy, I have time for everything. I am on top of my health and deal with problems straight away (I’ve had a few blips and a few allergic reactions but dealt with without delay).
I had a few days of emotional “Oh my God, what have I done?” thoughts and “what on earth am I going to do now?” questions. The Disney trip helped to delay that until it was time to come home. I’m pleased to say that those feelings didn’t last very long (and my choice of footwear has calmed a little).
After six weeks of following my carefully planned diary of activities, I chilled out a little and have since spent a considerable amount of time dancing with H. We have danced in the kitchen, in the garden, in the bathroom, in the hall and in the car. I found my confidence to go to the gym alone too, which has been useful because H and I have enjoyed a lot of picnics together.
I have always felt guilty about returning to work when H was only three months old. It took a lot to bring her into our lives and it wasn’t a totally smooth pregnancy. Having just finished reading this, Hubby has reminded me of his experience of holding my hand whilst I cried in pain and struggled to breathe as we waited for the ambulance, just three months into my pregnancy.
My return to the office was a staged return, quickly building up to four days a week but still, from three months old, H had a working Mummy. This summer my time with H has been my priority and so I have forgiven myself for that now.
H starts school in September. I cannot believe how fast her first five years have unfolded. I am enjoying every minute with her.
H: “Mummy, can we have a picnic and then a race and then eat cake?”
H: “Mummy, can we paint your face?”
H: “Mummy, can we have a healthy breakfast? In bed? With the iPad?”
H: “Mummy, when are we going back to Disney?”
[when you’re 21, sweetie and we can afford it again]
H: “Mummy, is it Mummy day today?”
M: “yep, and tomorrow and the day after”
H: ”Mummy, can we build a shop?”
Last week I walked into the living room and she was sat in her miniature wicker chair, in her pajamas, legs crossed, watching TV with my nebuliser in her mouth. She had pulled the machine, the tubing and the mouth piece over to the TV, and in front of her chair to ensure the machine could rest on the floor and that there was enough length in the tube. The machine was switched off, it had all been sterilized and there obviously wasn’t any medication in the chamber.
M: “What are you doing Sweetie?”
H: “I’m taking my medicine Mummy”
H: [cough, cough, cough] “See, I need it”
She looked so proud of herself. She makes me giggle.
Today – One more go. If it gets too much I’ll stop “I promise, Mum”
I’ve thought a lot about what I will do from the end of September, when Hubby is busy working himself too hard (thinking about Nigella) and H is enjoying time with her school friends (telling them what to do). In fact, I’ve not really stopped thinking about it. Any time I have been alone ‘what to do next’ has been running through my head on a loop; sunbathing by the pool at Disney, stood by the waterfall, looking out to the lake, working out, cleaning the kitchen, hoovering the stairs, walking to the corner shop, taking the nebulisers…
I miss adult conversation and structure. It’s been lovely so far but I am starting to talk to myself in the mirror. Honey (the chocolate Lab) currently knows my every move because I tell her. I also talk to the television and conduct unnecessarily long debates with H. She now uses the words “seriously” “inappropriate” “barely” and “surely” far more than any four year old should.
H: “Oh Mummy, surely you’ve done it by now?”
H: “No Mummy, I didn’t mean like that, I meant like this, you silly goose” [said with a toothy grin]
H: “Erm… Mummy, not like that, Oh, Mummy, seriously? I’ll do it myself” [and then kisses me on the hand]
She has also recently thrown a “however” into the conversation. I really ought to buy her teacher a box of chocolates on day one of school.
I have concluded that I’m not ready to give up on law just yet. Whilst I am very lucky to have spent a summer with my beautiful little girl, I do feel like I have lost a little of my identity. When H is spending her days with her teacher what does that leave me with? It’s a fine balance, do too much and you lose yourself. Do nothing and disappear anyway.
My education was expensive and self funded. I left Law School (having completed my LPC) in debt to the sum of £32,000.00. I worked really hard to pay that off. I think it’s too soon to just give up on that investment. The law firm is one thing; I am another and I like a challenge.
Away from the finance side of things, as an individual, I think a lot (“Oh my God, you over think everything” Little Sis). I like to get involved and I like an argument. Channelling those characteristics into a career means that that they are useful.
So, what can I do?
I have a plan. I need allocated time every day to fit in meds, treatments and the school run. I need the flexibility to slow down or stop at the earliest opportunity. I also need to be able to do an excellent job for clients without wiping myself out in the process.
I’ve recently re-read my blog, correcting typos and reformatting (I’ve had A LOT of time on my hands). I realised just how many times I had used the word “exhausted”. Sometimes, walking away from something that isn’t working for you is the absolute best thing to do.
I’m hoping that working with a large team but from home with fewer days, more flexible and reduced working hours and actually exercising control over the level and type of work I take on will offer the solution.
I’ve had several offers, which did absolute wonders for my confidence. I hadn’t realised just how low that had dropped. The real challenge was to find something that allows me to do all of that but I think I’ve managed it.
Hubby says that since making the decision I have started “bouncing around the house”. My default expression appears to be a smile (I don’t want to say “resting bitch face”). I can’t wait to have a manageable focus and I have already started researching opportunities. I am actually giddy about the prospect of proofing my business cards.
So, I’m going to give it another go. One more time and if it gets too much I’ll stop (“I promise, Mum”) I start later in the year and I’m so excited.