Breathe the pressure ……..

Let’s not pretend that life isn’t  chaotic most of the time

Perhaps we dress it up as order and define ourselves as in control ,and sometimes, for long stretches, days roll over and over and we might feel that we are there. We have reached

At this point though there is the possibility that we might become compacent.

The complacency , nurtures the growth of a backlog of tasks which start as scrawls on the side of your desk jotter and spread to the things to do app on the phone. Eventually, you seek to unify them and end up with things to do, compilation 1 and 2.Which you then attempt to plan complete, giving each day of the week a section of the list in the only way you know how

Often the plans just don’t pan out in the way you imagine they used to – they start to stutter and despite your effort, the navigation through them doesn’t feel orderly

I used to think those days were confined to having small children but over here on the other side of motherhood which I shall call –‘mother to another adult hood’ – those less orderly days can be equally prolific – maybe even more so.

Particularly on those days you earmark for getting things back under control. Like today.

I am blessed with fantastic kids-  they are nice, uncontrived, and not materialistic They try hard to accept what we have and have a really healthy and emphatic view of other people whatever their circumstances or their background, they don’t discriminate.

And I am proud of them.

Still, it doesn’t mean that I don’t like my own space away from them, and as life picks up pace, the thought of a couple of hours to myself on a Saturday afternoon was alluring.

After a hectic morning bathroom cleaning, and bike riding with smallest there followed an hour of gentle cajoling as I delivered what middlest decried as my motivational speech

As I pontificated the merits of swimming lessons, smallest edged out of the room, I was left delivering my pearls of wisdom to a lazing teenager who was sufficiently roused by it to pull herself up from her laying position and say,” well that’s motivated me Mum – I’ll go……”.

“Great but you can swim already” I say

She shrugs and I sigh turning in pursuit of smallest who has found refuge in the garden

I continue holding onto the thought of my two hours in the library and continue motivating

My words performing

Like a life raft amongst the waves of a small person’s anxiety

Which he rode on a wave of persuasion all the way to the swimming pool –

and after half an hour of chasing small bobbing plastic animals up and down the pool he decided, that he “liked swimming again now Mummy”.

Job Done.

Dropping smallest off he asked when I am coming back even before I have left and I answer smiling and waving at his still toddler like face before I head on foot to the library parting with middlest at the doors of her favourite charity shop. We embrace and she said ,”you could come in”, and I replied” I have two hours darlin I need to get some work done. I must be self disciplined “,-she nods and I sneak off , at this point, feeling as if I am being naughty

I have work to do and the library seemed the best place to go to concentrate so I walk in and select a spot where I have a view of a tree and I am not surrounded by people and conversations I can ear wig upon.

I sit and smile ,arranging all my bits; laptop, books , pens and drink.  As I log in I inhale- – no kids, no distractions apart from my phone.

  • Which then rings-

 I look down

its eldest –” hi love I am in the library I whisper into the handset” –” oh right he whispers back “–” why are you whispering “,I say –” because you are in the library.” I don’t think it matters if you speak normally”, I say – “oh right” he says, I lean back, aware of the time which is passing more quickly than it usually does- and then I look up

My eyes resting on the waving hand

Attached to middlest who smiles and strides towards me

I smile back and give a smile laugh which teeters on the edge of hysteria

Eldest says,” what is it?”

“Your sister has arrived”

“we are nealry all with you”, he says

“arnt you justI sa”, y as middlest announces that she has come to sit with me

“OK love , its your brother”, I point tot he phone – Hiii she says trying to take the handset –

“Hang On let me speak with him” I say and as she sits down I stand up and walk out to talk to him recounting the irony of the situation that has just unfolded

He laughs and after arranging to meet tomorrow, I slide back into the library sitting down to a smiling-faced middlest who has brought her book with her.

She settles in and then looks over – “is that your drink?”, she says nodding at my drinks bottle – “yes”, I say and she leans in and takes it

I grin widely and shake my head , as I get on with the serious business of making my life a bit less chaotic.

                                                                                                ………….   come play my game ill test ya

Prodigy, Breathe 1996

Liam Howlett · Keith Flint · Maxim Reality.

Quiet hope

Sometimes hope is just putting one foot

in front of another and facing another day.

It is learning to be in a moment without allowing

A million other potential moments

To come crashing in on you

Imploding the maybes and scattering

the possibility of now.

Whatever next

Since the lockdown Dad has become less able to manage his own surroundings. He is 85 now and although talking to him is as if you are talking to him 30 years ago – albeit a bit louder- but moving around with him is a slow business. As a naturally fast person, this makes navigating days with him quite tricky, and as I have given up some days of my week to care for him, its presented me with a challenge.

I do it because there is no one else. And he doesn’t deserve well I am not sure what he deserves but he doesn’t deserve to be on his own. I guess that is frank.

Anyway Thursday was spent, doing the shopping and cleaning the bathroom and kitchen and then after we had lunch together I wondered if he would like to sort through his books of which , there are thousands. I refrained from saying literally as its fast becoming my most hated word in smallest growing vocabulary, but this is a literal statement. The walls of his flat are lined with full bookcases, books are stacked on tables, the floor, chairs, in the living room, hallway, bedrooms, and spare room which was converted after I left into a library.

It’s hard work, we are trying to slim down his collection in anticipation that he may have to move elsewhere in the not-so-distant future. It’s also quite painful – for him and for me.

Although for him its more the pain of loss and for me the pain of having to almost force him to face the loss.

“What about this one, I say,  french cooking in the 1800s do you really need this- well I just don’t know splods, I mean I havnt seen it for years but you know- ok well lets put it in the maybe pile then.

“This one”?  I say


– I quickly put it into the no pile- he stares at me –  I raise my eyebrows ,”you took too long”, I say and look away a smidgen guilty but I am trying to firm here.

“Oh” he says

“Er what about this one?”, I say holding up the next in line.

“ah yes , now then that’s a holy text you can’t get rid of that one”. He folds his arms.

“Right Ok”, I say and I place it back on the shelf-

 “this one?”, I say

“ah ha now there is a story behind that one” he smiles and waves his hands in that way that he does.

 I settle back on my haunches and into a feeling that I recognise vaguely.

An  hour later we have sifted through a shelf. I look around at the other 20 odd shelves that are left. In this one room.

I have become familiar with where in the house you can find books on poetry, literature, biography, history, etc etc  so I am be to swiftly put away the books he decide he is keeping.

I take the recycling out, fold his trousers and put on my coat , ready to go.

Dad  shuffles forwards and waggles his finger in the air,“Oh there’s one more thing Splods”, -his name for me which I don’t he doesn’t think twice about despite my 43 years.

It only becomes a thing in the presence of someone else. Every other time it is just normal, unlike the request, which follows. A last minute task before I embark on the 30 minute drive to the school to pick up smallest

Can you just file off the bottom of the bathroom door, his finger starts waggling again this time in the direction of the table which he reaches towards.

“Sorry??” I say

He hands me a metal file.

I look at it and then back at him

He continues, “ its sticking and I obviously can’t get down there- we probably need to take it off, he shuffles forward.

“What the door?” I say my eyebrows raised my mouth slightly ajar.

“Yes, yes”, he sounds slightly irked hat I am not as on point with this issue as he clearly is.

“but we don’t have time now”, he finishes and nudges past me

On pause

“No” I say, holding the file and looking from him to the door to somewhere else where a thought of “what!!!seriously you want me to file the door!!!!now????!!!!”  is floating about

I crawl on the floor and push my knee on the edge of the open door to steady it and start to file the door in the way that I think I should ,asking if this is what he means because I have never filed the bottom of the door, so don’t know if this is what he wants.

But it turns out it is and in that moment of confirmation in my head I have become an expert

, a master of filing doors on a Thursday before the school run. I brandish my file and give it my all.

He says , “Oh its working”

I am quietly pleased and this fills me with a kind of buoyancy which takes me out the door to the car.

On the drive-realise I am bloody knackered

As if I had been teaching and I consider the day on the journey

The amount of deep breaths I take, the effort to slow down, reaching constantly into a pot of patience I didn’t even know I held . He wants to keep everything and getting him to let go is like prising a bottle from a hungry baby.

I want to stop thinking about it all , this situation with Dad but I know I cant because no one else will do it because there is no one else to do it. And it can’t just be ignored anymore. He is old and there is a reality that is starting to emerge that I have to face and so does he. It strikes me that that he is doing the same as me. He’s trying to ignore it- by delaying and procrastinating and I am kind of burying my head in the cleaning and the sorting out.

Because your parents getting old, is a little bit daunting, watching him creep towards the edge of his life and understanding just what isn’t possible there

 I wonder what its like for him.

Of course, me being me , reflected on this with him last night; I told him how useful it is for me to know what all this stuff means to him

Other than the fact that he is able to fill me with interesting facts about the authors and history behind the books, through his chats he gives me insight into his life at the time.

He says that it is difficult for him to imagine himself outside of these books-That some people exist for themselves outside of objects -but it seems he locates himself inside them and so every item taken is like a piece of himself being lost.

He has not attached himself to anything other than the material he has

A bit like a second skin I guess

He says I have you but mostly its just me and them

That’s hard to hear

I feel like I am helping him to organise the end of his life and in doing so I am preparing myself by sorting things into something a bit more manageable because honestly when I look at it all, the only thing I can say is Oh My God.

And it comes to me, the feeling that I had earlier that day is a kind of despair- because I just don’t know what I’m doing.

Jacinda Ardern: A decision well made

The news that Jacinda Ardern has resigned has shocked the world and despite not being a staunch follower of NZ politics I admit that my eyebrows rose this morning when I scrolled through my news feed.

It struck me as surprising as what I had previously read suggested that she was committed to politics, over and above everything else in her life.

When I read on, the narrative was clear and satisfactory,”she had nothing left in the tank”, and I  gave a small laugh;

Of course she hasn’t.. because you will become spent emotionally if you take on the world – which Jacinda did literally , just like millions of us do everyday.

We juggle running houses and kids and jobs -we run around making a life for our little ‘hell beasts’ in addition to trying to keep some of that life that we had, before they arrived. And it’s bloody hard. As Jacinda said we are all human- we can only do so much , for so long.

Like many I can relate to her words; I too am spent emotionally – at least I was until I made the decision to step back just before Christmas – to let someone else do the job that I have been doing for over 17 years now. At the point I made the decision , there were only dregs left in a tank that once had been full for teaching. I had gone back part-time after leaving a full time role after lockdown. The whole decision-making process was documented in New Beginnings.

So this is Part 2 I suppose ; (Perhaps its even what I wanted to do in Part 1) of how I left teaching which started, way back in 2016.

In New Zealand in 2016 Jacinda Ahern became Prime Minister.

She rose to the challenge, championed woman and for an end to poverty for children. She was strong in the face of her opposition and exuded energy and hopefulness.

I too had become a leader… not quite on the same level but I had become a course leader at an F.E College.

She was in charge of a country and Ministers and I was in charge of 68 NEET kids and a few not neat staff.

She championed womans rights , I championed the rights of the kids to an education, even if they weren’t really keen on having one.

She prevented 1000s of deaths from covid, I stopped tens of exclusions through being a bit more patient than I probably should have been.

She led courageously and with sincerity through terror incidents; I led with a certain amount of sincerity but mainly with humour as I managed facebook rows, broken lifts, kids on drugs and trips to the local fields to retrieve drunk teenagers.

She had a baby in the first year and I too had a baby- but thats where the similarities (ahem) end….

I went on maternity leave and decided not to go back to the role;  but to do something I believed would be less taxing; teaching permanently excluded Looked After Children in the community. I was a little bit wrong and spent the next two years in a constant state of anxiety. Despite really enjoying the relationship building and the small successes, working with children who are traumatised,  is hard work and as the adult, you carry all their scary feelings for them. All the time….especially when you chase them around a council estate because they don’t want to do fractions today. (For the record I didn’t want to do fractions either, so that actually worked out quite well for both of us)

Then came lockdown which Jacinda managed marvellously.

I  didn’t and decided I wasn’t going back. Ever .

Until I had no money and couldn’t find something that I felt I could do other than teach- so I chose the same role albeit in a smaller guise. Plus, doing the job that you have always done is comforting particularly when you can do it fairly well.  

Fundamentally I suppose I am good at it. I work well with the children and I understand them but …..

I looked around me at other teachers and was suddenly reminded of the energy that I once had, the energy that you need to do the job well to give those young people the absolute best chance in life. I am no longer consistent in that respect and that is why I had to step back. I don’t believe that I am devoid of energy, just devoid of energy for that role- for now.

So when Jacinda says that she spent the summer hoping to find the energy again – I get that.

I also searched myself during the summer months and I did find it , for a while. Until the circumstances of life outside of work trotted in. And they do that, circumstances; they pop by to remind you that there is stuff that exists outside your career that you need to attend to and I was stopped in my tracks.

I’ve been reading the commentary feeds on her departure and they are quite mixed in response. I was surprised at the negative statements- but I guess when you have a government like ours it’s only possible to see the positive in everyone else’s. I wasn’t surprised to see the other angle creep in – that there is some reason behind it all that we will be a party to at some point in the future. People grappling around for a slant on a reason that is quite straight forward in its origin.

Anticipating this suspicion, Jacinda has already stated that there is no other reason, other than to say she is ‘done’.

Now I am a trainee therapist. Believe me if there is an angle- I will find it- in everything

Analysis is second nature to me.

I just can’t see anything beyond what she has said today.

For me and maybe for Jacinda Ardern, the greatest moment in all this is realising that YOU know when it’s time to go. It’s not a decision that has been made by someone else but one that you have made by yourself because of your self-knowledge

there has already been a trickle of speculation of whats next for her. Again, her words made clear that of immediate importance to her was her family ,being with a child she has not experienced in her entirety and marrying her long term partner.

A friend said to me earlier that they were just taking one day at a time and if I may speculate about Jacindas immediate future that is probably what she is doing. Taking one day at a time

Not thinking too far ahead and certainly not seeing everything as a ‘forever’ choice or a






 if we are weighing things up, considering where to put our energy then , perhaps like Jacinda, it is best invested in the thing that will be with us forever.

And the only thing which falls into that category is our decision to have and raise a child.

Sometimes life really is that simple.

The Great Scott Tread Mills Challenge!

Back in 2005 middlest was a year old and eldest was 4. I spent a lot of time at home with them both and as I kept them busy, the Radio kept me company which it had done since I was a kid. As a teenager I loved Radio 1 l-

I shed tears when Zoe Ball announced her engagement to Norman Cook as I sat on my bedroom floor getting ready for college , I raved to Radio 1 Dance Anthems with Dave Pearce and I partied hard to Danny Ramplings Love Groove Dance Party. I adored Steve Lamacq and lapped up the wisdom of the wonderful John Peel. The years past and I always dipped back in but then I had the kids and it became a staple part of mine and their diet. Middlest and I would dance around the kitchen to Jo in the mornings and when Scott arrived in the afternoon , he added a level of humour much needed in a home, which was struggling.

The years passed and many things changed but the radio came with us and so did the Radio 1 massive. Slowly though , the featured DJs changed and i came close to turning off Radio 1 completely but for Scott who still made me laugh.

And as the kids who as they got older, took him as their own.

Slowly , my tastes altered and I moved over to Radio 2, where I would tune into Steve Wright. To be honest , Steve had become my favourite so when I heard he was being replaced, I was disappointed. I needn’t have been though- the switch has been perfect and I look forward to getting in the car on my drive home from work, to pick up smallest, knowing that Scotts there to keep us company.

So today we have kept you company Scott…….smallest is just getting to know you and proudly marched along with you as we watched you on iplayer before bedtime (“I can do that Scott!”). As I watched him watching you, I thought about life all those years ago; we moved due to difficult circumstances, and the kids and I were fortunate enough to be signposted to the projects funded in part by Children in Need. I know that my children would not be the wonderful people they are today if they hadn’t had the support from such projects , funded by people like yourself who are selfless and want to help others.

So I just want to say thankyou from the other side of the story.

Twenty years on, the people you help today will still remember what you did.

Scott Mills, you are a legend.

Don’t tell Miss

I remember, 

I couldn’t cope with knowing what you were doing. 

I wanted to give what I knew to someone else. 

‘cause, if it stayed part of me any longer it would rot my insides 

A sin I held onto , 

that felt like the food you didn’t want in you. 

Small bits of information you fed me on paper that 

Bloated my stomach until 

Like you, I wanted it out. 

The words digested from letters we would write 

To each other. Pages and pages of schoolgirl script 

carrying secrets, we just could not say; 

Like who we fancied, who we hated  

And stuff like that which bit into my consciousness, 

swirled around my mind at bedtime, 

sending me on Monday morning 

in a dizzy state towards her office. 

The little wooden box in the main hall with windows  

that stretched to the ceiling, sprouting from walls so high 

you could not see who was in there, if they sat down. 

Your words spewed out and she jotted notes in her book 

 in the way that she did that gave away nothing of what she was feeling; 

And asked questions, like how long and where 

then she showed me the way out, onto the streets of the school 

where I was left To find my way back to you. 

which it turned out was not easy  

After Miss had spoken to you, 

You turned off down a side alley and I was left on the cold 

Hard edge of our group, a cornerstone of betrayal 

Omitted from the chitter and the chatter of life in Year 9. 

Your mum said thanks though through the intercom 

Of the flats when I went to see you  

resolute in my belief I had done the right thing. 

Then months later you said thanks too 

And I said thanks quietly later  

In my head to myself, when I sat with the bags  

Of uneaten food in layers of clothes,

For giving me the heads up on what not to do  

When you have a problem with eating  ,

And you don’t want anyone to know.


You do not tell anyone 

You don’t tell Miss. 

Better late than never!

I laughed out loud at The Observers Emma Beddington recollection of her  Mothers Day experiences- (Observer, )- moments she recalls and those she would rather forget. It’s an article which many will relate to and with and when you have travelled the full stretch of child rearing , like Emma , you look back and find that its the weird memories that make you smile.

Like many Mums, my memories of the years running up to the teens were filled with hand made presents; some created at home others at the childminder’s or at school. The kind of gifts that make you smile even if you if you don’t know what you are looking at.

The small clay pots, the little boxes filled with chocolates, the glitter covered portraits, the ‘interesting’ cardboard animals with my name written on them. (Yes, I was once portrayed as a cute kitten and a not so cute tortoise).

I think when I look at  them; I am reminded of something of them, their capability, their personality .

Of course one of the many consequences of having more than one child is that sometimes there is fierce competition to get the best gift, which is quickly replaced in teen years with reminding each other that Mothers Day even exists.

Anyway for me , the early competition quickly faded into a phase of collaborative gift giving and as the teen years settled in, more standard presents arrived – a box of chocolates, perfume, a stuffed monkey (!), a wind up monkey on a surfboard bath toy (there’s a theme here) until the years arrived when they appreciated the things I really liked and I received books and LPs.

In the last couple if years though there has been a return to the creative years and alongside the book or monkey on a surfboard (brilliant) I have received a little something more.

And this year I waited for it.

Sitting at the dinner table, eating a meal cooked by eldest and middlest, we chatted , smallest becoming increasingly itchy to get ‘on with it’. I admit, I feel slightly excited at his revelation, what could it be? perhaps a message from Pop Idols Wagner , mentioned by eldest a couple of weeks prior.(

At the moment, I am mentally prepared for , no I am hoping for something way out of the ordinary. Last year, after dinner, I came face to face with myself on the screen of a laptop at the table , and as said picture of faded, I was told to press play. Ten slides later I had been taken back twenty odd years,  via a power-point of my best ‘Mumming moments’ (the verb , to Mum has since become entrenched in family talk). Number one was my difficulty in receiving houseguests without recourse to a super-clean; a complete deep clean of the house, even the rooms which the visitor wont be using. This included a link to their favourite you tube representation of me

So, plates clared away, i came back o the table to find smallest seated middlest seated not so odd and eldest still in the room all v odd , I was told to sit and as I did a beat box from smallest who held the rhythm while middlest rapped and eldest danced

“Hip, hip, hooray, it’s mother’s day , here is what we say………….”.

And so on.

Usually I end on what my Dad would say is a soupy or philosophical point but there is nothing to be added here. Other than to say it was a priceless moment that words can add nothing to nor can take away from. 3 kids being themselves a moment that i will never forget.

And then there were two

“Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while ……. you could miss it.”

Matthew Broderick; Ferris Buellers Day Off.

Eldest has left home…………. they actually left before Christmas, but it’s taken me a while to face it squarely, an age to clean his old room and even longer to write about him leaving. I have wondered why it has taken nearly five months to acknowledge this. Why, when it’s such a significant moment in both our lives? Some might say denial, some that I am a slow processor – some might even say perhaps it’s not that bigger deal for me. On consideration though I feel it’s because I have struggled to come to terms with the fact that his childhood is over. His leaving home has created a gap. One that no matter how much I try to fill with work or hobbies or through busying myself with middlest and smallest, is still there, gaping, loud and definite. There is also a part of me which is struggling to manage the reality that life is passing by. When children are young, they are with you constantly and to an extent time stands still. Having smallest certainly stalled that sense of aging but now, despite travelling alongside smallest through another childhood – I cannot ignore it. Eldest leaving has reminded me that I am in middle age, and he has reached adulthood. Childhood passes incredibly quickly. With that stark realisation comes a plethora of memories of childhood- the happy times and the struggles that I experienced in becoming a mother; inexperienced, immature and scared. Days spent grappling around for internal resources which I didn’t have but days which I nonetheless filled. Thinking about how and what with, it’s tricky to put it all together. I’ve forgotten a lot. So intent was I on filling their days, that it seems I didn’t stop to see half of them; so, when they come to me with a ‘do you remember narrative’, I’m ashamed to say, no I don’t. Listening to the radio one evening, I caught the tail end of a discussion where the narrator speaks about the slow movement, a group which focuses upon the work of Carl Honoré, who advocated a slowing down of what has become an amazingly fast paced world. Honoré advocates the consideration of slow parenting, a method of child rearing in which the parent allows the child more agency in their days at a pace they are comfortable with. It is juxtaposed with helicopter parenting in which parents are hypervigilant and look to fill up the days and the lives of their children, with a constant stream of activities and through the consumption of material goods. As I write this it occurs to me that how overwhelmed you might feel depends upon many factors, but I suspect of many parents a child leaving home allows them to glimpse the future. One where you will be left with what you began with. Yourself. For now, though that’s a long way off. I am blessed to have them all; still by my side are two others, the smallest of which I watched this morning as he buzzed from room to room, in and out of stories and in between various games. As he stilled, I sat next to him, and I said, “Do you know what, if I had to choose one thing only that I wanted to teach you, it would be to remember just to slow down. I have spent my entire life rushing around and I can’t help feeling that I have missed an awful lot”. So that’s my goal. To stop and take notice. Worry less about what I think I should do and focus on the present; so, the next time this happens it won’t be so difficult to try and remember the life of the child, who has just left home to make their way on their own.

All change please

I met a lady the other day who has given up her career in health visiting to become a therapist in alternative medicine. . She described her training as, ‘life changing’ and listening to her; watching her speak, her experience is visceral -for her and for me.

The joy she gleaned from learning about something different and it became the impetus for a lifestyle revision and placing it alongside a neighbours recollection of their career change, the disaffection of careers and motherhood was apparent.  They too had become disillusioned by their role, this time in education and sought to apply their craft in its purest form, through drawing for a living rather than teaching others to do so. made over a decade ago, “the move”, she recounts firmly, ‘was the very  the best thing she ever did”. And as she says this you believe her- struck by the notion of a gut decision, regarding something that she knew was right for her and her family.

Each account has been framed as an epiphany type episode , a decision made in an instant after hearing the latest vagal dispatch of unhappiness. They were not happy , they recognised it, they did something about it. If I listen to my gut then perhaps I could make the change too.

The desire to do the same has overcome me on more than one occasion. The dream to write – not to teach others to do it, has run on throughout my life. But I have never tried do so professionally. One reason is doubt in my ability , the other is the children and the impact it would have if I were to take a job that required me to work outside of school hours. So the dream became a hobby, but going back to my teaching role this year ,the idea has wandered back in. It is my gut feeling that I should take the plunge, follow my desire and hearing the  lifechanging decisions of people in my life,  has made me wonder further about my own choices.

There was , of course, another thought cheering them on. Their role as a mother. Certainly , ‘The Artist’ recalls how the travails of motherhood had put pressure on their time , constraining their availability to work and so made looking for suitable work tricky. They said, “Its like having two jobs and being expected to work both full time, you cant do it”.

“Except”, we both laughed, “you have to!”.

And if you are lucky enough to be a single Mum, you may need benefit support; in which case the expectation is that you do do it. You make yourself available for work. Not an issue for most, however the bone of contention for many, is the amount of hours that you are expected to make yourself available. 25 hours a week in my case, with a child of 5 in school. This is fine until you factor in school holidays- to which my work coaches response is-,”well what about childcare?”

Childcare is , extortionate and taking away the economic implications, there is also the fact that, it is , for some of us , it is just not an option. I brought my children into this world to raise them myself not to have someone else do it for me. I didn’t factor in the doing it independently but that doesn’t mean to say that my child should be made to endure childcare because of my failure (if you want to call it that) in having a solid relationship. In June last year, the work coach and I scrolled for employment vacancies together and suitable roles were limited. All were for 48 weeks a year. Most for 37 hours per week. She looked at me expectantly and I shrugged my shoulders. “I cant do that”, I said stoicly.

“Well you need to be a bit more flexible”, she states.

Right“, I reply, “or perhaps the rules need to include a little more flexibility for people in my situation”.

The coach frowned and I continued, “You are assuming a stalwart of support and suitable childcare availability, neither which I have”.

Silence and she looks at me and then at the screen. Feeling emboldened I decide to continue,” and perhaps a consideration in the labour market of an increase of part time roles for Mums who would like to do something else other than teach. 

“But you are a teacher,” she argues.

“Yes I know that- but what if I didn’t want to teach anymore?”, I finish feeling flustered (as she is right) , and lean back in my chair.

She didn’t respond and I didn’t expect her to as the question was beyond her role – and it was maybe unfair of me to have raised the issue with her.

Instead , I considered all this and with time running out before I received a sanction, I receded – I am limited and it saddens me that I can’t make the change that I feel my gut is demanding.

Of course change is inevitable and so after speaking to another neighbour about her passion for her job a few weeks ago, I decided to take the plunge and I applied for a job as a community reporter. I pushed aside the maternal worries and sent over my CV with the words, “life is too short to be going to a job you dislike”, still rolling around in my mind.

And i waited. And I thought about what I had done and was excited but before long there was something else bothering me. That something else, slapped me in the face when I heard nothing from the news desk. I was disappointed. Disappointment which highlighted to me just how much I want to write but also disappointed that i could even have considered leaving the kids at a point when they and I am not really ready for me to.

Ok, technically I wouldn’t be leaving them, but I would be making the kind of change that, they, especially smallest would struggle with. I couldn’t do that.

So perhaps that was my epiphany.

I too have grasped the messages being communicated by my vagal nerve. The discomfort of chasing something at odds with what I have, was too much for me to bear and so I have turned around and decided to stop seeking change and sit with what I have.

It might not be what I want forever but its certainly where I am happiest for now.