Somewhere between the roof leaking into our newly renovated room, requiring an emergency electrician, half a roof worth of new roofing iron and a continually backing up septic tank I began to troll the job adverts. Not seriously, mind, because I was staying at home with the girls until Pip went to school in 2017. But just having a peek.
I applied for a remote position with a company whose ethics and transparency mirrored my own, but it wasn't to be. I went for an interview at the university, but it also wasn't to be. I applied for a job locally, but it wasn't to be. Actually, the last one made me raise my eyebrow enough that when I got a rejection letter, I hit reply and asked for feedback. They called me, asked me for an interview. A few days later, they offered me the job. I mowed the lawn whilst the girls were at daycare, wondering if I was completely neglecting my children by doing this. How would they (me) cope without me (them)? However, the promise of a part time job with decent pay and conditions lured me in.
We were off. The first few weeks were brutal. Everyone hated daycare (same previously adored daycare, just an extra day), I hated dropping them off, I hated picking up screaming children who had been seemingly fine moments before I walked in. I still hate 'Feral Thursday' where both of my kids have a day of just letting it all out, whatever 'it' may be. Just typing about Thursdays makes my shoulders tense up.
I have noticed the benefits. There is money in our bank account. Millie has blossomed with confidence. Pip has had a language explosion and is making friends. I really enjoy talking (or not talking) to adults. I have Things To Talk About when I get home from work. Mr S gets to not listen to me worry about money.
For the longest time I wore a frugal badge with pride. Oddly enough, I seem to be more frugal, homemade and Suzy Homemaker than ever before, perhaps because it's a choice, not a necessity? I don't know. I do know that when my HR department sent an email asking if anyone wanted a bag of apples 'past their due by date' (snort) for their animals, I ran down the hallway as fast as my hot pink high heels would allow to collect my bounty.
'We didn't know you had pigs Amy.'
'I don't! I have a dehydrator and a Fowlers Vacola unit!'
8kg of perfectly fine apples. Yes please.
I am also in the incredibly confronting position of missing my girls so much it makes me want to cry whilst filing in the compactors, then when they're home with me and asking me oh so many question at the same time, or yelling because I said we weren't buying icy poles, I just want them to go away and GIVE MUMMY SOME SPAAACE. So much love. So much frustration.
M starts school next week. I'm not mentally ready for it. It's hard to grieve your firstborn tiny baby going to big school when said almost-five year old is PUMPED and READY FOR ACTION. All I can see is the baby years slipping away. P starts next year. I'm absolutely not ready for that one, but she will be. This year is a juggle of daycare arrangements, work rosters, wonderfully understanding supervisors, exceptionally accommodating daycare providers and a little family called Smyth, growing up and into the world.
I devoted a lot of time last year to professionally writing, and building a blog with an audience, and piece by piece, I lost love for it. Facebook blog groups seemed to be SO many people shouting into the void 'HERE IS MY BLOG. HERE IS MY AWESOME POST. SHARE IT. WHY AM I GETTING NO SHARES? WHAT DO I DO? HERE IS MY BLOG. HERE IS MY AWESOME POST.' and then I was done.
It felt icky. It felt fake. I felt like I wanted no part of it. So I stopped.
I didn't realise the relief I felt when I got a job and started going to work. I didn't have to participate in a fake world to get reads to get sponsored posts and free products and make a living doing it. If that's the world, it's not for me.
I read a lot of great literature whilst job hunting, the best being Jon Acuff's 'Do Over'. Do yourself a favour, go and check it out. There's many ways to love the life and the job you have, and many ways to get great tools to make a change.
Many musings aside, there is a light in all of this. For three days of the week, I go to an office where everyone can wipe their own butts, no one yells at me AND they pay me to go there. Winner.