The time came far quicker than I thought it would. When I was in the baby stage with Youngest we had recently uprooted and left Yorkshire behind to move to Jersey. With that move I left my career, family and friends. I also left my beloved Leeds city centre and my little Yorkshire house perched on the top of a hill. In Yorkshire, I looked out of my window and saw the rolling Yorkshire moors in the distance but right in front of me was a street packed with houses and cars. At the time I cursed those cars. I cursed that hill in winter when any snow or ice made it impossible to get down the hill to park on our drive. I never cursed our neighbours though. Well, maybe one side who were fond of feeding pigeons which meant that the pigeons were always cr%pping down my side of the fence. I don’t know why they insisted on feeding those pigeons, it’s not like they were a rare breed of parrot that needed looking after, they were flying rats and we were overrun with them. Our other neighbours were a delight though. They were the ones who shouted at the removal men for me because they were being complete arses. They were the ones who in the depths of winter would always sweep and grit the hill.
Moving to Jersey
When we moved to Jersey I suddenly realised how I had taken my neighbours for granted. I found myself living in the middle of the countryside and when I looked out of the window I didn’t see anything but flat fields; I didn’t see a single soul. Admittedly it was a beautiful view but it was also incredibly lonely and I went from someone who was confident and outgoing to someone who became rather reclusive. Those days felt long. I tried to fill them with baby groups but I could never quite find the right one. We went to lots of baby classes but nothing replaced the ache of feeling lonely or that dull monotonous feeling. I craved to be able to get in the car and drive to another city but living on Jersey meant that was no longer possible. Back then it felt like those yawning days would go on forever.
But over time I began to fall in love with the island and see the beauty that surrounded me and the kindness of people. There was an ever so slight switch and the days were no longer yawning but instead they were speeding by and the next thing I knew I had blinked and I found myself here. Sat at home alone, typing away as I wonder what the children are doing in school. Wondering where the time went. Wondering how the next stage crept along.
The Next Stage
This next stage is a massive one for all of us. Youngest is now at school and (*touch wood*) she has well and truly embraced it. There has not been one solitary tear at the thought of being parted from me all day. In fact she is rather annoyed when the weekend comes around and she doesn’t have to go to school. She has taken her little feet and well and truly planted them into the next stage. She is marching forwards, onwards and upwards. But what about me?
I now find myself with extra hours in the day to fill. From 9am to 2pm to be precise – 5 whole hours. Since Youngest was born I have been with her. That’s if we discount the three months I had to return to work so that I could work off my maternity pay. For 4 years my life has been closely entwined with hers. It has revolved around her needs and wants. Now, I find myself quite lost. I miss having her around and I have spoken about the empty nest previously. However, I also know myself well. I know that I need to keep busy to keep sane.
However, 5 hours might seem a lot but the reality is that on Jersey it is impossible to find a job that ties in with these hours. With no family on the island I am the one who needs to do the school drop-off and school pick-up. I am the one who ferries them around to their clubs. Yes, I could put them in before school clubs and after-school clubs but the main reason for moving to Jersey was so that we could be there for the children, so that we didn’t have to rely on others to help us with the childcare. If I am going to go back to working full-time then we may as well move back to England where at least we will have family around to help.
I have mooted the idea of retraining for a new career but as what and would it offer the flexibility that I need for the children? Probably not. Questions have already been asked by well-meaning people who gently ask what I’m going to do now. People who seem genuinely concerned that somehow I might struggle to fill those 5 hours. The reality is that those 5 hours won’t be difficult to fill at all. I will still be juggling my life around the children, I still want to make sure that I am there to do the school run, to hear about their day and to help them with their homework. But now, hopefully, there should be fewer balls in the air. I am hopeful that those 5 glorious hours will mean that I will no longer have to squeeze my work in during the evenings. I am hopeful that Mr C and I will get our evenings back again. I am hopeful that I will be able to build on my freelance work and my blog work.
I am hopeful.
I am lucky to be in this position. I am very lucky that I have the opportunity to try and carve out a flexible career for myself, one that fits in with family life. If I find myself feeling like I have too much spare time then I could always have another baby………… only joking 😉