Wednesday, 14 July 2010
Monkey has spent four afternoons in his new class with his new teacher too. I've watched him grow so much this year and I can't believe the progress he's made. His reading is amazingly fluent and he's apparently a "budding mathematician" according to his school report, which was excellent. He's growing up and moving on too.
So where does it leave me? To be honest with you, I don't know. I feel like it is time for me to grow up and move on too, but there is no clear path for me. I don't have my life mapped out for me like a school child. It is what I make of it.
This time of year is no doubt a time when lots of people reflect on this. My life is beginning to feel like I'm growing out of it. I've had a lifestyle based around having babies and pre-school children for the last 5 years and come September, that will be gone. I've had a ball and made lots of new friends, but parts of it are beginning to feel not fit for purpose, as they are part of the life I'm about to leave behind, like I'm shedding a skin or something.
The trouble is, some parts of that skin are shed easily and left behind. Other parts are more difficult to shed. Some of them are and have been major commitments of time and effort. I've given a lot, but got a lot back too as they have been incredibly rewarding and I've been proud of my achievements. However, recently, I've been wondering if it's still for me. The commitments centre around early parenthood and I'm not in that place any more, plus things are going on that have dented my enthusiasm. My annual pep-talk normally buoys my enthusiasm for a good few months; this time, it's all but gone in a few weeks. Others carry on giving their all for years but I am not sure I want to give as much. The problem I have is I know that doing it half-heartedly is a recipe for disaster and anyway, I don't DO that. Unless there is someone for me to give it all to and I walk away fully, I know eventually I'll just do it myself, and that helps no-one. There was no-one before me for a good while and things suffered. I've put a lot of effort into turning that around and got somewhere but I don't feel as enthusiastic about it any more. And there are lots of (more social) aspects that I'd miss - but that's not a reason to stay on, is it?
What I'd like to do is take a step back, and reduce that commitment right down, restricting it to the stuff I know I am best at and therefore I enjoy the most. However, as much as I can set those boundaries, will others respect them - or will I be put in a position where gradually, I end up doing as much as before? Or will it be easier just to walk away totally? And in either case, what else can I do? I would be really interested in your thoughts on this matter. I'm being deliberately obtuse about this because this is me thinking aloud about my future with no hard and fast decisions. I don't want people from those circles to read this blog and get wind of my thinking, though anyone reading this that is really close to me is likely to know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm playing this down in terms of what it is so their interest is not piqued.
As I said above, I'd love your input on my dilemma but also, I'd love you to share any experiences you might have of your moving on stage when your kids were all finally in school. Judging by the fertility rate of the mums in Monkey's class (current tally 1 baby, 2 due in July, 1 due November and twins due Christmas Day), I know that having another baby is one way of approaching it but that's not going to happen to me. 45 really is too late to be starting again. Work is a dilemma too - I need to start earning proper money again soon but at the same time, I don't want to have to use excessive amounts of wrap around care as I'd like to be able to catch up with them at the end of a school day, and the only credible option appears to be to find work in another school. I worked in IT for 22 years until April 2009 but it seems that truly flexible family-friendly options in that line of work are like hens' teeth.
All thoughts will be gratefully received. I have a lot of thinking, soul searching and researching to do over the summer so that come September, I too am ready to start growing up - and moving on.
Image: Gregory Szarkiewicz / FreeDigitalPhotos.net