*Hidden* Workforce

Have you noticed I have a theme going at the moment? *Hidden*.  There are so many things that women and society don’t know or discuss and I have a burning need to have a little rant about them.  If you can think of anything that you would like me to bring up – please message me.  I am quite happy to have a good old moan about most things!

This week I want to talk about the women you see standing at the school gates.  Did you know that majority of them used to have careers?  BIG careers.  Some were Financial Controllers, some were Managing Directors, some were Creative Account Managers – I could go on.

I was a Business Systems Analyst!  Woohoo get me. Sounds a lot posher than it was.

Then I and the rest of the women at the school gates had kids. Whether we chose to stay at home with our kids or it wasn’t financial viable to pay child care or whether the option of flexible part time work wasn’t available – the result is the same, we became the most underutilised resource in the country.

Highly experienced, trained, educated woman going to waste.  Flexible part time jobs are an option, but they are usually junior positions, badly paid and soul destroying.  Or working in schools and nurseries as lunch supervisors or teaching assistants.

Now I am not saying that lunch supervisors and teaching assistants are bad jobs, I am just saying that if you were formally the Finance Director of a large London firm, then it’s not really using the skills and knowledge that you have.

Don’t you think that this is sad for the country and the economy and for the women?

There are big movements going on now in the world of women and working that I think are really important, and if you get time, go have a browse of Facebook and Twitter for the following:

#workthatworks and #cleanupthefword (f being flexible)

You might think that I would be passionate about this because of the kids. But I am not – I do think kids benefit from having mum at home, but I think kids in a good child care situation with a happy mum also thrive.

No, I don’t care what the kids think or society thinks.  I want women to be happy. I want women to be able to utilise all those wonderful skills and experience and feel mentally fulfilled.  I want society, the community and the economy to benefit from what these women can do.

I want this *hidden* workforce to come forward and demand to contribute meaningfully and most importantly to be happy.  So I shall be joining the movements and I hope that eventually truly flexible, adaptable, remote, exciting and fulfilling work will be available to all mums.

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*Hidden* Pain

20170529_171514My Baby Girl has been getting tummy pains.  It usually coincides with a pimple breakout and an irritable mood.

She feels dreadful and doesn’t understand why I am not really sympathetic.  She hasn’t entered the full **joy** that is womanhood, but she is definitely on the way.

I should be sympathetic.  I really should.  It’s awful to feel like that every month.

But we are taught that it’s just part of life and being a woman and we just have to get on with it.  We don’t even really take anything for it.  We may get the hot water bottle out and curl up on the couch, if we have time, but we don’t go to the doctor or anything.

We don’t stop doing anything and we don’t usually mention it.  We just live with it.

But did you know that it has now been shown that the period pain can be as bad as a heart attack.  EVERY MONTH…..and we just get on with it, with a hot water bottle….EVERY MONTH.

I read this article about the new findings and I did shed a tear for my Baby Girl as she embarks on her journey and felt thankful that I am hopefully ending mine.

Please read it…it says so much.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/period-pain-is-officially-as-bad-as-a-heart-attack-so-why-have-doctors-ignored-it-the-answer-is-a6883831.html

What really startled me is the lack of research that has gone into alleviating the pain. And what is more frightening, is the lack of anyone really caring enough about the pain to do anything about it.

It is also a little our own fault.  We don’t sympathise with each other, we don’t sympathise with ourselves and we don’t demand help from anyone.

We just get on.  We shouldn’t.

*Hidden* Burdens

s0780296_sc7You know those old-fashioned adding machines, with the little rolls of paper that churn out every number you enter in a big list.  Well I have these in my head, lots of these are thundering away in my head.  But instead of numbers they are the lists of things I need to remember.

There’s been lots on the social media (see links below) lately about this Hidden Burden carried by the organiser of the household/family and let’s be honest, that is usually the woman – sorry boys, but it is.

http://luckyorangepants.com/2017/09/19/i-am-the-keeper/

https://english.emmaclit.com/2017/05/20/you-shouldve-asked/

On top of our jobs, housework and childcare, this additional burden of lists/remembering/organising is silent and goes unnoticed by the rest of the household. And it’s quietly grinding us down.

Some (but definitely not all) of my lists are daily chores, things needed (e.g. new coat for my Complicated Boy), appointments (orthodontist, ballet shoe fitting), birthdays/Christmas (cards, presents, spreading the costs), long term goals, insurances/bills/bank accounts/savings, children’s homework/sports kit/uniforms etc etc.  You get what I mean – all the things that need to be remember and planned and organised and aimed for, are rolling around in my head, on lists of paper, on calendars and electronically.

All the endless little things that get done without anyone realising that they needed to get done.  All those endless little things that magically happen!

Did I burden myself with all these things?  I don’t know?  They just sort of became my job, because nobody else did them.  Why is it that women tend to take on these tasks?  Is it because we are usually the main child carer and houseworker? I really wish I knew why we do this to ourselves.

Well, anyway I am trying to push back with my household.  I am trying to make them look after their own lists.  It’s not working very well – but I am determined.

For example: I have asked Hubby to sort his own car out – insurance, services etc.  But whilst I was sitting in a little coffee shop in Italy (see previous blog).  I got the one and only contact from my husband the whole time I was away. “Who is my car insured with – I need to update it?”  I honestly looked at my phone in horror.  REALLY!?!?!?  I AM IN ITALY!!!?!?!?

Then I got another message from my Baby Girl – “Have I put money on the school lunch account?”  Well to be honest I had forgotten – it must have been on a list in my head that got squashed by all the other lists.  But notice that it was the other girl in the house that picked up the remembering.  It was an absolute pain to have to log on to the school and add money from my phone, whilst sitting in a corner of a museum I was currently visiting.

I couldn’t escape – even in Italy.

So, remember as you go about your business and you see those other Organisers (woman!) walking around – they may look a bit tired and frazzled – send them an understanding smile.  Realise that the lists are churning in their head as well and sometimes they can be drowning in it too.  Let’s not keep them hidden anymore. Let’s give the lists out and share the burden.  Well I can dream……

 

 

I did something naughty

ItalyI did something really, really naughty…  I went on a mini holiday WITHOUT my Husband or Children.  I know you are shocked and completely disappointed with me.  How could I???  Dedicated mother and wife that I am – hahahahaha!

But oh my it was glorious!  I can’t explain how wonderful it was.  I am still reeling from it all.

You see… a wonderful friend of mine is turning a big number this year and instead of having a big party, she decided that she would like to go on lots of little breaks with her girlfriends.  She invited me to go to Italy with her and stay in her family’s apartment in Trieste.  And all I had to do was get a flight and some pasta/pizza money.  Love cheap airlines – I got a flight for £60.  4 days away in a foreign country for £60.  It’s just such a hard thing to grasp as an Australian – where everything is so far away and costs a fortune.

But the thing is, I would never have been able to have this wonderful adventure without having a new Babysitter.  My wonderful mother came up and cooked, cleaned, washed and ironed for me.  What a revelation – such an amazing thing and I am very, very grateful.  And surprisingly the children behaved!  Baby Girl didn’t go all drama queen once and that has to be a record – 4 days without slamming a door!

Anyway, my friend and I spent 2 days in Venice and 2 days in Trieste.  We just wandered and chatted and drank coffee and ate pastries and pasta and wandered and chatted and absorbed the wonderful gloriousness that is Italy.  We had lovely weather, we weren’t in a rush and had no real plans – just went where we fancied at the time.  We didn’t even rush in the mornings and had cups of tea in bed.  Shocking and decadent and glorious.

It was gorgeous only having to look after myself…  I liked it….I liked it a lot.

So, we are planning to do something next year for my big birthday – but shhh don’t tell Hubby or the kids.

Arising from the ashes of Self-Doubt

Ta Da!!!  I’m baaaaacccckkkk!!!

Sorry, sorry, sorry.  I just haven’t been in the position to pour my heart out to you.

20170911_193224This is me since January, in my dressing gown in the kitchen at my laptop.   Attractive – NOT!

As you know (see last post) I was doing a course on Social Media Management and I am pleased to tell you I passed – but it nearly killed me.

Not only was I exhausted and stressed but I must say I crumbled into a big pile of self-doubt, un-confidence and felt like a complete imposter.

What on earth was I thinking, that I could do this sort of job or start a new career or even be this creative. Was I delusional. I am a boring, middle aged, mother of two – where did I get off thinking I could be a hip young new media type person.

I have been in my little rut of a life, completely in control of every aspect of my day and my world for 14 years.  To suddenly throw myself into a new arena was very disconcerting.  I haven’t felt so down on myself since my 20’s – it was awful.

But…. I did it.  And I passed.  And I have clients.  And they like what I do.  And I do bloody well know my stuff!!!  I’m not an imposter.  I even have a business card – hahaha.

So, all my lovelies, I missed you and I’m back – a newer hipper little wobbly, but more confident than before – heading off on new adventures… join me…..

Why I am so bad at writing

logoI just wanted to explain a bit more why I am so bad at writing my blog at the moment.

I am doing a Social Media Manager course.  I am doing this on top of my normal work, helping Rob with his company and setting up my own company.  Oh and housework, wife work, mother work etc etc.

But I have 6 weeks left, so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I promise to be a bit more inspiring and regular at writing, once I have got to the end of that tunnel.

This has been the most exciting, tiring, brain pounding thing I have ever done and I know it will be worth it.

So I am asking if you have a bit of time to join me on my journey.

I would love for lots of followers on facebook, twitter and instagram.  And if in the next 6 weeks you could like, comment and generally enthuse about everything, I would be eternally grateful.  It’s all about the statistics people, need those numbers to go up and up.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lovedancehants/

Twitter: @LoveDanceHants

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lovedancehants/

AND if you are in Surrey or Hampshire I would love people to enter my competition.  All you have to do is comment on my competition post on Facebook – telling me your favourite dance class/event/show etc.  And you will go into a prize draw to win a bespoke dance t shirt.

I am very grateful for all of you, all my very, very, very tired love, Fiona.

Mother’s Holiday

20170529_17151420170601_105916(0)Hello my loves,

I am so sorry that I haven’t written lately, I have been on Holiday.

Not for a whole month, just for a week.  But you know what it’s like as a mother….

The week before the Holiday is spent packing for everyone, washing everything, buying everything, organising tickets, money, taxis etc.  By the time I got on the plane I was a stressed-out mess with bags under my eyes the size of the suitcases I had packed.

washingThen the week on Holiday I managed all the money, tickets, organisation, map reading, tour guiding, decision making, food ordering in very poor French/Arabic, and haggling.

The week after Holiday I spent unpacking, washing, ironing and catching up on all the things that weren’t done whilst I was away.

And then last week, well I was just exhausted…

But the Holiday was marvellous and worth it.  We went to Marrakech in Morocco. I went there when I was young, single and fancy free and it’s one of my most favourite places in the world.  I was excited to take my family and was hoping they would love it too20170528_133609

I had organised 3 days in the Medina (Old walled town) of Marrakech and then 4 days by a pool, sleeping in Bedouin tents.

Well it wasn’t the HUGE success I thought it would be, but they did enjoy themselves a little bit (ungrateful so and so’s).  The kids were a bit freaked out by the intensity that is the Arabic market place and Hubby was bored sitting by the pool.  You can’t please all the people all the time.

But I don’t care I loved it.  It was the first time since having children that I got my old travel the world feeling back – that amazement, freedom and excitement that you get going into somewhere so foreign and intense.  I could feel my confidence and my sense of wonder come back – instead of the general tiredness that is my life at the moment.  And the bags under my eyes weren’t there when I got back on the plane.

IMG_8836And I shall be going back – probably by myself 😊

I am not stopping to smell the flowers…

20170518_093259(0)I am very happy within myself.  I love my life and the people I share it with.  And I do normally cherish all the little moments in life and try to teach my children to do the same.  I do normally stop to smell the flowers…

But at the moment I am clawing my way through each day and I am wishing my life away. Every morning as the alarm is going off, my stomach starts clenching with panic. I am thinking “How am I going to get through everything today?” even before my eyes are open.  I keep mumbling to myself under my breath – just gotta keep going, just gotta make it to August.

I am exhausted and stressed and panicky.

But please don’t worry about me, my lovely ones, I did it to myself and I am having the time of my life and I will make it to August.  I will just be a slightly crazed version of myself.

What made me think I could add a study course on top of my already manic life?  I don’t know, but I obviously thought I could do it.  And I can, and I will.

It just means that my house is a complete tip.  My kitchen cupboards are so bad, that I don’t even open them any more to put the shopping away, I just put everything on top of the cupboards.  My bedroom is shrinking – I keep putting things on the floor that I am meaning to sort out and then never go back to it (plus the fact we have the new bathroom stored in there, whilst the tiling, plumbing and flooring is being done.)

I spend from 8.30 am to 12 pm at my laptop.  But I truly am having the time of my life.  Yes truly.  I am loving everything I am learning and I am desperate to do really well and I want it all to be perfect. I have met the most lovely and amazing bunch of ladies in my study group and I am really, really inspired.

I am doing a Social Media Management course and it’s so exciting.  The possibilities and the scope for my future are amazing.  It’s combines my geekiness with my creativity. And it’s fun.

I just wish I didn’t have all the other stuff in my life – like cooking, cleaning (not much of that getting done), washing, children, husband – blah, blah, blah, on and on and on….

I want to go back to that girl at university, who had ALL THE TIME in the world, but flounced her way through, not going to lectures, doing “handwritten!!!!!” essays the night before, studying for exams on the way to the exam hall and I want to give her a big SLAP! Why did I throw away that opportunity to learn – well I didn’t really, I did really well, but I can’t say I was enthralled by the whole learning process.

Now what I would give for all that time, endless time to immerse myself into the learning. I want to be sequestered in the university library, with the WHOLE day ahead of me to learn.  I want to eat Vegemite and Twisties sandwiches (an Australian thing!!!) and never ever cook.

So if you see me over the next few months, don’t talk to me, don’t look at me and please don’t ask me to do anything (you know I can’t say no). Just give me a hug and send me on my way.  It will be okay and the future is bright…..

 

 

Living with a PIG!

20170503_200118This was Baby Girl’s room last Wednesday.  The hamster had escaped. She was lying on the floor amongst her “stuff”, looking for it under the wardrobe (look closely it’s hard to see her.)  She was in bits, sobbing and make a huge fuss, as she couldn’t find the hamster for all the stuff!  Hubby eventually found it, next to the hamster food bag, with suspiciously large cheeks and a happy look on its face.

Baby Girl declared she needed to sort her stuff out, because it and everything in the world was “IMPOSSIBLE!”

The next day, she had a day off school because of teacher training.  I went to the shop, before she had even got up and 20170504_085148bought her some boxes.  I even printed off some big labels.  I thought this might make it easier for her to clean her own room, because as I mentioned in a previous post, I have stopped doing it for her.  She wasn’t as excited about the boxes as I thought she should be (I love boxes, and this would have sent me into a frenzy of excitement!)

Off she went upstairs.  After about 20 minutes of banging sounds, she came downstairs and threw herself on the couch in full drama queen mode!  The arm was flung across her face and she was making whimpering noises.  “I just can’t do it – it’s too overwhelming!”

Sigh…..

So, I said, “Right you have my help for 1 hour.  Let’s go – now!”  I went upstairs and started ordering her about like a sergeant major.  I got her to find and collect all her t-shirts, then all her leggings, then all her jumpers etc. etc.  I neatly folded everything and put them in the correctly labelled boxes.  Once we had done that, the rest was easy.

And TA DA, it was neat and tidy.  It wouldn’t be how I would want to decorate my space, with open boxes of clothes, but this seemed to be the best solution.  

20170510_100653And this is how it is after 1 week – still tidy!!  I am in shock.  I keep checking that she hasn’t left stuff on the floor, but it seems to be working.  I asked her how it was going.  She states that she loves her boxes, as she can see everything and rifle through all her clothes. She says that it is easy to put stuff away, as she just flings it in the right box.

The moral of the story, if you live with a pig – give the pig some open labelled boxes. Don’t expect the stuff in the boxes to remain neatly folded (so don’t bother ironing anything), and don’t expect the room to look nice, but at least IT WON’T BE ON THE FLOOR!!!!

It really suxs being 11

Voiced by Baby G20170429_173851irl

So at the moment it really suxs being me.

The teachers at school are being so mean and making us do these awful tests. I know that they don’t really mean anything to me, as I will be tested straight away again when I get to Senior School in September. So why are they being so intense about them and why are they so mean.

They are making us learn really boring stuff like Modal Verbs and Subordinate Conjunctions and even mummy doesn’t know what they are and she has an English Literature Degree.

AND THAT’s all we are learning – stuff for the tests!  I love Art and we haven’t done that ALL year!

Plus, the teachers keep saying how it’s going to be harder in Senior School and there will be more homework in Senior School and we will get in big trouble if we behave wrong in Senior School – as if I am not scared enough about changing schools as it is.

Then all this stuff is happening with my body and things hurt and things are changing, so I am all embarrassed and it’s all just yuk.  Plus, sometimes I am really angry and sometimes I am really tired and sometimes I want to cry and it’s just awful.  And all the other girls are feeling like that too – so it doesn’t make it very fun in the playground if we are all emotional and don’t know why or what’s happening.

The whole friendship things suxs the big one too.  We are stuck in the same class with say 15 girls all day every day and we have to be BFFs (Best Friends Forever) and we are emotional and don’t understand.  It’s not like grownups who go to work and be polite to their workmates then go out and meet up with their real friends later.  We have to be BFFs and even mummy and daddy can’t spend 6 hours a day every day with each other without getting a little irritated.  Girls are so mean and complicated – it’s just awful.

Then I can’t decide what to wear – do I wear my cute little girl clothes that mummy wants me to wear or do I wear my comfy leggings with the hole in and the stained One D shirt or do I try to go grown up and trendy and wear short, short shorts and a midriff t-shirt.  So, I try everything on and they end up in a big pile on the floor of my room and then mummy yells at me and then I put them all in the wash and then mummy yells at me. It’s all so confusing.

OMG it’s all so intense – it really suxs being 11.