I have spent a very worthwhile day, shopping and visting the beautician. I know many would find this boring but, If only we had the income, I could quite happily do this every day! Whilst I was waiting for my appointment, I read one of those gossip magazines. Now, I would never buy one of these but I am quite happy to read one that someone else has bought. In it there was an interview with a celebrity, glamour model (I shan’t use her name as she gets enough publicity). She stated that, after the birth of her child, she ‘ballooned’ to 11 stone and was a size 12. She has now dropped back to her ‘normal’ weight of 9 stone and is a size 8. The interview also confirmed that she is 5 ft 7. Now, I’m 5 ft 6 and weight just over 9 stone myself and I am NOT a size 8. I know this girl is an inch bigger than me but she can’t be a whole 1 or 2 dress sizes smaller. Nor, can she have been a size 12 if she was 11 stone. She is not American or lives in the US, but can she be using their dress sizes? Surley, the magazine must have realised that this wasn’t right too. I think this must be confusing and dangerous for some people who read this. ‘Look, she’s a size 8. I need to get myself down to her size and then my life will be as wonderful as hers’. Come on guys, take some responsibility for what message you are sending out. You have to promote ‘normal’ body sizes to stop young, and older, people getting hung-up on their body size and image.
Ii was all going so well this morning. We were up on time (a novelty), and I was getting on with the boring, household tasks with a slight spring in my step. Then my husband decided to send me a text, telling me how bored he was at work. I sent one back saying, that he might be bored but at least he had people to talk to. This got me thinking a lot about my current situation. On the face of it I have the life of Reily. I don’t have to go to work, and now the kids are at school I can please myself doing what I like. But, it isn’t that simple or idealistic. The majority of time, I am by myself with no-one to talk to. I don’t feel isolated, but maybe I am and that’s why I’m writing this blog. I’m having a virtual conversation with myself! Beats talking aloud to myself, I suppose, but to be honest; I do that too. As I was,reflecting on this, my husband sent me another text with a very helpful suggestion. It read ‘Why don’t we get a cat, then you’ll have something to talk to’. Needless to say, I didn’t reply. I thanked him greatly for his advice and understanding when he returned home from work. I also pointed out that I don’t want a cat as (a) I’m allergic to them, and (b)our kids are toilet-trained and I don’t want to go back to cleaning-up poo, thanks very much.
Well, no-one asked me if I worked or not so have not been able to proudly promote my non-working status. To be honest, haven’t really spoken to many parents; other than to say ‘hello’. I have, however, thrown myself into parental/school life in order to be a worthwhile, meaningful member of society. To be honest, have thrown myself into parental/school life as I feel obliged to as I don’t work. So, I have volunteered to help out in the classroom and enrolled for a ‘Family Learning’ course. This involves me spending 2 hours per week learning how to teach my kids english and gaining an english qualification myself. Don’t actually need the english qualification, but have to do to do the other part of the course. The most embarrassing thing was that we all had to sit an assessment test to see what level english we are at. Now, I have always prided myself on being quite good at english, so am quite nervous about the test results. I will be devastated if I haven’t done really well. Might even get a bit teary. It will serve me right if I have not done as well as I expect as I have spent many years correcting my husband’s grammar, spelling etc. Pride comes before a fall and all that! Going back to the non-working thing, I had to fill in some paperwork which asked for your current status. I looked down the list and could see nothing that said ‘homemaker’, ‘lazy sod’ or any equivalent. Read the thing again and found a box that said something like ‘Economically of working-age but not employed, self-employed, seeking work, in receipt of benefits or in education or training’. Had to read the bloody sentence about 3 times to understand it. However, I now have an alternative response when people ask me what I do. Have decided to use this and, at the very least, they will be so busy trying to understand what I have said they won’t have time to give me a disapproving look – ha!
OK, so the working thing. I feel I need to explain myself. I have worked since I was 17 yrs old until I had the children. I feel quite embarrassed by the fact that I don’t work, especially as it seems society looks down on you for being a stay-at-home mum. I recently went to my bank, where the cashier tried to get me to upgrade to a ‘super-duper, all-singing and dancing, how the hell do you manage to survive without it’ account. I explained to her that I couldn’t do this as I don’t have a salary as I don’t work. She gave me such a look, it was as though she had stepped in something brown and sticky. I’m not alone in feeling like this, I have a friend who is equally ashamed of her full-time mum status. My mother-in-law tells me when she went back to work in the 1970s it was the opposite. People where critical of her for not staying at home. What has changed and why do I feel so bad about it? Perhaps, the problem is really me. I have always been proud of the fact that I worked and I know I have been guilty of looking down on non-working mothers myself. Well, I have now decided to fly the flag for non-working mums everywhere and be proud of who I am. No more muttering ‘I don’t work’ when asked. I will square-up my shoulders and announce it loudly and proudly! Right, I’m off to do the school-run and hope that someone asks.
Right, so like many parents before me I now find that both of my children are now at school. So, what do I do now? I know, I know you probably thinking get a job, take-up a hobby, make the most of your free-time, But doing what? I’m a fortysomething (very, early fortysomething, I’ll have you know) full-time mum/houseperson, whatever the hell you want to call me. I’m an educated woman, with a History degree, who was in the lucky position that I was able to give-up work when my children were born. But now what? Can I really spend all day doing housework, and shopping. The answer is probably yes, which is why I have decided to do this blog. Don’t really care if no-one reads it, I need an outlet for me to be me. Well, this is my first every post and I realise it is very self-indulgent and waffley. On the positive, it can only get better!