We’ve been to a Victorian Fayre, the girls have visited Father Christmas, they’ve also put on their school Christmas production, the shops are insanely busy, and we’ve even had a couple of flurries of snow. Yep, it’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas. The school is also getting ready to put on its own Festive Fayre, which is how I found myself sitting in a cupboard placing tickets on all the tombola prizes. Over four hundred of them.
This was one of those tasks that I willingly volunteered for in a sheer moment of madness. I had helped to collect all the tombola donations for the school and stacked them neatly in the cupboard I now found myself sitting in. “We just need tickets putting on them all,” sighed the harassed co-ordinator blowing out her cheeks in a tired, weary manner. This was when I caved in and offered my services straight away. “After all,” I thought to myself, “I don’t work anymore.”
As I sat amongst the piles of cuddly toys, heaps of biscuits and chocolates, and boxes and boxes of toiletries I realised that I had to stop feeling guilt at not being a working mum. There maybe some people who look down their noses at me when I tell them that I don’t work (including a lady I met last week), but it really is none of their or anybody else’s business what I do. I know a few other non-working parents, but none of them seem to feel the need to agree to all and sundry projects in order to feel worthwhile. I realised that what I needed was a monumental mind-shift to stop me feeling so worthless. At the very least, I needed a mind-shift to stop me ending up sitting in a cold cupboard, developing an aching back from bending over and sticking tickets on people’s old, unwanted stuff.
It was then it struck me, like a bolt out of the blue, that I do indeed have a job. I may not get paid for it, but it takes up a lot of my time. An incredible amount of my time; because if I’m not doing it, I’m thinking about it. And something that takes up so much of my time and energy, and demands such a constant commitment has to be work; right? And this thing is like a drug. A legal form of crack. Because the more I do it, the more I want to do it. And the more I do it, the more the ideas come flowing into my head. More and more and more of them. So many, in fact, that I’ve taken to having notebooks around the house and in my bag so I can jot these thoughts and ideas down before they disappear into the ether. So this has to be work. It can’t be anything else. And this realisation is empowering because I know now that not only will I will stop volunteering for so many things, but also next time someone asks me what I do I will hold my head high and say,’ Oh me. I’m a writer.’