Proper part time

brokenness-1-1420924It’s 6pm on a Wednesday and I’ve just finished work for the week. I don’t have the TFI Thursday or TFI Friday feeling that I’m used to. This is my new working pattern: but I’m a bit disorientated and feeling strangely neglectful.

Maybe it’ll be easier next week, when the bank holidays have worn off and Wednesday is the end of three days instead of two. Maybe it’ll be harder next week when the Christmas malaise has worn off and three days are as long as four.

I will now be at home for more of the week than I’m at work. I am lucky to be able to do this. I should be delighted: but I will not be able to call myself a career woman any more. I will be a mother and a wife who entertains herself with a bit of a job for pin money.

I’m melodramatic. It’s cold and dark and I’m suffering from withdrawal from constant chocolate eating. This is an opportunity for me to define myself as something other than an office monkey. I can’t bear the little man spending more time with strangers than with me any more; I get four days in a row now with my little buddy.

I mustn’t stop being melodramatic. I want to hate this month: I need something to kick me out of this inertia. My job wasn’t working at four days; my life will be better, but the job will be immeasurably worse, at three. And everybody arounds me knows I need a change. So in my three days next week I have coffees set up with promising women who could be jobshare partners. I have long overdue mentor meetings set up. I even sent a tentative email to a recruiter.

So welcome, 2017. January may look bleak; but I have the start of a plan. And I can teach the little man that Thursday is now also baby and mummy day; he will giggle and I will melt. The emails will wait until Monday.


Goodbye 2016

cheers-1443534Last year, the big man got all over excited about New Year’s resolutions; I wrote here about how all I could come up with was to carry on, just about, holding it together. 2016 had its high points, but the last few months have been pretty relentlessly rubbish. So I’ve got the inevitable long list of things to improve as we go into a new year which, surely, can only be better than the last one.

I’m going to forget about this long list though for the time being, and just focus on the ones that matter. So here are my two for January.

  1. Sort my shit out.

One of the many universal downsides of becoming an adult is the never-ending to-do list that steals your time. I like lists, and I like categorising, so I’d like to point out that actually there are multiple lists, and sub lists within those lists, organised by urgency and importance and tedium. They grew when I started work, and they exploded when the little man joined my life.

This resolution is about the list which I ignore. The secret one. The worm in the back of the skull that wakes me in a cold sweat in the middle of the night. On a daily basis, it matters less than the domestic list of food, laundry, tidying, or the work list of emails and management. But when this list matters, it really really matters.

I’m a grown up, and I can’t afford to let anything else steal my sleep. So this year must be the year that I finally, properly adult. Tax returns, life insurance, managing my bills properly. Sorting out the bag (yes, that well known filing system of an old Topshop bag) of paperwork into actual files. Stop letting/making the big man carry the burden of our financial management. Step up and grow up.

2. Look after myself

I had this as a sort of resolution last year. But it was too ambitious, and too aspirational. I was thinking of hobbies and spa days and long baths on my own. This year, I just mean to look after the basics.

I’m going to re-name this resolution “Think like the big man”. My husband isn’t a dick; he’s kind, he’s loving, and he pulls his weight. But if he gets a cold, he goes to bed for a day. If it’s his turn for a lie in, he stays in bed until I wake him with breakfast. He cycles to and from work every day, even though it eats up almost an extra hour. I ignored my December cold until it became an ear infection on Christmas Eve. I drag myself out of bed, full of guilt, an hour after the big man does, regardless of what he says. And I can’t perceive how I would fit in any sort of exercise into my day.

Nowhere on my husband’s news feed does it remind him of the importance of “me time”. Because he knows. He doesn’t call it anything so pathetic; he just believes that it’s his right to look after himself. So. Should. I.