From graduation in 2005, to January this year I worked in retail store management. I loved it for a long time, and I was good. Then I really hated it, and got quite rubbish. I then got really sick of hearing my own voice complaining about work. After my maternity leave for the little little man finished in January I didn’t go back. Well, I did for a month, but that’s another story. Also, thanks to the marvellous maternity package offered by my employer (which was statutory), we had gotten used to surviving on my husband’s wage. Now this took some sacrifices, Sky went, along with the landline, the second car wasn’t replaced when it went to scrapyard heaven, I began shopping at Lidl (I know this sounds pathetic, but at the time I was quite traumatised, now I will shout it’s wonders to all and sundry), and socialising outside the home went out the window, along with no phone upgrades, and spontaneous purchases were banned. But nothing that’s felt really hard, and it has all been completely worth it to give up work.
I’d already made a vague plan of what I wanted to do, so I’d enrolled on a full-time Access course back in September, which I probably didn’t need to, but I wanted too. So now I’m technically a student and a stay-at-home-mum. And it’s awesome.
I accumulated childcare vouchers whilst on maternity leave as I was enrolled on the scheme already (childcare vouchers, for free! Amazing!), otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to manage the childcare costs; Little little man goes to nursery two days a week and my husband and mother-in-law share the other day. The course is free because it’s full-time (yep, three days a week is considered full-time – how amusing coming from an employer where anything less than 40 hours a week is part-time – is the bitterness showing? Good). And as long as I get the necessary grades I will be starting a Speech and Language Therapy degree in September at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
It’s so exciting to be working towards something I want to do, and that will hopefully be really manageable around a family, and should give a bit of feel-good factor – not just making money for someone else, but actually making a difference to people’s lives.
I can’t deny there’s a little apprehension, I am worried about being the oldest person on the course, and not being able to socialise like a typical uni student, as well as panicking over where I get put on placement, and FOUR YEARS!! It’s a bloody long time. But, I don’t suffer fools gladly, so why would I tolerate myself doing a job I hate and moan about all the time? I’ve put my money where my mouth is, so it’s time to suck it up and practice what I preach ‘If you’re not happy, then change it…it’s not likely to change itself”.
It also means I carry on learning, which I love, and that I get the next four years of school holidays off and that is nothing to be sniffed at!