I said this last week (to Who’s the Mummy, as it happens), to explain why I never blog any more. And, to be fair (to coin an overused phrase favourite of of of my teens, the run up to Xmas felt fairly miserable, for not even the right reason of our shops being nice and busy. It was just hectic and relentless and full of the type of minor problems and irritations that having 5 kids and 2 jobs and a variety of voluntary roles tends to produce.
But…. actually, it’s not really like that.
The trouble with me is I’m the sort of person who isn’t much good at settling at one thing but also gets frustrated if she doesn’t have enough time to really get some teeth into a problem. And my short/medium term memory is pretty awful, so I spend a lot of time relearning skills to achieve small jobs because I just can’t remember skills I learn in a hurry. Example: I’ve run a business for 14 years but I still have to text Max to ask how to take the VAT off a price. I just CAN NOT remember stuff like that. So a life that is full of squeezing essential website maintenance and so forth into tiny spaces of time isn’t something I’m great at. I either need to do something of that sort every day (and get bored) or not a time. I’m temperamentally unsuited to writing notes too – I’d lose them.
Our new ‘all in school’ status lasted a term and now Josie has returned to home ed, which I don’t mind since she’s good and easy company and likes doing work and reading. And is nearly as antisocial as I am.Bene still loves school so aside from that top and tailing my day with a school run – which I couple with a village walk each day to stretch my legs while the traffic back into the city subsides – that’s all good. He’s happy and doing things and I can just about handle feeling SO MUCH OLDER than everyone else at the school gate. The all have younger children in buggies. I feel like a wizened old crone.
I’m fat again. Which is annoying.
I can’t really seem to summon the enthusiasm to make the business a success again (if that’s possible) but shutting a business is awfully hard. We went through a whirl of misery last year when we had to make a long standing staff member redundant, which pushed me into all sorts of grown-upness I didn’t want to do but the net result of a skilled up part time staff member has freed me up a lot – but also let me off a hook that really and truly is still dangling there and very much needing me. I just…. well, I find it hard to find the heart for it these days. I’ve moved on.
Fran is getting ready to leave home, with uni applications in and Maddy is preparing to do the same; in 18 months time, neither will be here. That’s a scary thought. Amelie is finding the teenager years somewhat harder than her sisters did (quelle surprise) and I have firmly discovered that parenting teen girls has little to do with how good you are at it or how much to think you will ‘allow’ them to act up. It’s been tough, on her as well as on everyone else. Far too tough to write about to be honest, so at least it will fade eventually into the same inexplicable fuzz that Maddy’s most Asperger toddler years also did.
What I do love is my new job as a coach; again, that’s really not something I can blog much about because I’m acutely aware, as anyone involved in kids has to be, of their privacy. I work 3 nights a week and some of Saturday and they are (almost) always, some of the high points of the week. The 50 or so kids I personally spend time with are teaching me an awful lot; having to learn to do a complex and dangerous job without the background of being a gymnast has pushed me to learn – and develop ways of learning – in a way I never have before. In all the jobs I ever did, I was always ‘good’ and generally ‘too good’ for what I was doing; in coaching, I’m acutely aware all the time I’m working on the edges of my ability and understanding, but I love that it pushes me to learn to do more. I’ve never worked so hard at anything.
It takes up a lot of time though.
Another part of my week has been coaching a group of sixth formers to run a Young Enterprise business; again I’m learning but in this case it is that I’m better at pushing businesses through the embryo stage and thinking creatively, than I am at long term running of my own. It’s another role where privacy is essential, but it is gratifying to watch mentoring have an effect on a group of young adults.
It’s been such a rough year globally that these are the things that keep me breathing – I just keep thinking that if we can inspire young people to work hard and better themselves, when school seems to be about dumbing down and thinking small (a pressure that seems to come from peers when it doesn’t come from government and is clearly crushing teachers), we still have a chance to turn this awful political climate around. There is no point in thinking “someone should do something” any more. WE have to do it, even if it is tiny efforts in tiny corners. We can’t all do the big protests.
And then, I remember to take my kids out to catch Pokemon and some of the most perfect moments of the Christmas holidays were last minute freezing walks at the rowing lakes, laughing at the number of grown men and their ‘pretending I’m not playing too’ girlfriends down at the rowing lakes without even the children as a cover story.
Last thing at night, when Bene is asleep (still 10pm every night :X ) and Max and I are too tired to talk, I make things and hope my marriage will still be there when the taxi service job is done and the house is far too quiet.
I told myself last year I was too tired to be creative. I did 2 courses, really heavy duty ones for someone with all those other commitments but I loved them and they whet my appreciate for more study. But what I miss most is writing. I keep thinking at that now, at 43, I can’t keep saying ‘when I’m older’ – how much can any of us rely on time being there any more?
So this year I’m trying really hard to write again, creatively, privately, without the need for hashtagging needily or showing it off. I’m just writing, to see if i really can nail that long held dream.
This lot are growing up.
I just don’t want to be the mum who never quite fulfilled her dreams.