After two years of balancing parenthood with self-employment I've gone and got myself a 'proper job'.
And it's not just any job either. It's the one I wanted. The one I finally worked out that I wanted after pondering over and applying for many other jobs and imagining myself in an abundance of different lifestyles ranging from top positions with ridiculously high salaries to more humble work with rather insulting salaries.
It's not that I don't adore running The Cool Rule Company (or Kelebek Art, my little arty sideline). It's just that now it's all sorted and ticking along nicely, I wanted something else. I wanted something I could turn up to each day and know I was guaranteed to get paid, hence guaranteeing the mortgage people don't send the Heavies round. Because let's face it, as a busy Mum, one cannot fit the Heavies into a complex schedule of averting tantrums, wiping dirty bots and engaging in regular existential musings.
|The Heavies would have to wait|
Now don't get me wrong here. Self employment rocks. I've been self employed pretty much since I left university about a hundred years ago, and I bloody love it. But now I'm a Mum and have Tots to think about, the need to have an income that doesn't come in fits and starts suddenly looks very appealing. BC (Before Children) I was quite up for spending a whole project fee on a killer pair of jeans then living on rice for the rest of the month, but for some reason you're not allowed to do that as a parent. Sad, isn't it?
So anyway I must have spent a good couple of months applying for jobs in the sector I spent ten years in BC: arts management. All was looking good. I managed to write personal statements that weren't too poncy, got my references sorted and my CV was rocking up pretty well. But then there was a big, vacuous silence and I figured I had to reassess.
Now what? What was this silence telling me?
Well, it was telling me a.) it's blinking hard to get a job these days, especially in the arts sector since it's been slashed to within an inch of its life by our wonderful coalition government and b.) wasn't that just a teensy bit of relief I was feeling? Yes, it was definitely relief. And not just relief that I didn't have to go to a job interview for the first time in fourteen years, but relief that I wasn't going back to what I used to do. I just couldn't see it happening.
So being into meditation and all that jazz, I did a bit of tuning in and spacing out and finally got a hold on what was going on. It suddenly seemed blatantly obvious to me that if there was a theme running through all of my work with The Cool Rule Company and Kelebek Art, then that theme was wellbeing.
|Wellbeing a plenty|
The Cool Rule Book and all of the other Cool Rule products are aimed at living in the moment with your child, enjoying every unfolding moment and relaxing into the tumultuous rhythms of parenthood so that everybody benefits.
Kelebek Art provides bespoke artwork that is focused on inspiring and touching people. I like to think that everything I create has an undercurrent of healing and happiness.
And then, of course, there was my own wellbeing to consider, which would be pretty much torn to shreds if a new job didn't allow for time with the legendary Tots.
So wellbeing was key.
And because the universe is very crafty when it wants to be, a couple of ships came in for little old me.
I was offered an admin position at a company I've been banging on the door of for quite some time now. Living Mindfully provides courses in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and helps people weave meditation and mindfulness practices into their everyday life to improve their mental health and wellbeing. Having been wowed by one of their courses myself, I simply couldn't pass up the chance to see how this company works on a ground-level. And with future opportunities to train in mindfulness teaching methods, I was chomping at the bit.
|Aren't they lucky to have me?|
And if that wasn't brilliant enough, I've also been contracted to work on a local Arts on Prescription programme, teaching art to adults with mental health issues. And oh how I love these workshops. Unlike the millions of workshops I've taught in schools and youth venues, these people are willing, enthusiastic, unlikely to swear at me, and getting so much out of it, it is truly astounding.
So it's welcome to the world of 'proper' work for me. And, because everything has its flip side, it's welcome to the world of 'utter chaos in the household'. For the three days a week that I'm out proper working, and the hubby is home doing the childcare thing, pandemonium seemingly unfolds. Upon crossing the threshold of my lovely little home, I am so far repeatedly amazed by the way in which furniture can be rearranged, toys can be entangled, fruit peel can be adorning appliances and clothes can be twisted into disturbing formations. I feel like I've walked into Tracy Emin's latest.
|I guess things aren't quite this bad . . .|
Whilst Emin is sadly absent, the hubby looks up from his iPad cheerfully and smiles to see me home and the Tots practically rugby tackle me into full-on floor-hugs. And, in the ways of mindfulness, I decide to surrender to the sweetness of the moment and accept the mess.
It's worth it.
To find out about the brilliant range of Cool Rule products for parents and toddlers, just visit thecoolrulecompany.co.uk
Sign up for The Cool Rule Company newsletter, a monthly slice of parenting magic here.
Find beautiful, bespoke collage artworks at affordable prices at facebook.com/kelebekartbyabi
Discover the brilliant work of Living Mindfully at livingmindfully.co.uk
Find out about Derwentside's fantastic Arts on Prescription course at leisureworks.net/event/294/colour-your-life-open-art-studio