They say that life begins at 40, and I guess in a way this does ring true for me.
I turned 40 two-weeks ago.
The week before this momentous ocassion, I left my job of six & a half years to enable me to spend more time with my son, as he embarks on his first ever school journey.
So a new kind of life is certainly beginning for me.
I have always worked.
I got my first Saturday job in a shoe shop on Oxford Street when I was just 15-years old.
After I was ‘let go’ from there for not selling enough shoes to meet my target (oh, and for chatting too much on the shop floor), I got another part-time job in a shop across the street.
Actually, I cried my eyes out about for about a week after, but wiped my tears away on my old work uniform and picked myself up… something had to keep me in iridescent pink lipstick and firm hold hairspray after all.
When I finished school, I got a full-time job in an office.
I have worked in many different roles since then and for much of my adult life, I have always been employed.
So to decide this was something that was no longer for me, was a huge step in my mind.
It is all I have ever known.
Now, my new day job is being at home and after a few weeks of catching up with old friends, lunching in Paris, a big party and a little holiday, it is finally time to settle down and get on with it.
The laundry mainly.
For the most part, life has been a little easier.
Without a commute to the other side of London to contend with, we have an extra hour in the morning to get ready for school.
With no reason to make-up a face or straighten hair, we have even more time for cuddles in bed and maybe a story or two after breakfast.
Without a bedtime routine to start in motion upon walking through the front door, we have enjoyed after school trips to the park, playing games at the kitchen table, crawling around on the floor with cars and just generally hanging out together and having fun.
Then, because we have not had to cram EVERYTHING into the weekend, those 2 days feel much more relaxed. Like a weekend should.
I have been planning menus, shopping for ingredients and cooking meals from scratch, which we have all been able to sit down together and eat as a family.
This side of things has been just wonderful.
My boys are happy, and I am too.
But in other ways, this new job is much more demanding of me than my old one.
For example, before if I asked my old boss if she would like a drink, she did not shout “APPLE JUICE NOT ORANGE JUICE AND IN A CUP WITH A STRAW AND 5 ICE CUBES’ back at me.
If I took 3-seconds longer to return with the drink than expected, she would still smile and say thank you. She did not raise her voice, give me ‘the look’ and scold me for taking too long.
When I told her it was time to leave for a meeting, she did not throw herself on the floor kicking and screaming that she did not want to go.
She did not take one look at the lunch I popped in front of her every day and sulk ‘I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO TRY IT. I ONLY LIKE KETCHUP AND CHOCOLATE’
My desk was not a blank canvas for her artwork.
She did not hide my iPad under her pillow.
At the end of the day, we would say goodnight to each other nicely and I would not hear another peep from her again until the next morning.
I did not once feel the need to ask her if she had brushed her teeth.
She took time to ask how I was feeling and if I was having a nice day.
She understood perfectly well why it was not deemed appropriate to wear a Spiderman costume to
school work, without me having to explain to her 47 times before just pinning her to the ground and wrestling her out of it.
I could talk on the phone without the constant whirring of the washing machine or dishwasher on in the background.
So, it is fair to say that we are all in a slight period of adjustment.
Zachy to being at school, me to being at home, and the Greek God(zilla) to being the only earner.
Financially, there is more pressure on us than ever.
Yet, one look at my son’s little face when I am there to collect him from school, as he scans the crowd until his eyes meet mine and then BEAMS from ear to ear, is all it takes for me to know it’s worth it.