Just Keep Swimming.

It’s been a busy month in the zombie household and I have a new found respect for families were both parents work. I don’t care how few hours you work I’m still damn impressed.

As you know, or maybe you don’t, I’m a full time Mum. Partly by choice and partly because I moved to a beautiful part of the world where jobs are scarce. They’re even scarcer in my subject area…it’s dead men’s shoes as the saying goes. I’ve been looking for about a year and a half and there have been only 2 jobs that were in anyway suitable, they were both maternity covers and I would have needed to learn to drive for one.

Why don’t you learn to drive? Well, it’s a bit of catch 22 because I need a job to be able to afford to learn to drive. The last time I tried I spent over £600 and didn’t get anywhere near taking a test. I’m now 10 years older and even more anxious about driving. Not to mention that financially, environmentally and parking wise a second car isn’t really an option for us…

What about tutoring? It turns out that in Devon kids are just less concerned about A*’s and 9’s than they were in London – another reason I really love Devon. I could have tutored for a living in London but there’s just no demand here.

Have you tried getting a non-teaching job? Yes, yes I have. But it turns out that after 11 years of teaching I’m not qualified for anything else. I have applied for admin jobs, jobs in libraries and jobs with the National Trust to no avail. I either don’t have the right experience, am overqualified or people assume I won’t stick around. Let’s not mention that most of these jobs wouldn’t have paid enough to cover childcare. *eye roll*

Anyhow I digress. All this meant that I was really keen to do some exam marking. I need the money. It’s also really great to keep up with my subject because I do love my job and I miss being able to talk about Henry VIII and the Nazis without people thinking I’m weird.

Hubby also took on a team leader role in the marking this year so for the first time since mid-June we’ve both been much busier than usual and it’s been frantic and exhausting.

My mum came over to help for a week but between the clearing process being really slow and Tiny resisting being left with Granny I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked. So I marked during Tiny’s naps, we both marked every evening as soon as she went to sleep and we took it in turns to mark at the weekend. We ate all the pizza and I snacked a lot to keep myself going. Most nights I marked until abut 11pm and then tried to tidy up the worst messes of the day. Despite this the clean laundry piled up in baskets around the bedroom floor, the bathroom looked like a crime scene and let’s not even mention the kitchen floor.

On top of this both cats picked an excellent time to be poorly. One Monday I noticed Tattersail was peeing pink. Luckily this was on a Monday (Granny and Grandpa’s day) so I was able to take her to the vet. She was given painkillers and we were told to give her lots of fluid and Cystease and keep an eye on it. About 10 days later it was back and I had to collect a urine sample…from a cat! This involved sitting in the loft (it was hotter than the sun) for a couple of hours waiting for the cat to pee. Joy. It turns out Tattersail has crystals in her wee which means she has to go on a special (read expensive) diet, definitely long term, possibly forever.

And of course Thomas didn’t want to be left out so we found him lethargic and refusing to eat or drink one morning. After a couple of hours of feeding him with a syringe until the vets opened we got him to the vets to be told he’s probably got a virus and needs painkillers and eye drops for a week. He’s now also wearing a cone of shame because he’s been bothering a scratch on his neck.

Mid way through the cat drama poor Hubby fainted and gave himself a minor head injury. And to top it all off whilst he was trying to recover from that Tiny had a temperature of 40 degrees last Friday night and we ended calling 111 and spending a couple of hours in A&E. It never rains but it pours, right? I should have just painted a red cross on our door and been done with it.

Fast forward a week and we’ve both finished our marking and got our bonuses. Tiny has recovered from whatever virus was making her poorly. The house is tidy once again. You could eat your dinner off the kitchen floor but please don’t – that would be gross. Tattersail is enjoying her ridiculously expensive food and there’s been no more pink wee. Thomas is still in the cone of shame but otherwise he seems his usual self. Hubby’s back at work and only has a couple of days left.

The last few weeks have been hard but they have also made me realise how incredibly lucky we are that we can manage on one salary and that we have such supportive grandparents who help out regularly and when things get too much.

And to working parents…and parents with more than one child you guys are rock stars. Just keep swimming.

P.s. This is why there haven’t been any posts in ages!

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