So I've changed professional identity/hat/title. The last couple of months have been busy, busy completing the training that gives me the kudos for my new job. There was precious little time for much else, so less blogging, less knitting, less cooking even. All in all the training part has been fun and I even discovered that what seemed like a ridiculous week, when the training was scheduled from 8.30am to 7pm every.single.day turned out to be the least stressful week I've had in roughly a year. That's because the childminder picked up the kids from nursery, fed them and dropped them off home smiling, so that all I had to do was receiving hugs, smiles and kisses from them and do bedtime.
Oh it was lovely. No cooking with two tired and hungry monkeys who really don't want to have their mummy doing dinner in the kitchen, no race to get them to bed at a decent time. Yes, they were even in bed before 8pm one night which is unheard of in this house. I may have had less time with my kids but at least the time I did spend with them was quality time.
But these are of course the minor things that happened. Above all, I have a new job which I'm actually quite excited about because I think it plays to my strengths and also is once again in an area that I'm passionate about. Not that I wasn't passionate about my previous job, it's just a different level. What I'll be doing now is something that I believe has the potential to make a real difference while being fun for everyone involved. I no longer have to convince young people that they should be working on child poverty and create an inspiring project when really they want to just have a laugh together (which is just fine and dandy).
My new job then is to be a FAST trainer. FAST stands for Families and Schools Together and it's a programme designed to strengthen parents, families and communities; all for the benefit of the child and to protect the child from the stresses around him/her that may lead to low educational attainment. And everyone involved comes out a winner - it's fun, the parents, kids, teachers, community reps involved all enjoy it and the outcomes are proven and visible. I love the holistic approach, and how it creates a positive buzz and gives everyone involved a bit of me time while also creating quality time together. So while the programme is interested in the positive outcomes for the child, it actually delivers positive outcomes for everyone involved. The founder of FAST, Dr Lynn McDonald, described people in our time as "communities in waiting", people who are isolated but wish for better interactions with people where they live, and FAST is creating an opportunity for people to become community. (And so I keep singing "we are family")
The training itself has made me reassess my own parenting style and how I could improve not just my interaction with my children, but also address my own stress buttons. I've come out of it realising how important a role a parent plays in the early years, a fact I knew but that has become even clearer and more pressing.
The only little downside of all of this is that I'll have a juggling act of childcare ahead of me what with out of hours work in locations not exactly around the corner from here, and that as of September (when Cubling will start school, yes it is already that time) I will have to work more hours than I'd like to. I wouldn't make those compromises for many jobs. This one, though, as far as I can tell right now, is so very right for me that yes, I am prepared to compromise. And my mantra shall be that other parents work full time too and get on with it without the guilt and sense of loss. In the meantime I'll make the most of my 21 hour week for the months ahead.