I wrote this a few weeks ago, right after I told the kids that I was finishing up in my job:
I’ve just had a very grown-up conversation with two relatively small girls. It’s one I’ve been dreading – the “I’m going to be staying home from work from now on” announcement. In theory they should be delighted, but the reality is, they adore their childminder (in blog world she’s called Jane) – I mean literally, ADORE. Working from home last Thursday, I could hear Emmie downstairs saying to Jane, ” I just adore you.” They regularly tell me that she’s the best childminder in the world. Which is great mostly, except when you find out you’re losing your job and will have to let said adored childminder go.
And then there’s the precedent. When I told them that Sylvia, their previous childminder was leaving two years ago, they were hysterical. Again, I do mean literally – no exaggeration. I wrote a whole post about it at the time. So I was dreading this conversation.
For the last few days, I’ve been saying things like, “Wouldn’t it be lovely if I was home more often?”
Some of the answers included, “Well, you’re home on Fridays” and “You already see us when you work from home on Thursdays” and “Yeah… but it’s fun having a childminder too!” You can see why I was nervous.
Tonight, they were in particularly good form, so I decided to take the leap. I started with the usual, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I was home a bit more?”
And because they were in great form, they said “Yes! It would be great!”
So I ploughed ahead with, “Imagine if I was home all the time?”
And again, they said it would be great. So I told them. I said, “Well, I think I will be home with you all the time soon – I won’t be working anymore in a few weeks…”
They both stared at me. And the conversation went something like this:
“You mean you’re losing your job?” asked Clara.
“But what will you do? That’s awful!” with wide, worried eyes.
“I’ll be fine – even though it’s not too nice losing a job, I’m thinking it might also be great, because I can be home with you guys!”
” But what about Jane? Will she have to lose her job too?” they sucker-punched me. Major guilt.
“Yes, but not for another few weeks,” I tried.
“Why can’t you get another job mum?” asked Clara.
“Yes, you just need to get another job, and Jane can stay,” said Emmie.
I explained that I had looked into getting another job, but that everyone just wants to hire people who will work five days a week. I told them they’d be long days – not home by 5pm as I am at the moment, and that I wouldn’t see them so much.
“But you could see us in the morning-time,” said Emmie pragmatically.
“Yes,” said Clara, “I’m sure you can find a new job, and Jane can stay.”
Now, at this point, you might be a) feeling a bit sorry for me, since my children are pushing me out the door to find a job or b) thinking I must be god-awful mother, if they’re that desperate to keep me in employment. But it’s OK. I wasn’t surprised. I know they love their childminder, and I know they’re used to me going to work. That’s their view of the world, and like most seven-year-olds and five-year-olds, they like to keep it simple. Just get another job.
I explained again that it’s hard to get a job, but that if it didn’t work out in a few months, I’d try again, and we’d see if Jane could come back. That seemed to placate everyone. For three or four seconds.
“Mum! How will we get money if you’re not working?” asked Clara, panicked.
“Don’t worry, dad still has a job, and work will give me a little bit of money, to kind of say sorry for taking away my job,” I explained.
“Why do they take away people’s jobs?” Emmie asked.
“To save money,” I said.
“So, is it a good thing to do or a bad thing to do?” she asked.
Good question. I told them that it’s both – it’s a normal thing that businesses do.
“I guess it’s good for the people who get to save the money, and bad for the people who lose their jobs,” said Clara. Yep, you got it.
“But mum what will you do? I know! You need to set up a business,” said Clara.
Jeez, give me five minutes to take a break…
“What kind of business?” I asked.
“Let me think… You do need to do something mum…”
Who made this girl my boss?
“Well, I’m going to be working on writing – at night when you’re in bed. That’s my new job – I just won’t be doing it during the day,” I explained.
“Woah, what kind of writing? Books?”
“Well, hopefully, but mostly articles,” I said.
“Em yes, articles, fine. But books! Will you be like Enid Blyton? Can I help you? Will you write down my stories? Who designs the book covers? How do you get into shops? Will we write poems together? OH MY GOD, YOU’RE GOING TO BE ENID BLYTON!”
So, basically, as long as I can live up to her expectations of becoming a multi-million selling world-famous author, I’m off the hook and allowed to steer clear of job-hunting. No pressure.
From interrogations about my career plans to questions about marriage equality, there’s no downtime with small kids. This is an article I wrote for HerFamily.ie about the upcoming marriage referendum: How I explained the Equality Referendum to my kids