Sunday, August 26, 2012

Introducing Working Mama

As you know, we have been living beyond our means. No matter how much I tried to save, the reality was that we were spending more that we had coming in. At that rare of overspend, we had about 10 months left before we were totally broke, so something had to change.

I think I have budgeted as far as I am prepared to go. We could spend less on food, but I want to provide nutritious meals for my family. BB loves fresh fruit. I could get rid of the car, but that would mean a drastic change of lifestyle and really the place I live has little going for it. We could move somewhere where there is more going on, but then our house would be much smaller, and Grandma and Gramps further away. There is only so much I am prepared to compromise.

So, after much deliberation, I decided that I needed to work. But I really don't want to go to work. I had a Work Focused Interview  at the Job Centre (routine here when your child turns 1) on the 7th August and discussed the idea of becoming self employed. By doing 16 hours a week I qualify for working tax credits and of course I will have my earning too, so providing I get some work I should be better off.  I am working as a Virtual Assistant doing freelance administrative tasks for small businesses. I already have my first client who has enough work to keep me going for a while, and hopefully in that time I can also build a website and start to promote myself a little wider. Initially I am doing this at home when BB is sleeping, which is a bit of a challenge to fit in around the toy tidying, washing and floor mopping, but possible. 

We are going to have a look at a nursery on Tuesday though as I am aware that this is not do-able long term. I do need some Me time so that I can be at my best during Mummy time. It would be good to have at least a couple of evenings free. I have been thinking about taking BB to nursery for a while.  It is widely accepted here that attending nursery gives you a head start at school, something BB may need as he will be one of the youngest in his year. I like the idea of the structure, and the development of social and sharing skills. There is also BB's personality to consider, he is a social little chap and loves to get out of the house and do something every day. When we have BB2 this could be hard for him, so having a couple of trips to nursery each week could be a bit of a saviour in those early weeks. 

Practising administrative skills at the wobbly table
Finally, to explain the long silence. It is quite simple: BB + wobbly table + unsuspecting friend's cup of tea = sudden computer death! That was another surprise as I really thought it would recover. BB spewed on it once when he was really small and I just turned it upside down on a towel for a day and it was fine. I expected the same to happen this time, but, to my horror, nothing! 

This did make my first two weeks of work quite a challenge as the incident occurred about 1/2 an hour after I made the phone call to register self employed. Still, it was possible thanks to my mum and DD who let me use their computers when I needed. Fortunately too, it turns out that I have a brilliant insurance company, I now have a replacement laptop. Better still some clever geek was able to extract the hard drive from my old one and load it on to the new one so I even have all my files. From now on though, the laptop stays in the office until BB is sleeping soundly - at least until the wobbly table is replaced.

Mum's the word

Thanks Jamie, for the title of this post!

Sorry for the long silence - more on that in my next post - but I am back, with good news.

I can see from my stats that the most popular exit link from this blog over the last week has been this one, so I am guessing that a lot of you already know the news. I have also received a few messages of congratulations. Thank you! It is a bit weird that this news is out there in cyberspace and I didn't even tell my mum yet! (I don't think any readers will be bumping into my mum in the next few days, but you know, if you do - Mum's the word please! I'll tell her soon!)

The positive test took me by surprise. I thought we may have missed O this month, and then when my temperature plummeted at 10DPO I accepted that it was all over for this month (and probably next month too as the timing wasn't looking good). Then the next day my temperature was up again. It was enough to make me wonder if it could be possible, so I tested. I used an internet stick at first - perhaps there was a shadow, but I really couldn't be sure. Then I tried a Boots blue cross one and I was amazed to see a faint blue line.  But still couldn't quite believe that it wasn't just my imagination, so I set off to the pharmacy and bought a digital test. This is what I saw!

I still can't really believe it. I am still testing on an internet stick every day to watch the line get darker. Things appear to be going well so far. I have some twinges and mild nausea but nothing major. I have been a bit more tired than usual but have napped when BB did for a couple of afternoons so that's all manageable too. It is very early days though. Lets hope this little bean sticks around and that BB gets to be a big brother at the start of May next year.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Big Issue

So, you all know about the fact that I am living on a tight budget... or more to the point NOT within the budget. I have been trying, really I have, but I am still a long way from living within my income boundary.

One of my weaknesses is giving money away. As I always had plenty, I would always sponsor people that needed sponsoring, pop some money in the charity tin, or buy a raffle ticket. I am also one of those people that buys the Big Issue. All of these things are a hard habit for me to break - I feel mean and awkward saying no. But I have been trying.

Today, BB and I were out in a nearby city doing a few errands. As we walked to the post office there was a Big Issue seller. I have Big Respect for people the who sell this magazine. Way back when I was a student I had a part time job in a place that supported the sellers and I got to know several of them personally. I know that they are genuine people that are working hard and need a break. I always buy.

But today I tried to avoid his gaze. I felt terrible. What would I say if he spoke to me? I have a house, a car... I can hardly say I'm broke to this person when clearly I am better off than he. Luckily I got away (perhaps he sensed my awkwardness and left me alone). We continued on our way, went to the post office and the stationer and forgot about it.

That was until we started to head back to our car, with our shopping, to drive to our house.

Then this happened.

There was a man on a bench. An alcoholic at a guess. He was speaking with a lady, who looked older than she probably is. She was walking slowly, pushing a shopping trolley which served two functions: it carried her things and it helped her to walk. The man asked her if she had any money. She said she did. He asked her if she could buy him some milk. She said she would, and asked if he needed anything else. He replied that milk was all he needed and thanked her... She shuffled off towards the shop.

A few moments later I saw the Big Issue seller again and he was coming towards us.

No, wait, not us, instead he approached the old lady, addressed her by her name and said "Are you getting him milk again? Here you go my darlin'" and then he handed her a pound, which she graciously accepted.

So moved by the generosity of these people with nothing, I did what I always would. I bought a copy of the magazine!  I also did something different, (as these days they mostly sit unread because I never find time to read) I told him to keep the magazine and sell it again.

So, for all my will power I spent £2 on a magazine which I don't have.

But in reality I have a lot!

I am rich.

And the kindness and generosity of these people just made my life a little richer still.

Next time I see a Big Issue seller, I'll invest another £2.