In this flat, we have a bedtime routine that I’m not altogether proud of. If we stay up beyond 11, I’ll almost inevitably go into a funk that doesn’t allow me to go to bed without making a fuss. Often, Laurence has to drag to my feet by the armpits and remind me that for this to work, I need to put my arms down. Clearly good common sense goes missing late at night. But then, while I’m brushing my teeth, I’m tired enough to start thinking about the things I’m worried about. It goes like this.
I couldn’t wait to stop being a student so I could get a real job and finally have money. You know, get on the career ladder. Be a grown up. Or at least be able to buy a pair of shoes without having to struggle through the maths first.
It’s all about stability – that thing you’re supposed to have acquired before you get married and have children. Oh. Am I doing this the wrong way around, then?
As a freelance writer, I expect the feast or famine (and I know which it feels like more often!) but as an expectant mother, it’s sometimes difficult not to get a bit, well, antsy.
Especially when I’m raiding the January cupboard and cooking “bean and stuffing casserole”, the bizarre concoction pictured here.
So began the worry rant I heaped on hassled Laurence last night: “Why can’t I have a real job, go to an office, have a boss tell me what to do and know what I’ll be paid and when I’ll be paid every month?” And even scarier: “Is this the wrong time for us to be having a baby? What if my career’s never stable? What if we can’t pay for ballet lessons?!”
He patiently said something that surprised me: “You need to accept that you may never have a ‘real’ job.” What? The suggestion was at once terrifying (you mean it could always be like this?!) and liberating.
This universal career ladder thing is, essentially, imaginary. It only becomes reality when buy into the idea that there’s only one clearly-defined way of doing things, of living.
I think he also meant that I would be doing what I love, writing, and that this in itself would benefit our children. They might even see the merit of not taking the easy path. And anyway, it’ll be years before they even notice that mummy doesn’t have a normal job.
Even so, the money/career thing? It’s scary.