Feast, famine or funny food

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.

[she/her] • writer • unschooler • team Soul Farm • Revillaging podcast • breastfeeding counsellor • Trinidadian in Cornwall

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  • Blimey yes… So with you there… those career ladders haunt me almost daily, and most often when I’m staring at spreadsheets. The reality is they are big fat lies – offering success, fulfilment, a chance to show us we’ve made it (let alone the rest of the world), great to climb if that’s what you want to do but so much pressure for us all to do the same.

    Being comfortable in our own skin, happy to live a life that isn’t easily labelled is the massive challenge that faces all who don’t have the easy answer to the question, what do you do? Where do you work? where is your career going?

    Bum to that though… the One who really knows what this world is about says: you are mine, chosen and loved. I’ve given you abilities gifts and grace to use in this world- go figure out where you want to do that and I’ll be there with you. He walks with us, sometimes pushes us down allys and blind corners to show us something he loves, pushes us to walk over tightropes whilst holding our hand, sometimes takes the hand away and watches us walk by ourselves for a bit but he never leaves. He calls us to be his and whatever we do, do it with a character that reflects His a little.

    oops. I appear to have blogged on your comments. My apologies. I just feel a little bit passionate about this issue and would love for me and everyone else to be confident in who we’ve been made by and walk through the adventure of the ordinary – nappies, writing, chats, fireplaces, sunshine, trying to love those we’ve been put in front of.

    Rant over.

    Love your pretty blog btw and miss you guys…

  • Kath – Extended comments are welcome. I think you explained my thoughts about the career ladder a lot more clearly than I could have. Thanks about the blog – still a work in progress, but that’s how it should be.

    helloitsgemma – Thanks! I start my driving lessons tomorrow so let’s see how it goes! Trundling over to your blog in a mo.