Real Life: PA to my Children – Is it time to get a job?

The last few years have been a rollercoaster, which I hope is finally running straight and offering the children stability. The Grenade is now attending my old school, which was once a comprehensive but is now an academy. How things have changed since I attended school. It’s like learning a whole new language. I still have to say to myself that he is a ‘first year’ and then translate that into ‘year seven’. Over the years I have discussed on the blog his ‘special learning needs’ which have culminated in no formal diagnosis, other than hyper mobility. He definitely is an eccentric child, who needs a higher level of management than some. My house has to be run in a streamlined manner otherwise there is no way that he would stay on top of his homework and organise himself to keep up with the timetable. To be honest, I have found it exhausting as well because I know that if we drop one ball then it will have a domino effect and the house of cards will come tumbling down.

This is definitely different to my own childhood where I was left entirely to my own devices to sink or swim at senior school. I was always independent and self managing although I am sure I would have excelled had I had the same level support I am currently giving my son.

We have a strict routine where all visual devices are switched off between 6.30pm and 8pm to ensure that all homework is done and the school bag is prepped for the night before, including school clothes laid out. There is no way I would be able to get this ready in the morning, everything has to be done the night before. Even when I was working in an office, I had to choose my outfit the night before. I am not a morning person.

The Menace is now 6 years old and the Grenade is 11 years old and it’s time to move my life on. I have been freelance for 9 years and scrape together a living while raising two children. Part of me wants to go back to the security of a PAYE income but due to the destination I have chosen to live in any job worth doing financially, and also, that is akin to my skillset is a minimum 1 hour commute from where I live. This poses many challenges, not least being at least an hour away from my kids should a problem arise, because although Hagar lives 20 minutes away from us, he is still in the military and unable to be there for the children at the drop of a hat so the burden falls with me. Aside from that I just interviewed for a junior position beneath my experience and I still did not get the job despite interviewing well. A long term freelance mature female is not a good prospect for business it is definitely harder to re-enter the job market.

The Grenade is also about to undergo surgery on his teeth to help draw down his adult teeth and have a brace fitted. This will be an appointment every week throughout November. Having the flexibility of working in a freelance has it’s advantages; but the truth is I don’t have a pension, I am on a low income and I am in the parent trap which will continually disadvantage me as old age rapidly descends. The future of my family is more secure, which makes me happy; but my own goals of financial independence and a healthy pension seem to be continually just out of my reach. I am not giving up; but it’s back to the drawing board to sort out a world domination plan. Watch this space!

Clare Macnaughton; a modern military mother; a feminist, British military spouse, and lifestyle journalist, writing about real life adventures.

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