I’ve always considered myself a lazy feminist: I ignore protests, petitions and debates, unless they directly affect me, but I do believe in equality and I see red when treated like less because of my gender.
Stereotype me beacuse I’m a woman and I’m guaranteed to flip a lid. I am just as able to make a decision, manage finances, have a career and survive as the next man. I would never be treated like a little woman… until now.
Before I continue, I should point out that I drafted the first few paragraphs and title of this blog in November 2015, over two years ago, when I was starting to feel trapped in a gender-stereotypical role in the quagmire that is military life. I’ve moved on since and accepted my role as a stay-at-home-mum, which was originally by choice. I fought my way out of that, studied, grew, built up a childminding company and successfully kicked the fuck out of my ‘little woman’ image.
Yesterday, two years later, I had a hard lazy-feminist day. Yesterday marked the day where we realised that financially, I cannot work. Having two children, childcare isn’t affordable at all. Even with 30 hours funded by the government, we realised I couldn’t find something in the role that I wanted to do (or a role that would work towards my career) that could cover the extra costs. Just to break even.
There are ways forward and things I could do. For example, I could walk into an incredibly well-paid job tomorrow, thanks to my experience and qualifications, but I’m not willing to sell my soul (or allow my children to be parented by strangers at a nursery) for something as trivial as money. I have made such progress in my life and mindset that taking a gigantic leap backwards isn’t worth it. So, I had to face the fact that I will be a stay at home mum, quite possibly for the next 2-3 years. It’s hard to keep positive when faced with this. I allowed myself a whole minute of pathetic weeping, then picked myself up. I have to make the best of this.
There is no way that I will sink into domesticity, donning an apron and making my best apple pie. I can’t clean for shit, my house is always a tip, I’m late to everything and I’m just too much of an ass to allow myself to be downtrodden by others. So, I’ve decided to try and stay positive and use this time to focus on other goals and enjoy my children. Keep my mind awake, my intellect intrigued, do my best to be a good mum…to keep being proud of who I am.
Firstly, I’m focusing on reading and writing. These are things that make me very happy and I know they will never do me wrong (well, what I write often gets me into shit, but, as an overall activity, it does me well).
- I’m working on a children’s book. Nothing major and I don’t expect to get published, but, in a saturated market, I believe I have a good idea and I like doing it. It’s also a goal I can work towards, achieve and kick ass at. Whether someone buys it or not is irrelevant. I’ll go the agent route, perhaps directly to publishers, but if those routes don’t work, the kids will thoroughly enjoy it. Hopefully!
- I’m going to blog more often – keep my adult writing going and it’s a relatively cathartic process. I won’t be sharing to other platforms unless I feel it’ll benefit someone else.
- I was given a one-line-a-day five year diary for Christmas and I’m keeping that going. It’s nice to summarise and helps with exercise goals (at the end of each line, I write “Did squats. Didn’t die.” It helps to remember I survived!).
- I’m keeping a book journal and trying to read as much as possible. It’s not easy with two young children, one of which is me incarnate. She’s a darling, but, god, does she have a temper. I’ve got myself a book stand to help me find my current book (a daily struggle with my 3 yr old being into everything) and have joined book clubs. Still looking for my first book, which I started one line of and then someone walked off with it.
Secondly, I’m going to try and do some work-from-home crap. Perhaps selling wedding stationery, which I seemed to have a knack for. I might do some editing, but it’s soul-destroying work and means I need complete quiet – an, as yet, unachieved status in this household. I dunno, I’ll find something. I have a nice new graphics tablet, so I’ll just spend some time reminding myself how utterly untalented at drawing I am.
I’m sounding upbeat and positive about this. It’s a necessity. If I let myself feel anything about this, I’ll drown. In reality, this is hard. This is really fucking hard.