Too old to learn a new trick?

While I didn’t specifically want to refer to myself as a dog (!!), I do wonder if it is too late for me.

Taking voluntary redundancy and giving up my stressful-but-confidence-boosting career to be a stay at home mum has been harder than I thought. I’m used to being able to have a good old snark about whomever at work was annoying me, but I can’t really do that when my kids’ incessant ‘Mammy can I have…?’ , ‘Mammy can I have…?’ all day every day starts to creep under my skin. The guilt really is huge. My poor husband has developed ears of steel – effective barriers to my crazed psycho rantings that cannot be unloaded on anyone else due to the gush of guilt and betrayal I would feel.

So, I took up writing…not as an outlet, but as an inlet…to give a sense of self and confidence a place to surge in…tidal waves welcome. Yes while I love being a mother, and I love my children so much it physically hurts, I need to keep grounded and keep being me.

It’s not going to make me any kind of decent monthly income, more like ‘pin money’ as they used to call it in my grandmother’s day…just enough to keep you in essentials.

I’ve been doing white label stuff, meaning other people get to put their name on it. I get about $15 per 500 words. Sounds kinda comfy, except I have to spend a lot of time researching what goes into those 500 words, so one article could take me all afternoon. Especially as my children are all ‘Mammy can I have…?’ .

Every.Single.Afternoon.

In my career I did IT system architecture, which sounds way posher than it is. In fact I felt somewhat of a cuckoo in the nest, seeing as I have a degree in languages of the French kind and not of the programming kind. I wouldn’t even be able to write HTML on this page.

My talent seemed to be telling business people how they should design a system or an online experience to be brilliant, and a keen eye for predicting problems, anticipating weak points and spotting flaws in developer designs. It made people trust my judgement which motivated me not to let them down and always do my best.

Now, I know, I could not get an architecture job again. I had worked into that position through several others after more than a decade in the same company. Now though, as a new candidate, with no reputation to precede me, employers see a great CV but an enigma sitting in front of them.

How did she do that job?

She has no formal IT qualification??

She can’t program???!!

I recently did some writing for a Miami based web design company for their own blog. I find I do this quite a bit and to be honest it strikes me as quite hilarious. Lots of web design and social media management companies are hiring out freelancers like me to write content for ***their own websites*** which they need made SEO friendly as they don’t know how and they don’t know how to write content. All fur coat and no knickers springs to mind. Selling services to clients that they cannot even do for themselves seems quite ambitious to me!! (It’s not a time issue, I have talked with them.) That being said, fair play for making a go of something and not letting anything get in their way.

So, this reckless entrepreneurial spirit combined with the topics my client was asking for…such as Best Principles in UX Design, How To Do a UX Audit etc, had me doing my research and… along the way I discovered I would actually LOVE to be a UX Designer.

It perfectly combines what I did in my old job with what I am good at and what I have an interest in …being great at my job (whatever that actually ends up being, I want to be great at it) or giving people what they want, be that giving a company a fabulous UX design on their website or giving a customer an easy online experience or my family a quirky gift I know they will love, or a homeless man a sandwich.

The question is now…am I too old? I’m 33. It would take me a year to do a course in Digital Design (which I am about to sign up for). I would probably only get hired as a junior, if at all in the future when I have to go back to work (which I’m hoping is at least 2 years away).

Back to the entrepreneurial spirit now for a moment…could I combine my love for writing web copy, articles and content with new digital design skills and…become my own boss with MY OWN web design company??!!

Dare I dream it??

Well yes I do…dream anyway…but I’m not sure I could turn it into a reality or if I am too old to make a go of this. Have I / Would I have enough talent and experience? I wish I had a crystal ball.

Any words of inspiration?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Daughter

 

I’m sorry you’re not ok

I hate that you feel this way

My heart wrenches and wrings

When I see you scrunch up your wings

Those wispy ethereal things

That carry your fears away

 

I see your face fall with a frown

Your little body in fear hunching down

As the kids run around in delight

Saturday frolics and fights

Tumbling, tussling, laughing and light

But you are terrified now

 

What did I do so wrong

Your anxiety a melancholy song

My heart fills with tears

No hugs banish the fears

My kisses are leers

That laugh at me all the day long

 

Your screams and panic and horror

Mickey Mouse was a serious error

I don’t know what to do

I just love you

My heart is breaking, its cruel

To watch you drown in psychological terror

 

You’ve passed a mere forty months

Mostly you giggle and romp

Your wingspan so wide

No need to hide

Your mind is safe from the tide

Of the dreadful phantom swamp

 

Dear Daughter I promise you this

You are safe in my arms I insist

There’s no menace greater than me

To crush those anxieties you’ll see

I’ll fashion you wings with my love’s filigree

And you’ll rise and soar and be free

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maintaining your sense of Self

I’m full of anticipation at the moment. I feel like I’ve walked into an open soft meadow, the promise of a lush fertile space where the mind is free to wander and create, a new beginning.

This is for two reasons: firstly, I’ve been made redundant from my job this week and secondly, I’ve started this blog. I was recruited straight after university, and stayed with a global telecommunications company for more than 11 years. Before that I worked part-time throughout uni and also in the last few years of school. I never quit for exams or finals.

So it’s a little bit scary in so far as I’m not used to seeing no money coming in every month as it has been for the last 18 years. Wow.. I had a little shudder there when I wrote ’18 years’…it’s been so long! I started work in my mid teens. I went from waitress to sales assistant to call centre staff to project co-ordinator to business analyst to solution and technical IT architect with a bit of project management along the way.That’s the sum total of my working life. Sounds ridiculously simple when totalled in one sentence but I spent many hard years working my way up, with long hours and sleepless nights from stress.

And now my job is going to be full time stay at home Mammy. Scary! I’m a bit afraid my brain will shrivel up like a prune. So to keep me mentally challenged and to keep a sense of myself I decided to open a blog and write my thoughts and ideas  here. At the same time it’s very liberating to be “out-of- work”. (Motherhood doesn’t seem to qualify to a lot of people!) My family was crumbling at the edges under the stress of both parents working before my maternity leave. We were up at 6 am, to go to the child minder by 7 to be in work by 9am (my job was 70 kilometres and two major motorways away). Not returning until 6 in the evening for me and 7 for hubsy. Coming home to a cold untidy house, cooking awful food that was just quick and convenient, getting my daughter to bed by 8 latest (she needed to be there by 7.30 but we wanted a little more time with her) and spending weekends doing the never ending cycle of cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and having very little time or energy for anything else was just sucking the soul out of us.

I’m finishing up my second maternity leave now after the birth of my son and I was dreading re-entering that cycle. Babies are exhausting but bring a lot of inner joy and this is a welcome exhaustion –  ‘this too shall pass’ is constantly repeated in whispers in the depth of night when it feels criminal to be awake. It is the driftwood we are clinging to as we drown in a sea of nappies, teething, toddler tantrums and colicky baby cries. But honestly I love parenthood! 🙂

Anyway, here I am, newly redundant, and I love that we can now afford for me to be a stay-at-home mother for a while longer at least. I want to make use of this time as best I can, expand my horizons a little. And those of my children. Writing a blog makes you very self-conscious of every word you write, every thought you have so I hope that doesn’t become overwhelming. I hope I don’t lose my ‘self’ in the blog by adjusting everything out of worry how I’ll be perceived. That would make the whole exercise pointless. This blog is going to be my own little studio since I don’t have much time to go to the gym or go to classes. It’s so easy to get lost in the cycle of life around the children. I’d love to hear any comments from other stay at home Mams or Dads on how you keep your sense of ‘self’ ?