Ooops, sorry. I didn’t blog for a few days, then it accidentally slipped into a few months and now it’s been over a year. Life has changed a lot for us in the past year. My role in the family has changed a lot (although in some ways, not so much) and it’s taken a while for me to find the right time to come back to the blog.
At the end of 2011 things were a bit chaotic. Chris found himself unexpectedly unemployed. I was working freelance as a Phoenix Trader, and he was doing very occasional freelance work. It turns out that claiming benefits while both partners are self-employed is practically unheard of, and it took weeks for the Jobcentre to get their heads round our claim. We’re very lucky to have family who were able to support us – I don’t know how we’d have managed if not. Then, in January 2012, our luck turned. I got a job, working in education research. I probably wouldn’t have applied for it if we weren’t so desperate – the contract was only four days a week and we really needed a full time income. But I went for it, and they liked me so much that the job is now full time, and they’re funding my part time Masters degree too.
In a lot of ways my job has meant a complete role-reversal at home. Chris now looks after the boys full time, doing the school run every day and taking Boy2 to toddler groups and baby gym. We tried to do a straight swap with the housework, so he’s now responsible for the majority of cooking, washing up, laundry, etc. It might sound a bit clichéd, but the swap has given us both an insight into the pressures the other was facing when Chris worked full time and I ‘kept house’.
I feel I should warn you now, my change of lifestyle will probably mean big changes to the content of my blog. I’m looking at the list of categories now, and my breastfeeding and babywearing days are long gone. Another cliché: as my boys get older, I don’t want to invade their privacy with the blog. Although I expect I’ll still over-analyse the everyday conundrums of parenting.
I said in my last post that I’d be blogging more about ethical shopping and fashion. I’ve stuck pretty faithfully to my ethical shopping plans, buying most of my ‘new’ clothes from charity shops, mixed with the occasional new purchase from People Tree or the fabulous Nancy Dee (post definitely to follow!). Hopefully I’ll get round to sharing a few ethical bits and bobs on here.
The thing that’s really consuming my thoughts at the moment is my MA in Research Methods. I’m learning all about the different ways to do research, working out what I think of it all and digesting so much new information. One of the main reasons I blogged was to work through all the things in my head, and I still want to do that. But the things in my head now probably aren’t relevant to a lot of my old readers. Hopefully I’ll find some new ones, or even better, hopefully some of the things I’m working on will be of interest to some of you. Where I work now, they’re very into the idea of ‘evidence-based education’. They think that the things we do to our kids in schools shouldn’t just be based on a hunch or ‘common sense’ about what works; they should be underpinned by rigorous evidence. It’s made me think a lot about what goes on in our schools, what ‘education’ ought to be like… big questions that are important to every child in this country. I’ll try to write about those thoughts clearly and accessibly, so that you can understand them without having to sit through all the lectures and seminars I’m currently attending.
I’m not saying that life is perfect at the moment. With one parent at home full time (available for occasional freelance photography and other multimedia bits and bobs) living costs ever-increasing, money is always tight for us. In a couple of years when I finish my studies and both boys are at school, I’m confident things will improve on that front but at the moment, it’s hard (as I’m sure it is for so many these days). But aside from that, we have an awful lot to be grateful for.
So, yeah… it’s nice to be back.