Forgive me fellow bloggers for I have sinned. I haven’t updated my blog for over six weeks *blushes* In my defence I’ve been having a tough time – by my standards anyway – not one week has gone by where I haven’t had an ill child at home for the entirety of November. As I type my littlest, Laurie, is asleep in his bed with a high temperature and I’m having kittens over the amount I’ve forked out on Calpol and Nurofen over the last few weeks…
And in the midst of all this I madly signed up for NaNoWriMo; another thing I meant to blog about at the beginning of November! For those of you who are unaware November is National Novel Writing Month; the opportunity to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and push out a 50,000 word novel with the equivalent mental effort as it physically takes to give birth. Trust me I know. Only my baby novel could do with having an emergency c-section around now; it’s desperate to come out, however, the time-consuming pressures of three children have hindered it’s progress along my creative birth canal (I might be overdoing it with the giving-birth analogy now) and the whole thing has come to a grinding halt at around 12,000 words. Oops. If you want to see what my new novel’s about take a look at my NaNo page http://www.nanowrimo.org///eng/user/684891 We’ve had a lot of work done on our house this year by a builder who’s also a fireman (if you follow me on Twitter you’ll already be aware of my obsession with my fireman/builder and opportunities for diet coke breaks!). I’d never really considered the kind of harrowing images which firefighters have to cope with on a daily basis and through talking to fireman/builder about his experiences a character developed in my mind. Along came Grace, my heroine and now I’m currently enjoying making life difficult for them both.
And while I’ve been drowning in child vomit and struggling to write-out 1600 words a day – this paragraph should come with a warning rant, so consider yourself warned – the coalition government dropped a bombshell on me; they’re going to take away our child benefit. Okay so it’s not going to happen until 2013 and by admitting we won’t be entitled to it anymore you have a rough idea of our annual income but as a stay-at-home-mummy I am, to put it mildly, unimpressed. But once I’d got over the initial shock of my children losing out – because believe it or not our child benefit goes a long way towards paying for the children’s new shoes, swimming lessons, books to help with their education – and my anger that if my husband went down to 4 days per week in his job and I went out and got a job a couple of days a week we could have a larger annual income than we do now and STILL collect our child benefit AND how I feel David Cameron lied to me before I put my tick in the box for him, I started thinking…
My mother stayed home and looked after me until I was eleven when my father was made redundant and she was forced into taking a part-time job (the same job, I hasten to add, she’s now been in for 19 years and was probably the best thing that ever happened to her, apart from me obviously, ha, ha). When I look back now it was an idyllic childhood really and when I had my eldest son Hamish – who’s nearly 8 now, eek! – I wanted the same for him. I can remember announcing I was pregnant at the publishing house where I worked and one of the more-mature women (who at the time I thought showed all the signs of career suicide) blurted out, “What on earth have you gone and done that for? You’re a bright young thing with prospects, you’ve got your whole of your life ahead of you to have a baby!” Which for health reasons wasn’t quite true, but that’s a story for another day… At the time I was angry and determined to prove everyone wrong; that I could be the perfect mother, devoted housewife, the ultimate Domestic Goddess. And to a certain extent I have achieved that. But the words of my colleague always ring in my ears. Because she was right. Not about how old I was when I decided to have children but that I did have prospects and I did give up on them. And although my mother was quite happy to devote her whole time to my wellbeing, upbringing and endless cups of coffee and chats with her friends – other stay-at-home mums – I am not. Alright I don’t want to go back to my previous life as a Human Resources Officer, but I do want to achieve something for me, something that doesn’t orientate around children. So the question I pose is that with these new austerity cuts and child benefit being taken away from the middle classes, is this the Death of the Housewife? Is she to become some mystical legend who baked cupcakes, administered Mr Bump plasters to cut knees and left a dusting of eddible glitter wherever she walked?
I fear so.
So until 2013 I shall plough on regardless because – and here comes another Mummy Moan – I’m not sure how the hell I could get a job anyway, my children are perpetually ill! And when they’re not ill there always seems to be a school holiday or inset day lurking around the corner. In fact I have the utmost respect for mothers who juggle work and motherhood – juggling work and children is hard; my children have better social lives than my husband and I! And if I’m really lucky and put in the hard work now, who knows, maybe I can be the mummy who has it all – a published novelist who can earn and income and work from home. There’s my New Year resolution then!
And one final comment, on the subject of published novelists, it’s Talli Roland’s (http://talliroland.blogspot.com/) launch of her new novel The Hating Game tomorrow and she’s come up with the fantastic concept of a websplash to promote the book and increase her Amazon rating. So join me tomorrow to learn more and read my review.