I’m back and hopefully on a roll!

Thanks for being with me whilst I have been grotty. It has been a fairly uneventful couple of weeks of my family and I mostly being full of those pesky ‘back to school’ bugs that you get when little ones return to school. This time I think as we have stayed away from others as much as possible our immune systems are a little lower than usual and in a state of ‘lets chill and revive for a bit’ and then Boom! the germs from hell hit you. Younger children germs are hellishly potent. I, like most teachers, used to manage to get to at least half term before I’d be feeling really bad but we were knocked for six this time round.

With hubs and I both being key workers we had to have a Covid test to rule it out. But with all the issues there are with the Covid Labs we couldn’t get a test for at least 2 days after first symptoms. Eventually ended up travelling to a test centre near Oldbury, West Bromich as there were none locally to us. Given the issues the scheme is having our test results didn’t take too long to arrive which was a relief. As I expected we were all clear.

The kids were feeling fine with no symptoms other than a snuffly nose after a couple of days of being at home so they were feeling well enough to go to school. The school were on board and allowed them back. Hubs and I were still feeling rough, hubby more than me most of the time, but I think we as mums and being women tend to put ourselves in default parent mode and just get on with everything that needs to be done despite really only wanting to curl up and sleep it all off.

Photo by Julian Paolo Dayag on Pexels.com

I was due to start a new contract on the Monday, but couldn’t start until the Thursday but thankfully the school were understanding enough to still want me to start with them. A week on and I’m enjoying being there as Head of IT by default – I am the IT department! The principal is an pleasant, amiable person to work with and its a nice little family atmosphere there. I work hard as teachers do but my class sizes are enviable and I have a timetable that has been worked around me and my needs enabling me to be able to do the school drop offs and pick ups and still have valuable family time. WIN WIN all round.

I have been obviously focussing on getting myself bug free but also I have been thinking about all the planning and bits and bobs that need to be done. Now I’m working and have a fixed timetable it makes everything so much easier. I sat down and meal planned, shopped for what I needed and have batch cooked so one less mum thing to worry about. If only everything else would be so organised.

Next on my plan is to sort out the wardrobe. Getting Autumn/Winter clothes to the front and getting outfits ready so I can grab and go in the mornings. It’s an awkward crossover time seasonally, as the September days can be glorious yet the late afternoon/evenings can be quite chilly. I notice the weather is a little unpredictable. It was wonderfully sunny one minute and yet just as I was going to my car it chucked it down with hailstones. I got caught out, despite me usually being prepared (four seasons in one day and all that!), a slightly soggy and battered mum collecting kids is not a good look.

I did the forgetful mum think the twice this week. Usually I’m on the ball and do our morning ‘have you got’ checklist with the kids. But, not for the past two days running, and consequently forgot youngest dear daughters’ coat. I am now being nominated for the bad mother award. In my defence I did ask them both if they had all of their things for school but I didn’t go through the list as I was in a hurry… oh dear… my kids think I’m the worst mum ever and it’s all my fault they can’t remember things. I’m pretty sure they’d expect me to wipe their backsides if I didn’t refuse to! It’s hard trying to get the balance of what they should really be able to do and actually doing. My two can be lazy and given the chance will get others to do everything for them. They are good at manipulating people into doing things for them!

Anyhow, I digress. I have now made sure I have a bag of coats in the boot so I don’t get nominated again for the worst parent award.

Now back to the wardrobe…

In the style club I’m a member of, the Autumn capsule has just been released which is really helpful as I can look at what I already have in my wardrobe and substitute as and where needed. I like orange as an autumnal colour, but its not my best colour so I would substitute it for a green, blue or a pink/purple which would flatter my cooler colouring better. I do wear orange though, I’m a little rebellious and will wear a colour that’s not my best but I usually compensate by upping my makeup when I decide to wear any, or using different accessories or styling my hair differently. I have brown hair with copper in it, naturally I hasten to add, and whilst my hair is warmer my skin is on the cool side, I can get away with some warmer toned colours but I do have to ensure they are the correct contrast level otherwise I get worn by the clothes and not the other way round.

I’m also looking at what I have that fits as I’m still battling with those extra pounds lock down helped me gain, it is in no way my fault, I did not up the UK’s glass recycling tonnage by an extra 50% at all with my wine bottles! I did have a rummage in a few charity shops one day a couple of weeks ago for a couple of ‘new to me’ items. I’m on a fashion challenge of the help the environment type. I would like to minimise the amount of new, proper new not new to me, items coming into my wardrobe and work on getting more quality items rather than fast fashions and poorly made items. I like the idea of reusing/repurposing items which is why I like a rummage in a charity shop as bargains can be found and if you need something for a shorter while it’s not being wasted and keeps the carbon footprint down.

What else happened this week?

Not a lot of interesting things going on I’m afraid. Just the usual daily grind and boring stuff that we just get on and do. Had an email offering me even more work, but I can’t take it as I’m already signed up for some. Contract work is like buses, they all arrive at once! Never mind, maybe next time.

The car had to go in to the garage for an MOT. Oh dear. It had been given an extension due to the lock down, but as I had a broken coil spring happen it would have been a failure and illegal so I booked the car in for some work and a service which was very much needed. Knowing the car would be for a day or so and Bessie bus would be sleeping over I had a little courtesy car whilst she was away. It was an automatic. I hate automatics! But it wasn’t a bad little car if I’m honest, it did what it needed to do. Got me from A to B and further without any glitches. And to be fair I almost stalled Bessie when I got back in and drove it as I’d got used to driving the auto in a short amount of time. Maybe I’m warming to them, maybe when I win the lottery and buy a posh car I’ll have to get one. In my dreams!

I could breathe a sigh of relief when it came to the bill as it wasn’t as much as expected, especially as I’m waiting for payday to rock up. Although, I noticed when I got home that I hadn’t been charged for the MOT so I’ll be popping back up to pay for that bit. I believe in Karma and I can’t let this slide, I like to be honest and I couldn’t feel right not paying for something like that. Call me a fool, whatever. My daughter doesn’t like Bessie bus anymore as she has had a really bad rattle fixed and little one says that Bessie doesn’t talk to us anymore. Sweet. Kids have some strange attachments don’t they? I’m just happy the heatshield is fixed and doesn’t make the car sound like its having a coughing fit ready to keel over!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

What’s next?

I haven’t a clue! Apart from the wardrobe reshuffle, I haven’t planned much. But now I’m feeling more human again I will need to start looking at organising myself over the next few weeks.

I know that I have a couple of interviews with stylists coming up so that’s something to look forward to. I have a travel bucket list post I’m writing and I do need to do some style posts somewhere in amongst all this too.

I may have an update on the kitchen and it’s progress (or lack of). Who knows. If it’s meant to be it’s meant to be….

Thanks for your company. Take care, stay safe.

Becks

Xo

Work, money and homeschooling – how did I manage it?

Short answer? I didn’t. Not at first anyway. It was, and still is, a slow process.

Many parents and carers have found themselves in the unenviable position of being both parent/carer and teacher as kids are off school or nursery and businesses are following government advice and staff are encouraged to work from home. Its a difficult task trying to work and get kids to do anything remotely school based. Many people are being furloughed or waiting to see if they are going to be furloughed and worrying about paying mortgages or rent, putting food on the table for their families and such like which add to the stress and worry of everyday life during lock down.

Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

There are so many people already living hand to mouth, payday to payday that one little blip can send finances reeling and then we’re in a position where most of us really don’t want to be. I have realised just how much we, as a society, don’t save for the future or have the ‘rainy day fund’ as I refer to it. I may be generalising but many people I’ve chatted to have said they haven’t any extra put away and are living payday to payday with huge debts and overdrafts to contend with too. I know I’m one that isn’t really in a position to save and have found it particularly tight, having to cut down on a lot of things cancelling subscriptions and other unnecessary direct debits. I know I am one of the lucky ones so I’m not after your sympathy here, I have a support line in my husband who covers the key bills but given that any money I do earn goes towards the extras now that I lost all my contracts immediately the schools and colleges were told to shut I lost ALL of my income. I couldn’t even get furloughed initially as I am employed by an umbrella company who were in talks with the government as we are classed as zero hours contractors. What I have managed to get has been peanuts, but at least it’s something and might just pay for a bit of fuel for the car. This has made me consider how I manage my money better in the future, so much so that I’ve downloaded the book ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ by George Samuel Clayson and it’s long I grant you that but it makes a lot of money sense. Well worth a read if you can get your head into it.

I have had my own battles with my two kids, mostly on a daily basis and yes I’ve been tried and tested to tears but just as we’re starting to come out of lock down I’ve finally cracked it! Only a few weeks too late but hey, so what I have achieved a ‘Yes! fist pump moment!’.

I initially made the mistake of trying to set up homeschooling to be just like school. BIG FAIL! I am a school teacher and find it hard to get out of the ‘must be a teacher’ mentality. Of course I’m not a teacher at home I’m Mum. My kids don’t, and won’t, ever see me as anything other than Mum so trying to be teacher just simply was’t going to work. After a while of trying various strategies found by hours of trawling the internet and following Facebook posts, I got to a point where I just sat my kids at the table and had an honest conversation with them. You know the one, the ‘Ok, I’m done, I don’t know what to do or where to go from here’ conversation. However, credit where credit is due, they did listen and they did have a really grown up kids talk with me. We decided on focusing on one of them in the morning and the other in the afternoon or as soon as the first had finished their work and then we would work on a project, usually something grabbed from the internet, or free time fun play after. I found out just how much my kids love gardening, baking and science experiments which was an eye opener. My son has such green fingers, he seems to be able to grow anything!

I also found that having a Smart television helped as I could ‘beam’ the kids work to it from the laptop and they like playing teacher which is a really effective way of getting them to learn something. My daughter loved doing ‘Phonics with Rosie’ on the big screen and my son loved putting presentations together about what he’d learnt that day. It was brilliant seeing their enthusiastic faces as they played teacher. This is a strategy I’m going to continue to use with them when I want them to practice their schooling over the summer. We all know that kids lose a little of their sharpness over long holidays away from school and six weeks is a long time, so I’m aiming to make it easier for them when they go back especially as we’ve lost so much school time due to the pandemic.

Of course I fretted and worried about how much my kids would be put back by not having a school based education like they’ve been used to, and yes it was a little easier when the little one went back and I only had one to cajole on a daily basis into doing at least one something! Reward charts are my saviour! But now they’ve both gone back I know that they’ll be ok, we have the summer to do a reading challenge and some extra writing practice but I know that as long as my kids are happy and safe and we try to stick to a sort of ‘normal’ they’ll be fine.

I know that some of the ideas that I found whilst surfing the internet won’t work for us in any way shape or form, however I do know there are some ideas that I can take forward and use for personal use in the office my hubby has commandeered! His Man Cave we call it now. There are noticeboards and tally charts that I can use for keeping me on track and not just the kids. I’ve printed off posters and learning tools that the kids like to use so will be continuing with those for September mostly courtesy of Twinkl the school resources website (Note: I do pay a subscription for this provision) so I know they are tried and tested and they are readily used in the classroom so the kids are used to the layout. There are lots of good charts, posters and such like on places like Etsy and you can find a ton of them on Pinterest if you look in the right place.

There are still many worries and stumbling blocks to come at this strange time, but the one thing I have learnt and will say to you is this, whilst you might not feel it right now – we are going to come out of this eventually and you will be Ok, your kids if you have them will be Ok, we are living this together as a nation, as a world and it will pass. Don’t strive for everything to be perfect, we can’t do that right now lets just settle for being Ok for the time being.

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo