Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Hats

Today was one of those days when I wear different hats. I was the parent helper on rota at Kids’ Club. It was the first session back after the hols and new children came along. That was all very calm and lovely, but I was quite absorbed and when Dani appeared to take over from me, I was shocked at the time.

I left there and set off for the bus stop at a jog as I had less than an hour before I was due to be sitting at the enquiry desk at work. Then I discovered I’d forgotten my sandwich and so had to buy some rubbish food from a corner shop. Dani found my sandwich in the bag I’d left with Leo at Kids’ Club.

I did two hours on the desk at work – reading emails, catching up on routine things and answering queries about books, journals and passwords - as well as answering phones and directing throngs of PGCE students to a library induction session being run by a colleague. Then I went straight to a meeting, before snatching my first sit down and cup of tea – at 4.30pm. I then worked the rest of the day until we shut up shop at 7pm. My bus had decided to leave the stop early, so I waited for the next one and got home just before 8pm.

A working day that involves being out of the house from 9.30am to 8pm isn’t really that long and many people work longer days, but I find the shift from home ed group to work very tiring. I end up feeling like I’ve lived two days in one.

I am very lucky, in many ways, that I can keep my work life neatly parcelled up in the hours when I’m there. The different bits of my life don’t tend to overlap and that is better for me than a life where my money earning activities were enmeshed in my family or child time. But I do sometimes feel like I’m always about to rush off somewhere!

The swift swapping of hats is one of the key features of my life as a parent. It is something I have learned to do far better than I would ever have believed possible, before we had children. When I was working nine to five, Monday to Friday, before we had kids, I used to need a whole routine to prepare for the working week. I can remember ironing a week’s worth of shirts on Sunday night! I really had no idea...

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