This post is part of the ‘Getting your Groove back’ blog hop at Kate on Thin Ice.
How quickly a year can pass. This time a year ago, I was a ‘fresher’ starting a 4 year vocational degree course. Bye Bye corporate life, hello pathway to a new fulfilling career. At least, that was the master plan. I’d decided to completely change track, retraining for a new career that would eventually allow me to be self employed and fit perfectly around family life. Fourteen months after my son had been born I felt ready for the challenge. Three weeks into the course, which was fascinating, intellectually stimulating and filled with bright, curious souls, the private college running it went into liquidation. The university validating the course accepted no responsibility, and I was left out of pocket; a years tuition fees disappearing into the ether after only three weeks teaching. The disappointment was immense. I felt like I’d been through so much to get to that point, (finding the fees, sorting out the childcare), and suddenly it was gone. Starting again somewhere else was not possible, due to many factors, (location, commute time, cost.) After a lot of soul searching, I decided that my only option was to place my dream on the backburner, to be returned to at a later date.
In the time that has passed since then, I have reflected often on the fact that I miss the thinking challenges that work used to provide. I miss the process of thinking through a problem or project, thinking about the different approaches, selecting and applying one. I miss the pride I felt in delivering a great piece of work, and feeling like I made a difference. If my course had carried on, I am sure it would have fulfilled some or all of these needs. Motherhood itself is a challenge (more than I ever gave my own mother credit for) but for me, the challenges it presents, are different to the thinking challenge that work, or even my course, used to provide. I have come to the conclusion I need mental stimulation much more than I thought. Having something outside of motherhood to occupy my mind (an ‘out’ space in my head, where I can go, which isn’t about the day to day of being a mum) helps me keep upbeat, it keeps me sparky, it helps maintain my sense of self. All round, it just makes me happier.
I spent a lot of time thinking this week about what I can do to get back in my thinking groove. These are the things I plan to focus on:
1. My Blog : It does hearten me to think in one way I’ve already started on my ‘feed the mind’ journey. I started my blog in August (probably a subconscious recognition I was struggling with the points above) and I have found that the separate thinking space it provides has been really beneficial. I’m a complete novice, still finding my voice, still grappling with some of the technology, but I have found that there is lots of food for thought in this new world, subjects and people to inspire me.
2. Inspired by some of the comments from previous weeks, this week I contacted our local higher education college, to see if there are any courses available which would interest me. There are some, starting in January; one which may help in developing more foundation knowledge for my original course, which would be useful for when I eventually have the time and money to return to it.
3. Indulging my passions: I love history. I studied it at Uni first time around. I find it so interesting. Just before my son was born I had started researching my family tree, but didn’t get to finishing it. I’m going to dust it down, and pick up where I left off.
So, that’s what I’m really going to try and focus on, ways that I can feed the mind. My own bit of mental football ‘keepy uppy.’
Each week Kate sets some question or tasks. One of the questions this week is about breakfast, with a challenge to maybe try something new.
My favourite breakfasts are always out of the house. Sitting in one of my favourite local places, with the best latte in the world. Strong, coffee mixed with milk so thick and creamy, that I use a long handled spoon and allow myself, kiddy like, to just keep spooning foamy coffee flavoured milk into my mouth. It’s rich and indulgent. Accompanied by a sausage sandwich with tomato sauce, the sausages being butterflied, and cooked both sides, so the inside of the sausage is all crispy. The bun is toasted. Often I add more lashings of Tommy K. Delicious. But, NOT good for the waistline. The reality is this is a rare treat. Most mornings at home, I grab a cup of tea, and eat 2 pieces of toast with marmalade whilst on the go trying to sort everything else out. My rules for my son are very different. Porridge and fruit. I’m a big believer in the slow releasing energy that oats provide. This week I’m going to practice what I preach, forgo the toast, and have one day where I sit down and eat a bowl of porridge with him.