The best and worst of my job so far

I have to say that becoming self employed has been a really good move for me. I was nervous about it at first because I knew there were no guarantees that it would work out. I mean my business is not exactly thriving yet but I feel good about how it’s going.

I work with several children who are really struggling. They so need love and security and connection in their lives and it feels great to be able to give them that. One little boy told me recently that I was his safe place. That just melts my heart. I love being able to make a difference to these little ones.

It’s tough sometimes when I’m alone in the house catching up on admin stuff. I’m not great at being alone. Sometimes I can just stick my music on and I’m fine but other times I struggle emotionally when I don’t have people to distract me. My boss is pretty understanding though 😉 so that’s another positive. She totally gets the importance of self-care. 😊

It’s really cool being able to mix work up with the rest of life too. I like that I can go to an exercise class or for a swim in the morning when I don’t have work scheduled or read a chapter of a book or watch some TV in my lunch break. It’s good to be able to put a washing in the machine between emails and catch up with friends between classes. It also means I can fit in brief trips to the supermarket like the one I made yesterday to return the stickers I accidentally stole last week. (If you haven’t heard that story read my post Mini Moral Dilemas.)

Money has the potential to be a hassle. I’m not worried as such (I guess I’ve learned not to worry about money – that’s another story) but I’m not making (anything like) as much as I did in teaching. Hopefully the gap will close a bit in time. I really dislike doing all the money stuff – doing my accounts and thinking about pensions and tax stuff. I also dislike chasing people up when they say they’re interested and then don’t get back to you again or when they haven’t paid since May and it’s now October.

Last minute cancellations is kinda a negative (at least work wise) but I just turned one that came in today into a positive by arranging a wee night out with a friend to see my niece’s band play tomorrow night. It’s nice to be able to be that flexible.

On the whole I’m enjoying being self employed right now. There are probably lots of good business ideas I could employ to make the business more successful but I’m also aware that I need to look after my health and not get too stressed about it. One day at a time. It’s getting there. 😊

(Not so) Amazing Discoveries about Myself.

I’ve discovered some new things about me. Turns out there’s still more to know, even at my age!

I’ve discovered I can eat Bombay mix out of a bowl using only my tongue. Amazing but true! 😂 Maybe I have a really long tongue?

I’ve discovered that I can make my stomach look really gross if I scrunch it up just right. Between the stretch marks and the less than toned bits and the ‘becoming more obedient’ muscles I can scrunch it up pretty good. 😁

I’ve discovered that some people (maybe those who require an eye test?) still think I look under 25. Yup, I actually got ID’d today in the supermarket. I might not have been so happy about that if I hadn’t had my driving licence with me. 😝

I’ve discovered that I hyperextend my arms when I stretch. To be honest I barely know what that means but I went to a class the other night and the instructor mentioned it. Never heard that about myself before! Maybe it’s because I love hugs. 🤗

I’ve discovered that I have issues with shame. I guess I knew this but I didn’t appreciate what it was before. I think I’ve always confused shame with guilt in the past. Now I realise that my constant battle with not feeling good enough is shame too.

I’ve discovered that my new business might actually work! I mean I always hoped it would and knew it had potential. I guess I just wasn’t sure that I could make it happen. Now I have 5 schools and a family signed up and more enquiries outstanding. (In other exciting news – I now have a logo for my business which is so cool!)

I’ve discovered that even writing these few short random paragraphs somehow helps me feel better about life. I don’t really get what that’s about but since it helps I’ll try to keep doing it.

Busy, busy, busy!

Hey guys! Sorry it’s been so long since I posted anything. Life has been pretty hectic since our return from Croatia. It’s not that I haven’t had thousands of thoughts that I wanted to blog about – I even started writing a few that never got finished – it’s just that life has taken over or I’ve engineered it that way. It’s a tricky one ’cause I like to be busy and sociable. I get bored if I don’t have much on so I’m inclined to fill every minute in my diary. The downsides of that are that I then have no ‘me time’, no processing time and I have to be careful not to use busyness as a numbing strategy ’cause I’ve done that plenty too.

Anyway I’d better fill you in on what I’ve been up to. There were a few big events lined up just after our return. Our daughter was leaving for California ten days after we got back so I was trying to help her with last minute arrangements and packing and stuff. She’s off to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry for 10 months. I’ll miss her a lot but I know this is an exciting opportunity for her and I think she was ready for a bit more independence again.

We also had our local community fun day 8 days after our return. I’m on the organising team for that so I was busy with everything from signing the licence to occupy the site at the council offices to clearing weeds from the car park and picking up dog poo before we could get set up. 😝 Thankfully despite a lot of red tape this year it turned out to be a successful day and the sun even shone for us after what had been a pretty damp week. I think we must have had around 500 people turn up across the day – not bad for a small village. My boy’s band played a slot in the music tent and my lovely girl gave up three hours of packing time to face paint less than 48 hours before leaving.

We had a friend of my son’s staying with us from Australia for a few days while all of that was going on. I’ve looked after little B every week for a while and caught up with a few friends too. I went down to my parents new house and prepped and painted their bathroom ceiling for them one day. I’ve had a few fun nights out like one with my teacher pals to escape rooms and then out for dinner. That was such a good laugh. We’ve had some nice meals with friends and a trip to the spa with one of my besties K which is always so relaxing.

This last week or so I’ve been working a bit on my business again too. I’ve got a few classes lined up (and some supply days at my old school) but I need some more confirmed. Getting work set up is one of the hardest things about being self employed. I do have a few people interested just now I just need them to confirm. Hopefully that will happen soon.

In amongst everything else I’ve finally finished Skelly’s Square (started it towards the end of my holiday but I’m a slow reader at times) an excellent debut novel by one of my fav bloggers Stephen Black of Fractured Faith Blog . Totally recommend this. It’s a great read and I can’t wait for book 2.

If you’re still with me thanks for reading. That was a bit of a whistle stop tour of the last couple of weeks. Hopefully I’ll share some more soon. 😊

Putting Myself out There

You know from a pretty young age I wanted to be a school teacher. I remember playing schools with my younger sister and my two little brothers. I remember organising a kids club when I was only 10/11 years old myself and planning and running it for a few years. I remember helping our lodger (a teacher) to create worksheets (I drew pictures on them for her) in the days before photocopiers when they used Banda machines and all the copies came out purple.

The last couple of years of high school were challenging for me for various reasons and I only managed to achieve the minimum requirements for uni to train as a teacher. At the time that was three Cs at Higher level, one of which had to be English. I did well at the interview for uni but because of my grades only managed to get a place on the waiting list for the course. In the end I didn’t get in.

As a result I needed to get a job or find something else to do for a year until I could try again. At my parents suggestion I went to volunteer for a year at a Christian healing centre in England. My tasks included cleaning toilets, washing dishes, peeling potatoes and singing in the worship group. While I was there I met the guy who became my husband the following year.

After our year out he went to Bible college and I went to work. We weren’t entitled to any support from the government at that time for his college fees so working for a while became my priority. After we’d been married two years my daughter was born and 19 months later my son. Obviously now teacher training was pretty far back in my mind. I did various part time jobs but primarily I was a stay at home mum.

When my son went to school at 5 years old I decided to try again to become a teacher but by now the entry requirements had changed and I no longer qualified. Never one to be beaten I decided to take a different route. I decided I’d get another degree first and then do a post-graduate certificate. I wanted to do something that would interest me since I was going to be at it for three years so I applied and was accepted to college to study BA Theology with a Children’s Ministry Specialism. In my third year when I was nearing the end of my degree and writing assignments and on placement (not to mention looking after two children) I looked into applying for teacher training again. This time I discovered that I needed to update my maths qualification as the one I had done at school was now ‘too old’ and no longer acceptable. So in addition to everything I was already doing I went to a different college to take a maths course.

After graduating from Bible college I finally went on to do my teaching qualification. It was hard work cramming in the study and placements and raising a family and looking after a home but with a lot of sweat and tears (literally) and lack of sleep I did it.

I’ve been teaching for thirteen years now. I love working with kids and I’ve made some great friends in the different schools I’ve worked in but there are lots of downsides and difficult parts of the job that I won’t go into just now because it’s not the point of this post. For the last two or three years I’ve been feeling like it was time to move on but wasn’t sure what I could or should do or what else I was qualified for.

Just over a year ago now I did some training to enable me to teach relaxation to children. Since then I’ve been running those classes part time in a couple of different schools and in the community when I’ve not been in my own school. About six weeks ago I took the scary step of resigning from my teaching post to focus on running my own business.

I had very mixed feelings last Wednesday when I went to school as a teacher for the final time. I was a bit emotional about leaving the children and my friends but also very excited about the future, about stretching myself and taking this leap. It made me wonder about my identity again. In the UK we tend to link our identities very closely with what we do rather than who we are. What will my identity be when I’m not a teacher? How will I tell people who I am? I felt nervous about leaving the security of a regular income for basically no financial security.

Going out on my own feels like a huge risk but it also feels life-giving. I’m so excited to be doing something that I love. To have more control over my working hours and my own days. I’m excited to get my logo made and my website going (hopefully soon). I hope it won’t be a complete flop. I hope it doesn’t become a chore. I hope I’ll make enough money to live on. It feels like it could go either way but I had to do it. I had to try. One of my favourite speakers/authors is Bob Goff and I really like this quote by him.

Don’t let what you’re afraid of keep you from what you were made for.

Sometimes you have to take a risk in order to move forward. So that’s where I’m at. Taking a risk and putting myself out there. I’ll let you know how it goes. 😊