I have been off sick today. It's just a cold really - you know the type, the ones that make your head feel like it's stuffed with jelly, and ready to explode, your legs feel like they will collapse under you every time you put any weight on them, and your temperature alternate between hot sweats and cold shivers.... Too ill to mangae a commute in gale force winds and 8 hours of concentration, but not really ill enough to not feel guilty about it:-)
Anyway, it has forced me into making a decision. I don't think it would have been much of a poblem if I wasn't already so run down, and watching Aggie going about his daily chores has made me realise that I am never going to be satisfied with the situation as it is, and trying to do it all is just going to make me miserable. So when I go back to work (probably on Wednesday) I am going to have meeting with my personnel officer and ask if I can drop down to three days a week.
I expect I will lose the job, as I know the company does not like part time support staff (it's OK for lawyers apparently, which is how they got such a good reputation and all the quality mark awards etc). I suppose I could fight it under DDA because Aggie & Mstr A count as disabled, or even under standard employment law because LMB and LMD are under 5 and both of those give me the right to flexible working unless the company can give good business reasons why it would ruin them (which I think they would have difficulty in making a good case for) but it's not really worth it. It's not as though I adore my work, have decades of continous service to maintain or care that it might ruin my "career".
But if I lose this job, I may well have a long wait to find a suitable job locally. There are alot of people who want part time work, and not a lot of jobs available. if I work part time I can not get the same kind of child care funding, so I need to earn more per hour to not make a loss which cuts out most of the jobs that are available. And so the chances are, I will end up being non-employed, scrounging off the government. Does this make me a bad person?
I will be looking after three kids, one not at school yet, and one disabled, and a disabled husband. And we're well down the road of becoming foster parents again (having started 5 years ago, then discovered I was pregnant with LMB, then LMD!), so hopefully will be looking after some other kids in the summer. But I feel that I sould be doing something "proper". I feel that I will be cheating somehow. Rationally it is sensible, but I don't know if I want to be one of the non-working underclass.
But then again, I really don't want to be an absent parent. I had kids with every intention of bringing them up myself, and I've always thought it is horrible for both the kids and the parents whose days consist of beakfast club, followed by school, followed by after school club, followed by bed, with weekends taken up with housework/shopping etc and school holidays just a different type of schooling. I want my kids to grow up doing things with me, and to have memories of being a family! And I want them to be able to bring friends round to play, and to learn different activities, and at them moment that is not possible. Aggie can not physically do the things that I can, and especially with Mstr A, being able to do things too is the only way they will get to do them!
I am going to continue with my studies, and hope for a part time local job, but I know I am not getting any younger, and I can not guarantee I will ever have a career again. And I don't like that in theroy, but in practise, I think I will be much happier. So here's to yet another new phase of my life.......
Labels: caring, disability, family, fostering, juggling, work