An interesting opportunity has appeared. A chance to apply for some short term consultancy work that would be interesting, very useful on my CV, relevant to my own studies, fits into our time scale and pays pretty well. In fact that rare sort of job that ticks every single box.
In the pre-children era I would have been thrilled. I'd have been chomping at the bit, frothing with excitement and desperate to get the job. But today I'm not so gung ho. It would be full time for a few weeks, so the boys would have to go to nursery all day rather than just the mornings. It involves three weeks of being away from home Monday to Friday. Dave has said that he will do the childcare, I am indeed married to a saint, but it is a big ask from me - I'd not be all that happy if he trotted off for that length of time leaving me on my tod. I'd have to miss Luke's 3rd birthday and am having internal debates with myself whether it would be wrong to just move his birthday a few days so it falls on a Saturday rather than a Thursday.
These are all issues often faced by working mothers, and the to work not to work debate seldom seems out of the headlines. Kirsty Young's article in the Telegraph has attracted the most ire recently, but Liz at Living With Kids, Plan B, Blooming Marvelous and Used to be Somebody often muse about the issues of working vs not working and how to achieve some form of balance. It isn't my intention to add to that particular debate here.
What I do want to talk about is a slightly different issue. It's been five years or so since I had a job where someone paid me to do something for them. Since then I have been doing my own research for my studies, but that is all on my own time, effectively for myself and to my own deadlines (although my supervisor may choose to dispute that one). I could be quite flippant and talk about how I'm worried that if I worked in an office now I might try to send colleagues that disagree with me to the naughty step, or how I might hoist anyone foolish enough to raise two hands in the air at the same time onto my hip and wipe their nose for good measure. But the reality is that now I'm being confronted with the possibility that I might have someone paying me to complete some work, I'm scared. I don't know why. The job is well within my capacity. I can do it, not in my sleep for it is more interesting than that, but I have done very similar before. Somewhere in the past couple of years I have lost my confidence in myself outside my role of mother. If truth be known I don't have that much confidence in my role as mother either, but that is best left for a blog post another time.
Pre-babies I had a career. A good one, lots of repsonsibility and decision making. I have degrees (multiple) from excellent Universities. I am doing a PhD for Chrissake! I know that I am totally capable of doing a job. But I do know that most jobs are a confidence trick. Go into them thinking that you can do them and you usually can. Now my confidence is lost, abandoned somewhere between the odd nappy mountain and Annabel Karmel mush making and I am really worried that I won't be able to do a job worth doing anymore.
A big part of me is keen not to go for it, but to take away a warm fuzzy feeling of being asked to apply and then say thanks but no thanks. Childcare and birthdays missed aside, we have a lot to do before we leave in April, without me being pretty much absent for six weeks of that. It would be nice to really enjoy our last few months here, rather than have them whirl past in a manic haze of trying to stay on top of things. But the other part of me is going 'stop being such a wuss! Get your act together and apply for it! It is a fantastic opportunity for you, you won't get another like it'.
After quite a bit of faffing, I did apply for the job (they did ask me to after all). I should hear whether I get it next week. I feel like I'm waiting for the executioners axe to fall.