I always expected that when my children were old enough to go to school, I would start work again. I used to be a therapist, but stopped when Twiglet was six months old. I became a stay-at-home mum and also did childminding for Niece and Nephew. I suppose this has left me with some self-image issues but maybe that’s a whole other post!
Whatever this has meant to me, it’s probably been very useful to us as a family since Pudding’s diagnosis. I can’t think there are many employers who would be understanding about the huge number of absences I would have taken over the last year or so. Even now, I would need to find a Monday-Thursday job where they don’t mind me going to Manchester every four weeks. Oh, and only during school hours in termtime. That’s unless I put the kids into more out of school provision, and I really don’t feel that would be the right decision for Pudding at the moment.
So for now, I’m continuing to do some volunteering on a Monday and stay at home with Pudding on a Friday for his enzyme replacement therapy (ERT). I blithely thought that would leave me three whole school days to finish my novel and get loads of other stuff done.
There are many SEND parents (those who have children with special educational needs and disabilities) out there who have no choice but to work outside the home, and hats off to them. I’m going to risk saying something I warned against in a previous post – I don’t know how they do it!
I don’t mean this in a ‘Oh my, they’re such amazing human beings’ kind of way. That goes without saying. All mums are – working or non-working, SEND or not. I mean it in a ‘how do they cope with all the time sponges?’ kind of way.
You know what I mean by time sponges? Those little things that should be simple but seem to take up a ridiculous amount of time. The sort of things like going to put some air in your tyres and then realising that actually there’s a great big nail in one which means you spend the next hour and a half getting it fixed.
We all deal with little frustrations like this (though I admit to a certain amount of huffing last week when the tyre fiasco happened). But when your child is a little bit…different, it seems like the time sponges just multiply.
Time sponges like a simple form that needs to be filled in that has two lines for ‘any health concerns’.
Like all the email arrangements that need to be made for our monthly trips to Manchester – travel, accommodation, who’s picking Twiglet up from school.
Like waiting on hold for an hour to request a lost Disability Living Allowance form.
Like trying to sort out electronic delivery of Pudding’s prescriptions to the pharmacy. An ‘easy service to sign up to’ that required three trips to the GP’s reception when no-one knew how to deal with his complicated medicines on the system.
Sometimes school run rolls around and I can’t believe how little I’ve managed to achieve. The thought of trying to do all this stuff on an evening when the kids are in bed or during a snatched lunch break just defeats me. I reckon the only feasible solution would be to wait for the time machine that Twiglet has promised to invent for me. Until then I’ll just have to get better at multi-tasking. I should probably be doing the cleaning while waiting on hold with someone right now.
PS. I admit it, I don’t always use my time as efficiently as I could. But sometimes a morning of hot chocolate and chat is a sanity saver…