My children are coming to the end of their second year in school and I have been trying for quite some time to find a good job that works around school hours. How to do this is a million dollar question! From talking to friends, we are all either earning way below what we should be or working way below what we are capable of, or spending the majority of our salary on childcare. My best friend says I need to get back into the real world and join everyone else in a real job, even if it means working during school holidays/outside school hours. But at the moment my kids seem to enjoy spending time with me, I’m pretty sure there aren’t many more years left when that is the case, so I’m trying to make the most of it.
I’ve thought about setting up my own business, I have dreams that I’ll become the next Hurrah for Gin or something else clever like that, I have endless lists of ideas of businesses that I never seem to quite get off the ground from eco-friendly gift wrap to childrens parties. They all sound lovely but in reality you really need a pot of cash and a lot of time/patience to set up something like that. As well as the endless interviews, I’ve also set up my own parent/toddler craft group, I’ve tried my hand at learning the ukulele and run a music group (unsuccessfully!), I’ve worked the lunch time shift in the school playground, I’ve asked every single person I know to keep an eye out for me at their work and I’ve unfortunately turned down a few perfectly good jobs (some were sadly just the wrong hours).
Gone are the days when an ex colleague, friend or friend of friend would put me in touch with an ad agency who were hiring, I’d pop along for a lovely friendly chat where we’d talk about who we know and where we’ve been and then we’d probably head out for drinks and I’d get offered the job. I now look back and realise how fortunate I was then, as I have had to sit through hours and hours of questions read off lists of paper by a panel of people, not to mention time spent shut in a room on my own with a computer and a list of ‘’tasks’’ to complete in a certain amount of time – which I generally seem to end up failing.
My Grandad recently sent me an article that Travel Lodge are advertising school hours, term-time only jobs in all areas of their business from marketing to front of house to domestic posts – sadly there wasn’t anything close to where I live, but what an amazing idea from Travel Lodge and more importantly why aren’t more brands offering this concept? Surely in this modern-tech-filled era we live in, there are ways for people to work virtually more often, to finish in time to collect their kids or to job share with someone else. What about students looking for work around university hours, could they not share with parents who want to get to the school gates? Surely there must be more solutions to this situation than just working all hours and spending half your salary on childcare.
Finally though, I have had a break-through – I am pleased to say I have managed to get a full-time, school hours, term time only job in a local school. There is minimal childcare costs involved, school holidays off and a chance to be me! I feel that for now, this is the answer to all of my problems. I’ve bought my new back-to-work handbag, notebook and pen and I’m ready, bring it on.
A Guest Blog from Cheryl Crowley
Cheryl is a mum of 2 living in Cheltenham. She constantly refers to her ‘’old life’’ where she worked in advertising and lived in exciting places such as New York, Miami and Amsterdam. She now does the school run, runs the school playground at lunchtime and cleans the house. She is, in her own words ‘living the dream’.