We’re on the cusp of being able to start the new new normal. Almost six months after starting the new normal. LO is due to start school in nine days’ time, and only has three days left in preschool. We’ve finally(!) heard that wraparound care is available, it’s booked and paid for for the first month, so I have been able to go ahead with plans for work. Even though that could well change depending on local virus rates and lockdowns, so I do have two other backup plans for work as well! Oh, and two kids in preschool went down with chickenpox last week, so, of course, it’s entirely possible that my plans will be scuppered by something that isn’t Coronavirus!
It’s nearly eight years since I first went part-time, when I switched job to a well-paid job that was closer to home and also happened to be a 0.6 FTE contract. Looking back, I made a few mistakes initially – I should probably have taken more time to adjust to the new situation instead of taking on several volunteer commitments early on. Most of those were dropped when I had LO, as I no longer had time to do them, and the rest were paused when we went into lockdown and all of my free time vanished. Now, I should be going back to having two “free” days a week when LO is at school. For ages I’ve had a few ideas about what I wanted to do, one of the big things was doing more exercise as it’s been hard to get much of that done with LO around. I was intending to go swimming once a week and join a Pilates class. However, I don’t really fancy doing either of those yet, so I may just stick with walking and try and find an online Pilates class to join!
I’m rather proud of myself for already saying “no” to one possible volunteering thing – I actually said I’d review it and think about doing it from next Easter onwards! To fit in with my new team at work (I’ve already been restructured twice this year and another one is looming) I’m switching my work days from Mon-Wed to Wed-Fri once LO is settled in at school, so I want some time to work out how the new structure of the week will pan out. And what my new commute and school drop off and pick up will be like.
One of the big changes is that LO will no longer get all of her meals, three days a week, in childcare. The school wraparound care provides breakfast, and an after school snack, and she will have school dinners (which are free for the first three years at school in England), but she’ll have to have her evening meal at home. The timing is really tight on my work days as we will probably get home at about 6pm, and she needs to be heading up to bed for 7pm, especially as she’ll be tired with starting school. As she’ll have had a hot meal at lunchtime (thankfully, her new school isn’t one of the ones that is only providing packed lunches because of social distancing difficulties this term) I’m thinking about just making a packed meal type thing ready to get out of the fridge as soon as we get through the door. I have a few ideas for this, but will be looking around for other sources of inspiration too!
A year ago I was starting a teaching qualification, which I completed during lockdown (my last teaching observation was two weeks before lockdown, so I’ve been pretty luck with the timing!) and I’m now awaiting the results! Early on in lockdown I reviewed my CV and job/career because of the possibility of redundancy (my job is fine at the moment, but who knows whether that will carry on in the future?) and I’ve just started work on another qualification too, which will helpfully ensure I can tick a few more of the essential criteria if/when I need to apply for another job. This one is fairly flexible – I’m aiming to submit at the end of March, and I’m planning to get the bulk of the work out of the way by Christmas.
I’m also hoping to spend more time reading my book backlog, and treating the first term of the new new normal like a mini sabbatical. Fingers crossed, anyway!