Firstly, an apology for going AWOL over Christmas and New Year… just when everybody needed party dresses and sale bargains. I am a bad blogger and I am sorry 🙁
Over Christmas I took redundancy from my “real job”. We also moved house. Not optimum timing really, especially when I decided to combine the two with a bit of a meltdown.
Unemployment has been a long time coming – I have been trying to get back to work fully since I developed a back problem in pregnancy and recovery has just taken too long. I’ve improved a lot from where I was, but I am now waiting for more diagnostic tests, and at least one more operation. My daughter is now 2.5, I’ve already waited nearly 6 months for these latest diagnostics, and it will be another long wait for the op so the path to recovery is likely to stretch on. In the meantime, my chance of finding fulfilling work flexible enough to allow that recovery with a new company who doesn’t know my abilities seems minimal.
It’s taking a lot of getting used to. I’m unemployed for the first time in my life, and am trying to come to terms with the fact that I may not be able to return to work as a retail buyer – the career that I love. I think that if I was giving that up to be a stay at home mum, or for part time work that gave me a better work-life balance, I’d be handling it better. But at the moment the future is uncertain and I’m scared.
The people in the benefits office don’t really help your confidence – on finally ringing up to ask about job seekers allowances and NI stamps, I was told that realistically I’d be better off applying for ESA (sick pay for the unemployed) until I’ve had my operation. Last time I went to the job centre, there was a guy drinking Special Brew while he waited for his appointment. If they think he’s employable and I’m not, things are not looking good!
We need my income. Or a significant part of it. So if I can’t find regular work, I need to find other ways of earning my crust. I will clip coupons and do focus groups and surveys. I will use my “transferrable skills” doing freelance admin and CV writing (ironically, I am very good at writing CVs for mums and those who have been out of the workforce…), take on craft projects and rebuild my Etsy account…. most of all, if it is to continue, I am going to have to bite the bullet and make MilkChic actually fund itself.
MilkChic has always been profit-making in theory, but it was set up as a maternity leave project which I could do in fits and starts as I felt up to it. On paper, the tiny profit it makes through advertising and commission has never justified the time, but it has given me a sense of purpose and identity when I’ve been low, and made me part of a community of mums and business women whose humour and support make me proud to be female. It is something very close to my heart and I am scared of making changes.
But change is a good thing and if I take this opportunity to ring the changes, and am able to justify the hours I spend on it, then MilkChic will be sustainable long term as a resource for breastfeeding mums. Who knows? I might eventually offer myself a fulfilling, flexible job that pays just enough to support my family…!
I don’t want to alienate the people who have always been so supportive of MilkChic by going all corporate and money-grabbing. So I’m trying to keep things as transparent as possible about the changes by blogging about “behind-the-scenes MilkChic” at Busting Out Mummy.
Happy New Year! This one’s going to be a good one!