Thursday, 29 November 2012

Backdoor shenanigans

Well the title might be slightly misleading but it might get me some google hits.

Guess which eejjit didn't close the back door then rang the police saying they'd been burgled this week. That's right. Me. D'oh.

In my defence it did look like our TV might have gone when I looked through the front window. And when I
 got there I was on my own with the baby and none of my neighbours were in to help me check the house. One of them got back after about 10 mins and stood outside and waited while I checked. So I phoned the police back and told them I was a moron but they still wanted to come round and check that I was a moron.

AND I couldn't find my handbag for while yesterday, and I was really pleased because I thought that meant I was right and someone had been in after all. Then I found it and was all pissed off.

The police were very nice about it, and I am being told if I had gone into a house full of burglars with the baby I would have been being stupid.

However I am feeling extremely embarrassed.  And will be thoroughly checking the back door from now on.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Officially part time

I am now officially going to be returning to work 3 days a week in the New Year.

I was convinced I wouldn't be.  Things didn't seem to be boding well last night.  First of all a certain young man decided he had no intention of sleeping and was bouncing off the wall from 11pm to 3am. I tried everything, Waybuloo's on I-Player, got out the big guns with Brahms and Mozart.  Nothing worked.  Eventually at quarter to 3 I hit on the bright idea of Calpol and he went off shortly afterwards so I am assuming that his teeth were at him.

So finally I'm thinking I can get at least 6 hours sleep with any luck.  Wrong.

4am loud banging noises in the back garden, sounds like somebody is trying to access one of the back sheds and I doubt any of my neighbours were up for a bit of midnight gardening.  At this point I'm just lying there thinking 'I don't care, just take the lawnmower, Mr Skint hardly bothers to use it anyway'.  Cue much tumbling downstairs next door and much shouting.  My neighbours a big bloke, he can deal with it.   Back to sleep.

5am Mr Skint is up banging around though he does need to work so I can't moan. But I'm still awake.

6am next door decides to start blowdrying her hair, we have thin walls in these little terraces.

7am other neighbour gets the hoover out for some bizarre reason.

8am my mother rings to 'make sure I'm up nice and early for my meeting'.  Thanks Mum.  This has woken up SJ as well so there is no chance of any more sleep.  Think I had 40 minutes all night total and a hugely important meeting today.  Dosed myself up on coffee and set off hoping for the best.

With these inauspicious starts I was expecting a big battle, trying to think up lucid arguments for reasons why 3 days a week would be reasonable and workable which I've been going over since August but in my sleep deprived state I was finding it hard to recall them or at least get them into any kind of lucid logical order.  'At least' I thought, 'this will give me something to right about in my blog',  A decent narrative and a sense of burning injustice at how working mothers are treated by the business world could give a few decent blogs as could a job search.

Well unfortunately for my blog but fortunately for everything else I walked into the meeting and was told that everything I'd asked for was fine and when would I like to come back?  I'm  also going to get two nice holiday payments as though I'm still full time.

Why isn't everything always this easy?  So from a terrible start to the day I am now feeling incredibly positive and have got the best news I could have hoped for out of  the day.  After a tough week last week things are looking up.  What I'm going to right in my blog now I don't know. But perhaps a better dilemma to have.

Monday, 19 November 2012

It is my very important meeting tomorrow about flexible work at 11am.  

It is 1am.  I am awake with a little tiny baby who despite the best efforts of Waybalus, Brahms and Mozart is  still bloody awake.  Aargh!

Friday, 16 November 2012

This was supposed to be a light hearted blog...

....bust so much serious stuff has happened.

So finally, almost 3 months after submitting it I have the meeting for my flexible work request set up next Tuesday.  I am going and taking the baby with me to sit with one of my team mates for half an hour.  I am hopeful they will let me go down to 3 days a week, after all it's only an admin job.  But I'm unsure if they will, who knows what the politics of work are behind the scenes.

But the problem is that if they insist I work 5 days, as well as not wanting to leave my son, I will effectively be paid nothing for the extra two days I work when you factor in childcare costs and lost tax credits.  Who'd want to work two extra days for nothing?  If they insist I don't think I'll go back.  I wouldn't have to have my arm twisted too much to be honest, the job is boring and I'd love to do something more interesting in a sector which was more rewarding like education or health like I used to, but with the cuts this might be impossible as not much is available, although I have applied for a fixed term job at the University I used to work at just in case.  I just can't motivate myself with sales.

My supervisor has just gone back after her leave too and our work have not been too helpful.  They've refused to allow 30 minute lunches to shorten our day and have refused 'official' working hours to go after 5.30pm.  I say official because I suspect that both the 1hr lunch break rule and the 'official hours end at 5.30pm' rule are because they know that they get free work out of people in the last half of their lunch and by them staying late.  I think it's a reluctance to start paying people for things they'd get for free anyway, and I suppose if they gave it to one person they'd have to give it to everybody.   I'm travelling to the nursery and back on public transport and haven't managed to find one particularly close to either my home, work or tram stop so I'm really going to struggle to fit in dropping the baby off, travel to work, work, 1 hr lunch, work, travel pick up baby into the space between 8-6.

Not sure what's happened to this blog, it was supposed to be light hearted look at the things I did with my baby to have fun without much money but it just so happens over the last few days it's all been about the 'not much money' part and very little about the 'fun' part.

Have to remember that ultimately it's all worth it, my little boy is the most amazing thing ever and I love every moment of being a mother.  After trying for him for so many years I know how many people long for the chance to be a mother and don't get it so I feel privileged every moment that I am one.   I was very proud of my little dude today, he's 8 months and he's decided his current mission is becoming a standy uppy baby.  I'm amazed by the way they build up to doing these things, it's like watching someone do a constant gym work out, the motivation and determination is just astounding.  If I could nick a bit myself this baby fat would be gone in no time at all!

So, plans for this weekend are to have some fun and find something funny to write about.  I am thinking some hand printing activities to make hand prints for Gran and Great Gran.  Should be fun... and messy....and Lord knows I need some fun after the week I've had!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

So, I have started to apply for new jobs.

As I mentioned in my last post my work are not getting back to me about a flexible work request I submitted in August.  Well they did get back to me with a meeting date on the 22nd of November, then cancelled it and have not got back to me.  Considering my leave is due to turn into annual leave on the 14th of December this is cutting it really, really fine.  Although I'm not due to go back until late Jan after my leave.  I really don't want to go back five days a week, I couldn't imagine being away from Skint Junior for that amount of time each week.

So today I have started applying for new part-time jobs, specifically one doing senior admin at the University which I used to work at.  I loved it there, I loved the purpose of working towards peoples education.  The job I'm in at the moment is mainly concerned with I.T. sales.  And it's boring.  Oh so boring.  Quite like working with the geeks though, they're a lot of fun, particularly on works nights out.  But really I don't come home with an overwhelming sense of satisfaction because I have administered the sale of two software servicing contracts, I really don't.

And although the money is similar it would mean losing my bonus.  Which I don't always get and wouldn't be that big if I was part-time.

And really I'm not that motivated by money, perhaps this is why I'm skint?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Today we sat down for a serious conversation.

So last week my mother found a letter stuffed under a sofa seat which said that my husband had a CCJ.  This has prompted the 'serious conversation' of sitting down with the husband to discuss exactly which debts he has.

It's around £7100.00 all told that we have to worry about.  My folks have offered £2k towards them. So we've had to sit down and decide which debt to pay it against.  The repayments are quite high, about £80 a week and hopefully this will reduce them by £25 which is quite a lot of money to us.

This has been stressful, just discussing the debts - even though it is with potential to pay part back, just the thought of the debt makes every sinew tighten and my hackles rise.  Although it may not sound a lot we're not on a big income so it's an awful, awful amount of money to us, particularly when our outgoings and incomings are very similar with little room to economise.  These are also debts which have already been through the court process so any default could lead straight to bailiffs at our door.

It wouldn't be too bad but we are in a very uncertain situation at the moment with my work as they are messing me about with my flexible working request.  I put the request in August and didn't hear anything back until recently when they arranged a meeting for the 22nd November but now even that has been cancelled. I'm supposed to be finishing mat leave and going onto annual leave next month with a return in January next year.

However if they turn down my request which was for a 3 day working week I don't think I could bear to go back and leave the baby I have tried for 10 years for in a nursery 5 days a week and just see him at weekends.  This does raise the spectre that if I am not working for a while we may end up in a situation where we can't meet the payments and I hate to think of what would happen if we defaulted.

Anyway, trying to be positive and apply for some part time jobs, perhaps in something more rewarding than the job I have at the moment.

All this and it's poor Mr Skint's birthday today. It has not been particularly festive.

Such is being a skint Mum, but onwards and upwards, we will get through this, a lot less upbeat than yesterday though.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Sometimes I feel like a scummy mummy

I have been out today.  Softplay.  The council estate of baby activities.  In fairness it is not bad value, £2.00 for a coffee and biscuit which includes a song and signing session with babies and a play on the softplay bit which Skint Junior loves.

And it's an excuse for us to eat junk. Yes I know I shouldn't.  But we like it. And my excuse is that it's good for his motor skills.  Giving a baby cucumber sticks is all very well and good, but if you really want him building up some speed and working out how to agilely move his hand at a rapid speed from plate to mouth chips is the only way forward.  People who stick to carrots will still have their babies poking themselves in the eye with sticks months after clever little chip monsters have worked our where their gob is and the most efficient way to shovel fries into it at top speed. It's all about incentive innit.

Then he had a banana.  And we felt smug.

One of the mums I met up with had organised four little plastic pots which she takes everywhere with her always topped up with breadsticks, cucumber, tomatoes and plum.  We felt less smug and more scummy.

In fact the moment she whipped them out I was cack handedly trying to sort out a bottle of formula.  The ring of the bottle went flying across the floor, of course I couldn't find it so she had to point it out for me.  So she knew it had been on the floor.  And Skint Junior REALLY wanted that bottle.  So I'm left with a choice between a screaming unhappy thirsty baby or blatantly bunging a bottle which has had parts which have recently been sitting on a floor in a public area in my baby's gob.  I rubbed it on my jumper, muttered something about it being good for his immune system and went for it. He has not as yet shown any ill effects.

I have today picked out a birthday present for Mr Skint with that facility beloved of Skint Mums everywhere of credit.  This is usually A VERY BAD THING but I figure we have Christmas coming and I can use some of the present money to pay it off.  I've bought him a lovely t-shirt from Next.  Well it's quite lovely. It's alright. I hope he won't use it as a dishcloth.  And a jumper which I quite like but he probably won't wear.  I have inserted pictures so you can giggle at my poor taste/feel sorry for Mr Skint.

So I've come home, fed SJ something healthy and homemade from the Annabel Karmel book.  He ate nearly all of it and now the cat is finishing it off. (Separately from the baby, even I draw the line at cat/baby eating from a bowl at the same time).  I find the Annabel Karmel stuff is quite good because you can make loads of it and freeze so it works out quite economical but that's another blog.  Perhaps I will witter on about that tomorrow.  But there I do feed him some healthy stuff, perhaps I am not so scummy after all.

And I've watched Coronation Street and got quite angry about Marcus who is gay suddenly not being gay any more and being in love with Maria. I didn't think it' worked like that. Charlie Condou, who plays Marcus is a veteran gay campaigner and I'm rather surprised he agreed to do a story line like this.  It rather implies being gay is temporary or something that can be changed or 'cured' in a way which I'm not sure I feel comfortable with.

HA! There I had a left wing liberal political thought, even though I feed my baby chips that must make me a good person and not at all scummy.

And now I am off to eat some vegetable based .slop from a recipe of of Weight Watchers website. Again, healthy and unscummy, whilst also being a relatively cheap one to do consisting mostly of a can of beans, tomatoes and mushrooms and some spices to actually make it taste of something approaching pleasant.

But there is my day in a nutshell, I've even managed to convince myself I am not that scummy though any readers may disagree. In fact in honour of my non-scummyness I may share a Petit Filous with Skint Junior.  See, even got some French education in there, definitely not a scummy mummy at all.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

So this is my first blog - a bit about me and what I'm trying to write about.  I am, as the title suggests, a skint mum.  Working family, Dad does 50 hour weeks and I'm currently on maternity leave but still skint, debts need paying, everything is expensive.  I'm sure you know the score.

Yet I'm living in a world where all us mothers are supposed to be Boden wearing, Cath Kidston designed, yoga bending yummy mummies.  I wish.  I'm smart enough to know what the ideal is but far, far away from being financially able to achieve it - I know what it's like to be snubbed at baby massage class because I'm a bit too Primark for some people's taste anyway (shame, this actually happened). So rather than the ideal I have to confess I am a Primark wearing, Wilko's designed, chubby puke stained bleurgh of a mummy.

So this me, trying to eke a good enough life out of very little for me and my family whilst along the way trying to avoid too many pitfalls with work, childcare and general parenting with very little money.