It’s 1am and I fumble into bed berating myself. Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result and I KNOW there’s a high chance of too much grumpiness for the good of anyone tomorrow (this?) morning.

Settling under the covers, I refresh my social media feeds one more time in case something really important has just happened at 1am on a Tuesday night — three minutes and 37 seconds after the last time I checked.

The Mr snorts and rolls over. A reminder that I definitely should be sleeping. He’ll be up in four and a half hours and another day will commence in which we only see each other unconscious.

How much sleep am I going to get? I weigh up the odds of both children sleeping through the night. My calculations say a reasonable six hours — they both ate a lot of pasta and did plenty of running around today so they should be good for 7am. But then I remember sneezes and beginnings of a runny nose… or was that yesterday?

Congratulating myself on my improving levels of impulse control, I reach past my phone on the bedside table and turn off the light. My hand retreats towards the warmth under the duvet until an involuntary twitch takes over, picks up the phone and presses unlockunlockunlockUNLOCKFFS!!!

Goddammit, I have no restraint! He’s right, I’m addicted.

Sleep.

Like a gender-bending, taller, more hairy Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back (and casting Digital Mums as my Yoda) I am halfway through my training to be a (social-media) Jedi.

A teacher for 12 years, I’m used to working late into the night, at weekends and during the famed holidays. I miss teaching — the kids, the Dunkerque spirit, being good at something measurable and my trusty steed The Moral High Horse, because what I was doing mattered <roll your eyes, please>.

I don’t, however, miss having to smile and nod while behind exhausted eyes I screamed, “TEACHERS NEED THE HOLIDAYS OTHERWISE THEY WOULD ALL BE DEAD”, because everyone has been to school, so everyone has an opinion.

The fact is there is nowt as obscenely inaccurate as the saying, Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach — because teaching is effing hard.

Ever tried to socialise with a teacher during the week, during term time? Chances are they’re high on anti-congestant, as a mutation of mega-virus does the rounds. Ask them to even have one glass of wine and be prepared to be apologetically knocked back. They quake at the risk of even the mildest wine-flu when their audience can sense weakness through clouds of cherry Impulse and Lynx Excite from five rows back.

Working in an inner-London comprehensive school was brilliant, fulfilling and gratitude-inducing. It was also exhausting and all-consuming and when family circumstances meant that I was losing nearly five hours a day of time I would previously have spent working, the need to put my children first became heartbreakingly clear.

I couldn’t do anything well. I couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t continue. But I’m now discovering that while those days are behind me, far from institutionalising me, they were the perfect preparation for what comes next.

Like a gender-bending, taller, more hairy Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back (and casting Digital Mums as my Yoda) I am halfway through my training to be a (social-media) Jedi.

What if I spend valuable time crafting a proposal only for the work to never materialise? What if there is no work? What. If. I’m. SHIT?

My new ‘baby’ sucks me dry of time, then sleeps all day when my actual babies takeover. But unlike the empty husk left behind by Count Dracula/a newborn, this blood/milk-lust has resulted in a rebirth, an opportunity.

There are, however, going to be complications.

My lack of formal childcare is already an issue. Spinning plates occasionally smash into barely controlled juggling balls, which then bounce off the nearest small person sending a gazillion pieces spinning all over the place. I’m then tossing in some flaming batons and a marching band to keep time to. Should be interesting.

And I know I’m likely to get frustrated and resentful when my work sits in fifth place behind the children’s needs, the Mr, his work and running the house. But at least it still sits in front of “me” in the list of priorities. And that’s ok, right…?

I once typed an entire Skype conversation with a friend because the sound “wasn’t working”. I had my iPad on mute. Being operational in the digital world is going to test my tech-savvy-ness way past its breaking point.

I torment myself with a whole list of what ifs — What if people don’t pay on time or at all? What if I spend valuable time crafting a proposal only for the work to never materialise? What if there is no work?

What. If. I’m. SHIT?

I’ll be setting the kind of example I want for my children — that mummy works too; that in hard work lies fulfilment; that it is possible and important to feel the fear and do it anyway.

These potential new “experiences” evoke a nervous, apprehensive energy rather than heart-dropping despondency. Of course I’m looking at this freelancing landscape from the other side of the fence where the grass is brown, dry, down-trodden and defeated — but I am excited.

I’m not going to earn what I could by going back to teaching, but I believe I’m buying into a lifestyle package that is worth much more than money.

I will earn enough to take the pressure off.

I will be able to contribute financially to our household — something that is (rightly/wrongly/who cares) important to me.

I’ll be able to be the kind of mother I want to be — available for hospital appointments with my son; school open mornings with my daughter; pick-ups, drop-offs and the myriad of other “things” that require booking a day off, checking with someone else first, making excuses and apologies, or pleadingly committing to logging on later (when we all know I’d be doing that anyway).

I’ll be setting the kind of example I want for my children — that mummy works too; that in hard work lies fulfilment; that it is possible and important to feel the fear and do it anyway.

I am so grateful to the Mr for making this possible; to my children for making me question our status-quo and pushing me onto new and fertile ground; and to my previous life for preparing me for working late into the evening, in scraps of time, in return for all this “fun”. Because unlike then — when the expectation was for every waking hour to be dedicated to someone else’s children — I’ll now be able to prioritise mine.

So, feel my deep breath with me,  because here goes.

On your marks, get set…

Oh shit.

Photograph by Nicola Washington.

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