This is only the fifth week of term since the kids went back after Easter but it's the third time they've had a holiday Monday. As an added bonus, they've also got Tuesday and Wednesday off this week as well. Since they never have school on a Friday afternoon normally, it hardly seems worth getting their uniforms dirty for the number of hours of lessons that remain. They might as well have the whole week off and be done with it.
Suddenly the question of what I'm going to do with myself once Marie is in full-time education feels less pressing. Yeah, there'll be plenty of weeks I'll have twenty-five hours or so to fill but there'll also be plenty where finding a spare twenty-five minutes will be tricky. I should perhaps worry less than I have been about what the future holds - I'll still have ample childcare duties to occupy me for a while yet.
Nonetheless my life is changing. Maybe now is the time to focus on the positives of the situation. My kids getting older may make my role in life uncertain but there will also be opportunities. If nothing else, I'll get to have a little sit down. Then I can start to plan my next career move.
Obviously, I could hire myself out as some kind of Super Manny but it's only faith, hope and love which have got me through some of the more tiring and stickier moments with my own children. I'm not sure money would be enough to endure other people's kids. I really need to think how I can apply my current skill-set to different jobs. Here are the options I've thought of so far:
International Negotiator: Looking after small children can be a constant battle to keep everyone happy despite them all having contradictory desires which are also frequently physically impossible and/or messy. It's like trying to spin plates which are piled with custard. With nearly a decade of experience behind me, however, I now feel ready to organise worldwide nuclear disarmament. (I'm not quite sure how Gordon Brown and Vladimir Putin are going to react to being sent to their rooms without computer games, though.)
Fireman: A few trips to the gym to get fit and this should be a doddle. I regularly get practice running up and down stairs searching for the source of some yelling while smoke wafts from the kitchen.
Primary teacher: Ha, ha, just kidding - anything but that...
Journalist: I don't actually have any housedad-related skills relevant to this career but as long as I managed to somehow make every other story about the credit crunch or MPs' expenses, I'd be onto a winner.
Doctor: It turns out that most things can be rubbed better. Most other things will go away by themselves after a few days... except head lice - if you see them, it means weeks of shampooing and combing. My professional advice is that you save time in advance by shaving your entire family bald immediately. (I have.)
Gardener: This job requires patience, involves lots of dirt and is liable to lead to a bad back. On the plus side, plants don't squabble or give smart answers and they generally stay where you put them. This is a step up from my current employment.
Global Financier: Hey, how hard can it be...?
Student: Ah, yes, getting to stay up all night and then lie around on the sofa all day in an exhausted daze while watching the Teletubbies and being broke. Sound familiar?
Cleaner: From regurgitated spinach to sun-baked plasticine, I've had to deal with it all during my time as a housedad. There's no mess I can't remove, disguise or hide under a pot plant. (Although I'm not saying it hasn't taken its toll on my sanity. When I first typed that sentence, it came out as, 'From regurgitated spinach to sun-baked plasticine, I've had to deal with it all during my time as a pot plant. There's no mess I can't remove, disguise or hide under a housedad.')
Hmmm... Maybe I need to think about this a little more. Any other ideas?
Yours in a woman's world,