Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Interview

I haven’t had a lot of head space recently, what with the planned move and the pending interview.

The interview was yesterday, so I guess that’s one thing I can tick off the list.  Gotta find the positive somewhere.

It didn’t go well.

It ended up lasting 4 hours.

It started with a group discussion about a project.  The 8 of us were split into 2 groups and had to plan a budget to resolve an issue. They didn’t really care about the outcome, but we had 8 people observing us (which was weird) and they cared about how we went about resolving.

At the time, I thought it went quite well, but on reflection I think I was a bit too set in my decision.

That was my best part of the day.

The next exercise was being given a case study. I had 30 minutes to pull out the relevant information for a presentation that I had to deliver in 10 minutes.  Despite panicking at the last-minute when I’d spent too long looking at something irrelevant, that part went ok.  He told me I had raised all the relevant information. However the Q&A at the end of this went very very badly.  I panicked and started throwing terms at them because they were expecting a specific answer and for the life of me I had no idea what it was.   I could see one of the interviewers lose the will to live.

I knew when I had the answer right because he nodded and said “yes”.  I only saw him do that on one occasion though.  He didn’t look impressed or interested.

The third part of the day should have been the easiest. I had time to prepare for it, I knew I had to answer a set of competencies and I was given those competencies in advance. I had to provide an example of each one.

Inevitably though, the question was phrased in such a way that half of my prepared questions no longer fitted.  I felt a little deflated and then couldn’t get my shit together to say anything relevant.  I flapped about talking about examples that didn’t specifically meet the question.  I felt completely incompetent.

By now it was 4.45pm. I had been at the venue since 12.15pm. I was exhausted and just wanted to run away.

I drove home, numb and feeling very very stupid.  90 minutes later I was home and drinking a large glass of wine and giving my Mother in law and husband a post-mortem.

I feel even worse today.  I can’t even grasp a single good thing that came out of it.

I joked too much. I showed too much of my personality.  I floundered.

But……

At least we can start looking in our original area.  No Swindon job for me.

 

Choosing a Secondary School

Ok. Let me just start this post by saying my daughter is six.  Yes, six. She’s in Year 1, just 2 years into primary school.

However, I’m currently choosing her Secondary School.

There is a reason for this. Regular blog readers and those who visit my other blog here, know that we are about to “Escape to The Country” and this is supposed to be a more permanent move than we have ever done before, so it needs to be right for every aspect of, at least, the next 20 years.Secondary School

One of our (many) reasons for moving is that we know our chances of getting into the best secondary near us is very slim. I knew that when we moved, but we had a 5 year plan so we weren’t that bothered.  The ones within reach of us are not very good.  Of course, by not very good, I mean they have a poor Ofsted.  Pfffft.  You may have read my views on Ofsted on previous posts.

As it turned out, one of our search areas happen to have an Outstanding Ofsted and is a sought after school.  However, properties don’t pop up very often and we have had to expand our search area.  So we’ve begun trawling through loads of information about every secondary I find.

The Bad news is that it appears East Hampshire and East Berkshire have ALOT of underachieving schools!

It has got to a point where we can can only pinpoint 3 small areas (1 of them is north of Newbury, so only useful if I get the Swindon job), that fall within good/outstanding schools.  The rest (over 7 schools) have all been marked as needing improvement.

So, I’ve started to look at things other than the Ofsted. Me, of all people know what a load of baloney it can be, but when it comes to Secondary Education, I can’t JUST dismiss it as easily.

I’m looking at GCSE results.

I don’t know what else to do.

I can’t start booking in to look around these schools. MY DAUGHTER IS SIX. I’m looking at websites, googling them to see if people are saying good stuff.  I don’t really know what else to do.

I can’t completely dismiss them though, can I?  In 5 years time things could change and I’ll miss out on buying my dream house?

What would you do?

 

Why do you wear Makeup?

…asked my 6-year-old daughter.

Well, I know why I wear makeup and I’ll happily make some joke about “putting on my face” or “making sure I don’t scare small children”, but the question really did prompt a bit of a moment for me.  One I needed to work out because I need to make sure I give her the right answer without suggesting that it’s something she HAS to do.

The Truth

I started wearing makeup because my mother made me.  I know that’s a bit of a weird one, but it’s true.  While many of my friend’s parents were confiscating mascara and scraping foundation off their daughter’s faces with a flannel, my mother was putting ‘almost finished but not quite’ bits of makeup on my dresser and cajoling me to try it.

My mum mistook my lack of confidence, my introversion and my immaturity as ugliness.  Which was a bit of a shame, because years later I discovered I wasn’t ugly.  I was even quite pretty.  To her, though, I wasn’t putting on my “face”. I wasn’t pretty enough and this was the reason I wasn’t a better person.

I started wearing foundation around the age of 15 and was wearing it full-time at the age of 17.  I never wore much makeup, in fact most people thought I didn’t wear any, but therein lies the skill of a makeup wearer.

I’ve worn makeup almost every year since.  Still without people realising I wear it.  Foundation, concealer, mascara, blusher. I used to wear powder too.

I wear makeup because I don’t like what I see when I don’t wear any. These days, in the body of a 40-year-old, I do spend days when I’m at home without makeup on.  If very close friends visit, I may not put some one. I’m very conscious of it though. It’s a big deal.foundation

I wear makeup because I was told I needed to look prettier. I needed to be more attractive. Because people will only like me because I’m attractive.

I wear makeup because society says I should.  Because society says I should, I feel self-conscious if I don’t.   I wear it because it makes me feel better about myself, like I’m trying to improve myself. I guess I feel like that because that was what i was told at the beginning.

It almost makes me want to cry.

The Lie

I wear makeup because I like using it and it makes me look a little brighter in the sunshine.  You don’t need it, because you have lovely skin and you may not ever have to wear it unless you really want to.

Hmmm.  Not sure she’s going to fall for that.

What do you say to your children?

A C-section, Bottle feeding, Nursery using Working Mum

I am really bloody angry.  I’m fed up to the back teeth of people who write articles, blogs or tweets about something that they can take the moral high ground on.  Something they do/don’t do, but they know darn well others do/don’t.

  • Breastfeeding/Bottle feeding
  •  Natural Childbirth/C-sections
  •  Nursery or Childminders/Stay at home care
  •  Stay at home parents and Working parents

The Perfect Scenario – so we are told

You have a baby naturally (no drugs), you sail through breastfeeding (feed as late as possible, but not too late – there’s a whole other brigade ready to leap on you if you do), you Stay at Home until your child is in school (if you don’t do SOMETHING once they’ve started school you WILL be vilified – “What do you do all day?”), you then make sure that your work to homelife balance is just right so you can stay on everyones side.

Life doesn’t work like that.

Nor should it.

I don’t want to live in a world where everyone does the same thing.  I want to live in a world where everyone gets to do what they want to do, they have choice.  Sometimes that choice doesn’t seem like a choice at all, it’s what they have to do, but then we need to make sure that it still works, that its still safe and right.  Hey, and if you get the perfect scenario and it works for you I’m really pleased for you.  Maybe a little bit jealous.Angel Mother

I really don’t give a shit if you breastfeed or not.  I’m pro breastfeeding, I think if you can, you should. If you can’t then bottle feeding is the next best thing.  Give it a good shot. Don’t give it a good shot (especially if it’s a psychological reason), I really don’t care.

Have a baby as safely as you can.

Homebirths sound awesome to me. Could I have done it?  No way. I don’t have that much faith in myself to be able to remain calm.  Every likely situation that may go wrong will be sitting there, right in front of my head.  Wasn’t right for me.  It may be right for you.  Go for it. Gather the information, talk to people, make the decision.

Go to hospital if you like. If that will make you happy, have your lovely baby in the hospital.  Have a go without drugs?  Why not, it’s what we are designed for.

Don’t fancy the pain? Cool. Have some drugs.

Can’t deliver your baby naturally?  Gave it a good shot?  You’re in luck, we have the very best of care in hospitals.  You can have a c-section.

Want to head straight for an elective c-section?  Ooh, controversial.  You must have your reasons. You know the risks, you’ve weighed them up.  Go for it.  You just want the best for you and your baby.  Happy mother, happy baby. I get it.

I could go on.  I might.

The whole SAHM vs Working mum malarkey is starting to really piss me off.  Some people work and some people don’t.  Some people HAVE TO work. Some people don’t. Some people like working outside the home. Some people really enjoying looking after their children full time.  Some people like to mix the two of them up.  GET OVER IT!

Some of us put our children in nursery.  Some of us don’t have the choice.  Some of us are vigilant and would not bat an eyelid at having to take our children out of any situation where we think there might be any danger or where there is inappropriate care.  We are paying attention.  We just think that people should be given the choice and that choice should be safe and right.

I get that the Perfect Scenario is good.

I don’t get that variations on it are bad.

And just for the record.  Every time you post your opinion on something that you know is the opposite of what someone else does, you are putting them down.  You are making yourself feel better about your decisions by making other people feel bad. End of.

However, offering support, supporting those that make different decisions and might be struggling with that and being sympathetic to that, well that costs nothing. It’s actually quite nice.

“You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”

Bear that in mind next time.

Why Parenting is a lot like Being a Secret Agent

I’m thinking of applying to be a Secret Agent. I really do think I’ve got the necessary skills.

Highly Honed Hearing

  • I can hear a dummy drop whilst still asleep…. and by the sound of it, pinpoint exactly where to fish about for it in the dark
  • I can perceive the tiniest change of tone in my 6 year old’s voice and locate a suitable phrase within seconds to head off any drama.

Lightning speed

  • I can get a tea towel or other absorbent item in front of my child seconds before they are sick, I’m that fast!
  • I am able to get my hand under a falling glass when it is just millimetres from the ground.

Slight of hand/conjurer

  • I have mastered the task of presenting a banana or snack bar that HAD been broken as if it had NEVER been broken.  Taa Daa.
  • The ability to remove toys from the house by means of what I call “The Shawshank” method.

Being Multilingual

  • As proficient as speaking Octonauts as I am at speaking Barbie
  • Able to have a normal English adult conversation about house prices on one side of the dinner table whilst continuing a toddler angled one on the other related to peas, broccoli and the negotiation of chocolate buttons.

Drinking a dry Martini

  • Well, actually no.   Just hand me a glass of Rosé.  . Quickly!
Secret Agent T40YO

Secret Agent T40YO

As always I am grateful for having an audience at all that regularly read my blog and give me such lovely feedback but it’s always nice to get further recognition.  If you enjoy reading my blog and fancy nominating me for a MAD award 2014 (in the category of Most Entertaining Blog), then you can do so here www.the-mads.com/awards/ If you don’t….I still love you all. X