Friday, 18 September 2015

The week that was...

This week's been a really strange one. I've had major blogging doubts - should I continue, will I keep the shop going, do I want to share so much of my life online, should I find a 'proper' job ??? - all these questions have been firing in my head for the past few days and I'm not sure what triggered it. It's possibly the fact that it's September, the weather doesn't know what to do, my wardrobe is an awkward mixture of sandals and chunky knitwear and I'm on a spending ban until Boston. Or could it be a sort of 7-year itch?

Blogging is amazing and it's my space and I kind of get to work for myself but the reality is the pay is rubbish and it could never be a full time job with a proper salary for me. It was lovely to have as a sideline while the kids had a nap and I was squeezing in an hour or two here or there but I don't want to do it all day, every day, now they're all at school.

Get a 'proper' job is the loudest voice in my head right now. I wonder if just like the voice in my head that told me to be at home for the kids 7 years ago, is there also a voice for when you don't need to be ever present in the home anymore? I love the time I spend on here and I'd never give it up. Don't worry - I'm definitely keeping this baby going but I feel the need to do something else.

So what's a girl to do? All the questions....no answers yet though as is always the case with blogging, sometimes writing it down gives a bit of clarity. Please let me know if you are, or have been in a similar space with your life - especially if you took the leap of going back to your career after a long break. Am I mad to go back into a challenging role and the long hours and politics that come with that?

Finishing up with this week's outfits....Monday and Tuesday were gym gear days as I start the slog of getting back to fitness again. Wednesday was the first really chilly morning so I got the leopard out..
Boiled Wool Coat - Esprit (past season - similar here & here)
Cream Laura Top - ℅ Hush (size 12)
Jeans - F&F at Tesco (past season)
Eloise Charcoal Ankle Boots - ℅ Seven Boot Lane (with 15% off using SGS15)

Thursday it was all the greys..
Textured Biker Jacket - Next Clearance (some 10's & 12's left online - mine's a 10 - you need to scroll to find it as I'm not able to put a direct link up)
Jeans - 2nd Day (past season)
White Top - Heatons (past season)
Boots - as before

Today - I'm working a bit of camo
Denim Jacket - Vero Moda (via eBay)
Black Top - Next
Culottes - ASOS (now £8.50! Mine are a size 12)
Black Leather Slip-On Trainers - Dune (past season - similar here & here)
Scarf - SGS Shop

Hope you have a lovely weekend everyone. I'm off to think some more :)

Ax

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40 comments

  1. I totally understand where you are coming from Avril. I have been blogging a year now and feel unless you are stuck to a seat 24/7 at your pc the prosperity level is low.You however have gained your followers, and I'm sure they will remain loyal. Why not try a little of both?
    Laurie x

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    1. Hi Laurie...you are so right. Blogging income is directly linked to the number of hours you spend on it and I'm just not able to spend that time. However, I know I am so fortunate to have a great group of followers and I will keep up a bit of both like you suggest. Feeling a bit more positive this week about being able to juggle a bit more beneficially. Thank you for that xx

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  2. It's a difficult one and everyone's circumstances are different, for me work has always been a place where I feel like me and not only a Mum. I now work full time but my kids are 16 and 17 but it was nice to have a balance of work and time with the family when I worked part-time. I'd love to blog but in reality I don't have time to and work and feed the youths at home! Good luck with your decision, for what it's worth I love your bligs and will continue to be a fan xx

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    1. Hi Sue - I think you're right...it's that having a place when I can be me, and not just mum. The more I'm thinking about it, the more I feel the need to just get out of the house to work. But yes - a balance would be ideal so part-time would be brilliant. Thanks for sharing your experience Sue and for all your support of the blog right from the start xx

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  3. After the birth of my second, I went back to work. It was stressful. Oh the work was fine. It was when I wasn't able to get there. I had to rely on 6 people being fit and well - my 2, my childminder and her 2 kids and me. The whole chain would crumble if one of us were ill. It's a difficult one isn't it. I found working from home when the kids were small so much better because I could be there for them. I'm sure you'll find a solution and your happy medium. There's bound to be something out there that's perfect for you. Crossing fingers that you still keep the blog going too xx

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    1. Thanks Donna - the childcare issue is a huge one, especially at holiday times when they're off school. Will keep my eyes open for something - having talked to a few people this week, I'm feeling more positive that I could get some contract or part time work, which would be a great 'best of both worlds'. Thanks lovely xx

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  4. I've always worked and my blogging has never been anything more than a hobby (which is what I want it to be). It is hard fitting it in and I definitely go through the struggle about do I really want to put myself out there online, particularly with the job I do and the worry about being judged for what I put out there.

    At the end of the day, it's about finding a balance which works for you. Although I do love my blogging, sometimes it has to take a backseat as other priorities (work, children, hubby, parents) are more important sometimes Having said that, it's a great escape for me and I can't imagine giving it up anytime soon.

    You'll have so much support whatever you choose, Avril, as you've such a strong bunch of readers and followers. Do whatever's right for you right now, even if it might be difficult (the best choices often are I think!).

    Lynne xx

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    1. Hi Lynne - I've thought about what you said about the best choices being difficult since you left this comment. I do think you're so right and thanks for sharing your experience. It's good to know I'm not the only one concerned about the online presence thing and I like that you have your priorities in good order. Sometimes other bloggers make me think that I need to have my blog as the top priority but you're right - family comes first. Thanks so much Lynne - for your wise words and all your support of the blog xx

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  5. It's a tough decision to make and tricky to juggle the work/life balance isn't Avril? I went back to work after taking 6 months maternity leave but I was very part time and it fitted in perfectly with our family needs back then as both hubby and me got to spend quality time with our baby. After 11 years I've just left my job to concentrate on things at home (my mum needs me) and now I seem to have less time than ever to get things done! That said, I wouldn't have it any other way. Strangely, it has given me more incentive to blog, I guess because it is a bit of an escape where I can still be me! Definitely keep up the blogging, there is bound to be a great work opportunity just around the corner for you! xx

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    1. Thanks Michelle - you've done things a bit differently but having an 11 year old myself, I know that it's now they appreciate you being there for them....so much homework and emotional support needed. I'm hopeful of some work coming my way - I think I need that challenge and who knows, it might open up a whole new blogging avenue - workwear! Thanks so much for your advice Michelle, you're always so supportive of the blog...I really appreciate it xx

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  6. I'd miss your blog if you gave up but understand what you mean about putting your life online. Last week I had a real wobble after a frenemy (you know the type) accidentally came across one of my rare fashion posts on my blog and basically made fun of me modelling my black mock croc boots. B****! It was my daughter who encouraged me to keep going in the end as she loves reading the blog. Going out to work while maintaining the family is stressful. I'm always playing catch up with housework(esp ironing) in term time and I only have one 15 year old to look after. There's not much time for blogging - I just blog when I have a gap or choose to ignore the ironing. But I wouldn't want to give up work because I like the mental stimulation and the social interaction. You are articulate, smart and clearly very organised so I'm sure you could find a job you enjoy but why not keep the blog going too?

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    1. Oh wow - I can't believe someone would do that?! What an utter witch....but yes, I've had that on certain parenting forums and it does make me wonder if people from my real life think along the same lines. Of course, we should all just go 'stuff that' and not let it worry us. Your point re the mental stimulation is key for me - I need that so much...and that's what's prompting this I think. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words - they have got me thinking and yes, I think the blog is safe for now...too much work has gone into it to drop it all. Just might need to take a different direction with it. xx

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  7. How about some freelance writing etc. Use your blog as your portfolio and you would be doing something you enjoy!!

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  8. How about some freelance writing etc. Use your blog as your portfolio and you would be doing something you enjoy!!

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    1. Thanks for that suggestion - I do a bit of that already but I really would like to be in an office environment with other people around me. But yes - the skills are there and I know I could do it easily. Thanks again, xx

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  9. Oh Avril, i totally understand how you feel! For what it's worth I think it's the change of September that does it to us. Especially moreso since you've had a big school change this year too. I adore you, and your blog and so hope that you'll keep at it. I miss you when you are quiet for a few days! I always feel like I'm catching up with you when I read it, even if i haven't seen you for a little while.
    Really looking forward to Tuesday sweet lady xx

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    1. Thanks Emma - you are so right about the September thing. Maybe I should have gotten a puppy to take my mind of it?! Thanks for the encouragement and your kind words about the blog. I really enjoyed meeting everyone on Tuesday...we really need to schedule in a whole day meeting as we never get covering all we want to!! xx

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  10. Tough decisions Avril. Take your time & think through what will be best for you & your family because ultimately they & you are most important. Maybe working part-time could be an option as it gives (in my opinion) the best of both worlds. Your blog was the first I ever followed & I've always loved your posts. Take care Juanita xx

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    1. The selfish part of me thinks NOOOoo just keep doing what you're doing, but Juanita is absolutely right. We can chat more tomorrow, but maybe take time to see what opportunities are out there and then weigh up how much they appeal compared to where you're at? x

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    2. Thanks - both of you. You've been such great supporters and it's been wonderful meeting you both via this blog. Part time is the goal...I'll cross the work bridge first and then decide where the blog might end up. Watch this space. Thanks for the encouragement lovely ladies xxx

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  11. Hi A, I have only commented once but want you to know how much I really enjoy your take on life. I have pounced on many of your ideas and your honesty is refreshing as I approach the big 40 worrying about becoming past it. Then I check in to SGS for affirmation therapy! I have taken a step back from my job this year to be at home. Loving every day. Agree with the lady who spoke of flexibility and when you are f.t outside the home it can be very hard. I felt I was missing everything. Treat the blog as a hobby, think about other writing avenues(am thinking local mags/npapers)needing a polished contributer,or take a timed blog break say for six weeks. Step back. Breathe...x

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    1. Thank you so much Ana - you've made me all emotional reading that. The blog does feel quite intense sometimes, especially when the emails gather pace and you feel like you spend all of your time politely saying no to endless so-called 'business opportunities' - all unpaid! It stops feeling like a blog then - just a business and that brands are constantly trying to take advantage of it for zero reward. Step back and breathe is great advice. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it. xx

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  12. I do think there's something about this time of year, when you've had the freedom of the Summer hols and suddenly the weather turns and you're plunged back into the old routine. I need the structure - as much for my sanity as anything else! - but I do sometimes feel a bit restricted by it, and that's often when I start to question my choices. I'm lucky that I can work from home, and fit it in around family life, exercise, blogging, etc, and I do count myself lucky that I don't have to go back into the corporate world. I really hated the politics of my job, and even when the kids are on their worst behaviour, it's preferable to some of the crap I had to deal with there! The other side of that is that I do miss the company of other adults - my two are both full time at school now too, and for the moment I'm enjoying the novelty of that, but I can see how it might become less attractive in the future...

    It's a tough one, but you'll make a decision that's right for you. And if it turns out not to be? Well it's never too late to change your mind, is it? Glad to hear you won't be giving up on the blogging though, I'd miss your posts! xx

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    1. So wise Becky - of course I remember people in work being worse than toddlers lol!!! And you couldn't put them on the naughty step to escape them for a while....instead you had to be so diplomatic...arrrggghh!! You've hit the nail on the head re the company. I miss that and I get a bit fed up of being in the house all the time. I'll keep my options open - as you say, all decisions are reversible at the end of the day! Thanks as always lovely lady - you are such a fab supportive person. It's greatly appreciated xx

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  13. I felt just the same - after 7 years at home when my two were little, I was ready to be back in the office workplace. I've enjoyed it ever since and recommend part time, 3-4 days so there's still time for friends and home. Love your blog Avril so please don't stop just yet!

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    1. Hi there - yay...someone with the same experience! Thank you - I'm feeling very encouraged by that. Part time seems to be the way to go...and that way, I can keep the blog up. Really appreciate your comment - thank you xx

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  14. Avril, your blog could be me speaking I am completely with you..which way to turn, how to get the balance right, working out flexibility and whether you can get a part time job that was equivalent to pre-baby job..it is all a bit of a minefield and I cannot see the woods for the trees at the moment either. You are a fab blogger and I hope you do not stop..when you do find a solution can you ket me know, and if I find one I'll let you know!!!! xxx

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    1. Oh it's so good to know I'm not alone with this! Thanks Frances - hopefully we'll both get our eureka moment soon...perhaps yours will be a TV career? How amazing would that be?
      Thanks again for all the support lovely lady, xx

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  15. Hope it's just a wobble and the right voice/suggestion presents itself to you ASAP x

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    1. Thank you - I hope the same too. All the comments and messages with support and ideas have really helped me this week xx

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  16. The answer will come to you and no-one can say when. Writing down and sharing how you feel was the right thing to do. Listening to what everyone has to say is comforting (ie you're not alone etc).

    You must certainly keep this on regardless of what you do and in a capacity that suits you. How about scaling back the writing to posts you are passionate about, can write with your eyes closed and to keep the blog going. You've done so well to get a loyal fan base, they'll stick with you whether you post daily or 3 times a week.

    You know where I am if you need a chat.

    Fiona

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    1. Thanks Fiona - we've talked about this offline too....I really appreciate all your support and will definitely continue to bend your ear over the coming weeks. xx

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  17. I worked part time when my children were small and went back full time when my youngest started school. I look back and wonder how we've coped and kept 2 careers going.
    Work gives me a sense of self. It gives me a chance to talk about things other than the children. But my career comes at a price. This week I felt a lot of guilt missing a meet and greet with their new teachers (their dad went) because I was at a safeguarding meeting.
    Social media's a funny one. We put so much about ourselves out there. I stopped tweeting ages ago now for that reason and I don't miss it at all. I'm feeling the same towards Facebook as well.
    Good luck!

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    1. Oh Cheryl....we talked about that when we met too. Your job is amazing and gives so much back to the community but it's not an easy one to walk away from if you have a meeting or something crops up at home. That's the challenge to taking up a challenging role.
      Re the social media thing - I am stepping back personally from lots of the channels and mostly my interactions are blog related. But even that is feeling like too much some days.
      Thanks for the support from the beginning Cheryl....and for your wise words xx

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  18. Hi Avril. I've recently had a similar dilemma. I've worked part time, term time for a good few years now and my boys are now 14 and 12. My job is far from challenging and I saw another job which was still part time, but year round, and also looked absolutely perfect on paper. I went for the interview and felt totally deflated and just knew that it wasn't the right thing for me. That was the first week of July and I still haven't heard from them, despite being told at interview that they would be in contact within a couple of days! However, upon prayer and reflection, I felt that actually, the boys will be grown up and gone really soon, and I should just be grateful for the situation. I am not totally stressed out, I get long holidays (our 7 weeks summer hols were about to start), and it's a real priviledge to have been able to spend so much time with them. Everyone is different and this may not be the case for you, but just wanted to share my story. I've been back at work for three weeks now and still bored and frustrated at work, but also, managing to have a life, help with homework, and generally be around. Hope this helps and you are able to make the right decision for you and your family. x

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    1. Hi Sharon, thank you for sharing your experience. It sounds like that job wasn't meant to be, doesn't it? Perhaps you needed to go for it to see that the job you have is actually the best arrangement for you right now. I have to say at the same time that it must be tough feeling so bored and frustrated at work. I guess the kids benefit at the end of the day and that is important. Oh so many women with the same challenges and dilemmas. It's been really helpful reading your experience Sharon - thank you for sharing it. xx

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  19. You are one smart cookie Avril and you will find a way to fit it all in. The main thing is to enjoy whatever you do, whether that is blogging, family time or work. If things become a chore it is time to re assess and make changes. I know how you feel so I just take little blogging breaks, from time to time. I do hope you can keep the blog going. It is one of the first I ever started following and I think you are just 'Grand' :0) H xx

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    1. You are a honey Helen - thank you. And thanks for the reminder to find joy in what I'm doing...regardless of what it is. That's SO important. Really appreciate your words of wisdom and thanks for all the support always. xx

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  20. ❤️ http://youtu.be/8bxjNZYR64g❤️

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    1. You crack me up Ingrid - lol lol.....still can't get that blooming song out of my head today!! xx

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I love reading your comments and will reply as soon as I can if you have a specific question. If for any reason, you are unable to leave a comment, just drop me an email at avril@alifetostyle.com or leave a comment on the A Life to Style Facebook Page! Thank you xx

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