Never have I ever thought I would be living in a Boarding House in England and working as a House Parent. Never having ever experienced or really thought that much about boarding and the lifestyle surrounding it - how could it have been on my radar?
Preconceived assumptions of the kind of students that attend boarding school come from films and television*. The majority of which showing Boarding School used as either a punishment or a coming of age hormone fuelled ''awakening''.
Except for the Harry Potter series. So I prepared by putting myself in the mind-set of Hogwarts' House Parents/Masters/Mistresses. I was going to hone my Professor McGonagall and maintain a strict but endearing personality with the boarders.
And then I realised our House is more looks more Slytherin than Gryffindor (Even our school colours and Coat of Arms). And going by all the rules I am slapping up on the walls, I am more Dolores Umbridge.
I know. It surprised me too.
Never have I ever thought I would be looking after a handful of international student let alone teenagers. Have I always wanted to adopt an older child? Yes. This is far from that. Did I ever consider fostering? Yes. Did I ever consider multiple teenagers at once? No.
I figured there would be some hiccups in the beginning as we were setting up for the new school year. No worries, as I had my trusty HP characters to fall back on. Yet again, I hiked up my bra and put on my Molly Weasley cap. Rules because we care.
And then I realised that teenagers do not consider why there are rules but instead sulk when you try to enforce them. That they are stuck in this weird limbo of a vast stretching future of independence creeping into their sight of vision but they can't call their GP to make themselves an appointment. They hate when you repeat yourself as that is nagging but then they turn around and do exactly what she just said not to do while arguing with you how ''they did not know''.
We recently rewatched the Harry Potter films, shock! You had know idea, right?
I now feel for the Professors and Heads of House. I want to shove away the HP storyline and delve into how Minerva McGonagall came to her position. What Severus Snape says in the staff room after receiving another eye roll from the HP Gang.
*Of which I have seen or read, not assumptions including everything from all time. Doi.
The other day, I finally watched one of the last film projects* I had worked on before Maternity Leave (which turned into being a stay-at-home parent). It was bittersweet, bitter because the movie was the equivalent of diet cookies (yes ladies, tell yourself it tastes just like the real thing and keep shoveling those lies down) and sweet because it took me back to a time of being naive (sometimes ignorance is bliss).
I had a thought that in some ways my experience working within the television and film industry prepared me for motherhood.
Running on little sleep - Projects are a lot of work and start way before production begins. Planning, scheduling, casting, building, costumes, shooting, editing, re-shooting, scoring, marketing and distributing are just some of the process before, during and after. Long hours for the many people involved so one person cannot let a bad night ruin a working day.
Reset & first positions - Working as a continuity supervisor and production assistant I did a lot of placing objects, furniture and people back into their starting positions during each take. Every evening I collect all of Peaches’ toys, books, debris and put them back in their “homes”. Everything should have a home.
Freelance worries - Being self employed is constantly chasing the next job while trying to focus on the job at hand. Yes, you can seemingly set your own hours and take holiday time whenever.** It is a consistent juggling of chasing, planning, preparing, researching, paying, collecting and worrying. So is parenthood - except your work is alive and you get in legal trouble if something goes awry. Trying to be freelance and a SAHM is the fun I get up to now! YAY!
Patience - With so many people involved in projects, you may spend a lot of time waiting before continuing with the next step. Awaiting decisions from directors, producers, casting directors, talent, writers, designers, and the millions of decisions that go into productions. A little patience goes a long way, especially with the long gruelling hours you and everyone else are putting in. Everyone is trying to do their best, do not let your lack of self-esteem come out as a twat. The world does not centre around you, Peaches! I mean, production people. Cue nervous laughter.
Repetitive - Oh boy! Working in casting I found a lot of my days had repetitive actions, which I weirdly found huge comfort in. A boost to do my best which each actress/actor. I find that same kind of comfort in the schedules I set up for my little one. Oh, what’s that, she has decided to completely change everything as soon as we find our pace? Perfect.
Little big egos - This can be found in any industry, on any playground and asleep in Peaches’ cot. Everyone has their things and that can get in the way of treating others with equal respect. Heck! I get it whenever my husband asks, “how my day was?” But that stems from my fear of being invisible and ignored…
..by Jove I think I am on to something!
Pfft, just kidding.
*The name of the crappy movie will not be mentioned, as so many people put a lot of hard work into it (and I do not want to ostracize myself from future project opportunities). This post is not about berating the film industry for still pumping out manic pixie fixed by emotionally withdrawn man drivel.
**TIP: Do not book your vacation time when schools are not in session - you are more likely to be needed then (lesson learned hard way).
This is something I wrote several months ago but had never posted. In the current political climate it feels mighty frivolous.
It isn't and may resonate with someone else out there - hello, whomever you are!
I just sent off my letter of resignation, as I will not be returning once my Maternity Leave has finished.
Shit, shit, fuckity-shit, shit, shit, shit, shit-shit. Pardon my vulgarity but it is exactly what I am thinking. I kind of always had an unsettled inkling that this is what would end up happening - low salary, no free childcare. But it is now real. It is a official. There was no magic beans that suddenly made my income double (who really wants to underpay the people taking care of their offspring? Not this lady!).
I am a stay-at-home-mother.
My stomach feels like there are barfing butterflies and I have the dry sweats (the sensation of sweating, without physically sweating) thinking about it. For so long my life was about ''what will I become'' and after school that slightly altered to ''what will this lead to'' but now it is ''what do I do now?''.
Yes, I know, take care of my daughter - throw my focus to her. I don't want to sound like a shit or ungrateful but that just isn't enough for me. I need to use my brain for other things. I need to be able to think about something besides :
What do we have that she can eat, that is good for her, nurturing her body and her brain today?-What can we do that will entertain/educate/distract her today?-What do we need to cloth/feed/protect/educate her today?-How do I keep her from destroying herself through injury/illness when it seems that is what her daily goal is?-Why am I so tired? Am I a bad mother?-AM I OKAY?-IS SHE OKAY?-IS HUSBAND OKAY?-Is the WORLD okay?-Is the future okay?
So, that is my new goal. To find something that works with our circumstance because who knows what it could lead to.
Not an instructional blog but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - so help me Mom.