Let them eat cake

Birthday last week.

Late night working in old job, came home day after my birthday and Jman heard me and insisted on getting up. So we shared a piece of my birthday cake. After 9pm. I’m an awesome parent.

Anyhow, first mouthful, he gets this weird look on his face, and spits it out. But he’s still not really breathing normally. “Bub, are you ok?” Blank look. “Bubby?” And he sort of looks at me, but doesn’t look at me.

I thump him between his shoulder blades, but not much changes. I get him to drink some milk, then some water, then to chew and swallow a tiny piece of bread to check his throat was not obstructed. He has it, but he doesn’t really chew normally. It was odd.

I kept saying to hub-in-boots “he’s not going to bed til I’m sure he’s right”. And he wasn’t wrong, but he wasn’t quite right either.

Then he moved from sitting next to me, to lying on me, and his head started lolling to one side and his eyes rolling backwards in his head. Just buggered and falling asleep? He was a bit yellow. His lips were white. I kept holding him. “Bubby. Buuuuubby. Are you ok?” He looks at me but doesn’t look at me. He’s there, but he’s not there.

“He’s not going to bed”. We gave him more water. What was going on?

The weirdness continued for. 20-30 minutes. It was weird, but not crazy. He didn’t really talk at all, or move much. But he did shift position, and he did make some eye contact occasionally. “He’s just really tired” hub in boots said.

“Don’t care, he’s not going to bed”.

Then 20-30 minutes in, PING! he sits up, bright eyed, and started singing, talking, and moving around the room. It took another 30 minutes for me to unpack the experience and realise. Seizure?

I start my new job tomorrow. So I was really looking forward to our day with our Friday nanny so I could have some serious time out. And Friday, he projectile vomited all over the carpet and speaker when she arrived. Like a fire hose. So she left. And I cleaned carpet. Then took him to the doctor.

The doctor suggested we see our paediatrician, but adopt a watch and wait strategy on it. I agreed.

Then I got home and realised, this wasn’t episode number 2, where episode 1 had a clear cause. This was episode 3. There was a very similar episode on the plane going on holidays in July. He didn’t want to be strapped in and was going nuts as the plane came into land, and the same laying down eyes rolling thing occurred. We dismissed it as an over due nap, but at the time I did say “it’s the same face he pulled that time we got the ambo.” . I put it down to my hyper vigilance after the stopping breathing event a few weeks before. And I dismissed it.

i was very upset Friday, thinking it might be epilepsy, or worse, thinking of kids that have giant seizures and end up with brain damage, medication, your basic catastrophising parent. Luckily, I had a rare night out booked Friday (and Saturday!), with “mums group gone wild”. It started with bollinger and ended with a bad pub band, dancing, and very little sleep. A good antidote to a rough week.

I’ve spoken to the new boss about participating In the appointment via speaker phone if we could fit it in. And she has told me to go to the appointment. So tomorrow morning, we are off for a chat. I hope a chat is all that is viewed as necessary.

The new referral to the paediatrician mentions my sub chorionic haematoma during pregnancy. I just pray none of that crazy journey through haemorrhages and bed rest  resulted in faulty wiring in a little growing brain. Because the mummy guilt from that, it could kill me.

so monday= paediatrician! then new scary job (and the Penski file). Big day.

The Penski File

After my “why don’t you apply for a promotion” post here, and all the mum barriers I discussed in this post, the universe opened a can of whoop ass.

I was headhunted.

Not by a hidden tribe of new Guinean tribesmen, no no. But worse. A recruitment consultant.

Anyhoo, he found me on Linked in.

He messaged me.

I may have ignored him.

He messaged me again.

I may have given a non committal reply.

He asked could he ring me.

I said yes.

He asked when.

I didn’t reply.

He rang.
He talked. I listened. And my “yeah yeah yeah, you’re recruiting for some dodgy private registered training organisation” shifted when I heard the employers name. In my industry, it’s a pretty important name.

And I stood on the lawn outside my office, sipping a cup of tea, and he mentioned the money and I snorted tea out of my nose.

But I can’t.
I can’t do it.
I have a two year old.
I have a two year old I almost lost. Five times. My two year old who almost never was.
I can’t do it.
I’m not good enough.
It’s too big.

Just agree to a conversation, he said.

He’s clever, this guy.
Just a chat, he said. (he read me well. Softly, softly catchee monkey).

So I met with him. He told me about the role.
Just have a chat with them, he said. You’d be great.
So I suited up, and bothered about my hair, and hub-in-boots took a day off, and I met with them. It wasn’t really an interview. It was pretty relaxed. I was pretty relaxed. Because I have a job. And I wasn’t thinking of moving. So it didn’t really matter what they thought of me.

Here I am, I said. I’m a mum first, I said. I wasn’t thinking of leaving, I said.
Can you do this part of the role?
Honestly? I think I’d be rubbish at that part, until I was up to speed.
How about this part?
Yes, well I was thinking in the future you need to do x,y,z and think about changes to a, b and c.
Tell us what you’ve done that is similar?

So I told them. About lecturing, about working to improve students’ writing, about conference papers I’ve written on education. About textbook materials I’ve written (after telling the publisher how rubbish their book was and they gave me a contract). About future plans. About problem based learning. About bringing the real world into the classroom.

Come back and meet another member of the team, they said.

So I did.
And I didn’t try that hard.

Have a tele conference with staff in Melbourne.
So I did.
And I didn’t try that hard.

Have the job, they said. Oh and here’s another $10k on what you thought we were offering. So…..that’s a 50% pay rise.

I don’t want it, I thought. Nothing is worth the loss in flexibility. Nothing is worth the loss of time with jman. It will be like old corporate. I’ll be overworked. I’ll turn into a nasty person. I’ll be stressed. I won’t see my husband or my child. It will be too hard. I’ll be trapped. I don’t want to have to suit up every day.

I don’t want to get the ferry to work on Sydney harbour and stop at the nice coffee shop in the 200m from ferry to office. No no no.

Playgroup, going to playgroup, factored in my decision. Because at present I’m in the office 3 days (one huge day) and work at home 2 days with a lot of flexibility around when things get done.

I had another conversation with my potential boss. She said she arrives at 9:30, after dropping 3 kids at school. She leaves at 4:30, then logs back on about 8pm to do work at home. She comes in four days a week and works the other one at home. Every other person in the team is a mum with small children that does some work from home. Every. Other. Person.
It isn’t all doom and gloom.

If playgroup made the decision, it would be costing $700 a session. Or maybe $400 for play group and $300 for another play date.
Which seems pretty stupid.
You can’t put a price on family time. Or can you?

But I’d still have family time.

You’ve never proven yourself in a new job, whilst being a mum.
You’re not good enough, technically.
You’ll never manage. You’ll look ahead and see the sameness of weeks stretching before you and freak. The hell. Out.
Your kid will hate you and you’ll get a divorce.

You’ll never get this opportunity again.
If this opportunity appeared out of thin air once, It can appear again.
My current workplace is firmly in decline. Less students, more teaching hours, bigger classes. Possible loss of office, parking and campus in future. Possible difficulties when EVERY SIX MONTHS I have to renegotiate my whole existence, my whole timetable, all childcare arrangements. I could be asked to teach any time between 9am and 10pm, five days a week, and only have a bit of wriggle room.
I don’t want it.
I could do it.
I have tenure. Tenure is like gold.
Tenure is like a handcuff.
Money. Money. Money.

In the new job, there are Professional colleagues. All professional colleagues. With money to throw at problems, not stupid policy restrictions and budget restrictions and nepotism to rival any industry. Not like here, with mysoginists three deep stuck in 1975 versions of gender. Not here, where the incompetent / lazy get rewarded, and stay, and the rest of us stand around and fix up their mistakes.

I ignore the things that annoy me in this role, mostly. Because there’s a point. There’s a point. I am bringing home good money, it is not stressful (mostly), and I can be a mum. Whatever I don’t like is irrelevant. Because I am doing it for a reason.
I am a happier person when I leave my ambitious self sitting quietly in a corner.
But I’m older now.

Maybe I could bring her out, for the ride, but not let her take over and turn into a stressed out egomaniac. Because I’m not really insecure anymore. Mostly. Even though I have doubts about my abilities. I look at them and go “Oh! There’s you being silly having doubts again. Oh well, just be quiet, doubts, and get on with doing the best job you can. Nope! Not perfect. Oh well. That’s ok too.”

So. Yes. Big decision time.

We’d need an extra day’s day care. Not available in current family daycare.

Hub-in-boots would swap to earlier shifts, to do pick ups, so I could just take it easy getting home. It is possible he could swap from a Monday-Friday week to a half day Sunday-Thursday week. It is possible.
I could do more online grocery shops.

Decision time.

I am wavering. I have wavered. And both times, I’ve decided no.

Then something has happened at work that made me go “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? SAY YES!”

I am living liminally, on the threshold of leaving, on the threshold of staying, and I’m STUCK.

The universe opened a can of whoop ass.

And I’ve said yes.

Is the job beyond my skills set?  Is the job going to ruin our finely balanced quality of life? If you’re looking for me, I’ll be working on the Penski file.