Yes. I do. Work. I love it. However, I didn't use to. Back in those days when I had been up till 3.00am and had a hangover to rival the Black Death, I went to work, worked reasonably hard through the pounding headache and then left. The evening would stretch ahead with possibilities. 9.00am to 5.00 am was sensible time. 5.00pm to 3.00am was Fun Time. Not every night, mind you. I enjoyed those nights in with telly, flat mates and idle chat about nothing. We all agonised over the boy friends, leaped onto the phone when it rang. This is before the days of the Mobile Phone. Or almost. Some nerds had them. Huge clunking things the size of a telephone box that they would carry in a Special Box. These Nerds would also have a computer at home and would talk about Technology and the Future. No one paid any attention to them. My boyfriend at the time was heavily into all of that. Now he makes vast amounts of money and is filthy rich. Damn.
Anyway... they were nerds then.
But now... now I am in bed long before midnight, usually reading my Book Club book frantically before the next meeting. My husband has given up on sex and now reads companionably with me. He knows that when there is a book in my hand there ain't room for anything else, as it were.
In the morning of yesteryear, I would get up 20 minutes before I had to go to work and sling on work clothes (teacher wear... sensible but just a little flirty) and rush out of the door, into car, and drive the same old route to school.
Now I am up at dawn, down to the kitchen to make lunch boxes, feed cats, feed chickens, make breakfast, get dressed, and eat breakfast with children.
From the detritus of breakfast,having hurled plates and cups into the dish washer, I leave the house waving madly to my three younger children as they walk the 50 yard walk to school. Their back views with their book bags and PE kits look so sweet I want to run up to them for one more kiss. Sometimes I do.
The car ride to work takes four and a half minutes. Work is in my own pre-school which was started up nearly four years ago. I run it with my friend, Sarah. We both love what we do. We both have young children and a mad life style, but having Stepping Stones grounds us and makes us proud.
I simply love it. From the moment I walk in the door with cheery hello's from staff already there, I am in a completely different world.
Small brightly coloured tables are scattered about with a selection of toys on them. There are windows on both sides of the building and it is wonderfully sunny and warm. We have an antiquated heater which takes me back to the days of my own primary school. I can still remember my old headmaster leaning against it on cold frosty mornings and talking about all sorts of things that bore absolutely no relation to anything we needed to learn.
Our children come pouring in at 9.00am. Their faces are expectant and so pleased to be there! Everyone says good morning to each to other. Mums and Dads greet one another and have a quick chat over the lego. One child might show his brand new Spider Man outfit. And wear it all morning because, quite frankly, why not?
Then comes the best bit. I get to play all morning. Now, I know what lots of you are thinking. That you Hate Playing With Children Although You Pretend to Like It. Yes, I know. I do too.
But not at my work.
The other morning a little boy wanted to make a treasure map and got out a piece of paper to make one. I asked him if he'd like to make a map with some special soft linoneum material we had. The look on his face was a picture. This lino stuff looked just like an old map. He drew some lines with a felt tip pen and said that those were boats and islands and rivers. Then he drew a cross and said 'X marks the treasure.' This is from a child who absolutely hates drawing or writing. Other children had drifted up, as they do, and wanted to make one themselves. They all had a go. Then we made an enormous map along the floor, with about 10 children helping. Then we had a treasure hunt outside. It was Brilliant! The sense of achievement was huge. Learning with a capital L was a'happening. And I can do it all tomorrow!
12.30 comes and the children go home. I mean, it's not exactly hard, is it? Mind you, when mothers come in to help, they always leave looking totally exhausted. But then being a perfect mother for 3 hours in a row is damned tiring. I don't have to be perfect. Or a mother. It's great!
Work really is a euphemism for play in my case. Oh, and long holidays.