Saturday, 5 May 2012

Number 24

It's all change here at Me Plus Six headquarters!

We have been planning our future a bit over the last couple of weeks and came to the conclusion that I need a career when the boys are all in secondary school so we can continue to have a wonderful life once they are all grown up.

As I have mentioned before we are on a strict budget - the like of which means all our bills are paid, our debt reduces each month and we get to spend money on the boys and doing up the house. It also gives us a deficit that we are saving for our holidays every year.

So career wise I have never really had one. I decided to take a year out after my G.C.S.E's (I had had a very difficult final year, being bullied and mistreated) before I did my A-levels, and then when I was almost 18 I gave birth to my gorgeous first son Mathew - so that kind of stopped everything. I had always wanted to be a mum. It was the only real job I wanted to do with my life - but alas that doesn't pay the bills so I have tied my hand at a few things over the years.

When I found out I was pregnant (it was a bit of a shock), I took it upon myself to go to a training organisation to gain some qualifications (I had a bit of a panic when I thought I was going to have a son and no A-levels) in Information Technology - or computers to you and me. I did it and gained four, which I was very pleased with, but then I was poorly towards the end of my pregnancy so had to stop at that. I got my wish however, as I then became a mum to the most beautiful, content little boy, a little earlier than planned but still very much wanted and loved. I stayed at home with him, and then with his little brother Michael until he was about eight months old. We needed a little extra income at this point and so I started working in our local Spar stores part time for about five months.

After Morgan was born and about seven months old, again we needed a bit more income so I happened to stumble across a job with Pembrokeshire County Council where the only qualification I needed was to be able to speak Welsh. Done. I stayed with them for two years - most of which I enjoyed - I was a Road Safety Officer teaching children how to cross correctly and how to ride their bikes carefully on the roads. My father died just before I left and when they heard I had cancelled a school i had for that week they were furious, so I told them to stuff it.

I wanted to pursue a career so decided I needed to get into college and get qualified, and I had always been interested in cooking and food so why not give that a go. I was accepted and thrived. I even found myself a trainee chef job in the Giltar Hotel Tenby with a wonderful head chef named Chris, who was coming to the end of his career and eager to pass on all he had learned. I absolutely loved this job, but unfortunately the hours were killing me - being away from my boys for 14 hours every day, and missing their concerts, plays, sports days was making me terribly depressed. I stayed with them for a year and then both myself and the head chef left at the same time, I couldn't bare the thought of being there without him, so it gave me the out I needed - the college course was a bust too as our practical tutor was rubbish - I ended up teaching her how to do things! Ridiculous, so I left that too.

So after being home for a few months I had had the opportunity to make cakes for friends and families birthdays, and the compliments and the way it made me feel was superb, so I bit the bullet and decided to start my own business - We Love Cake. I set up a Facebook page and blog, I eventually had a website too and the business grew and grew. I started with making 1 - 2 cakes every week and when I closed at was at the top making 8-9 big cakes, 100 cupcakes and 20-30 cake pops every week. I loved every second of the year I had doing this job, I even enjoyed being up until 3am making sure a cake was perfect, and then getting up at 6am just to check again. Unfortunately a lot of horrible things befell our family during this time, and so I took the very hard decision to close after my health deteriorated.

So this leads me to where I am now. I have been doing nothing but getting better and enjoying being a wife and mum for the last ten months, with the odd cake thrown in for family for good measure. We have panned the next two years finances completely - every single day is accounted for with the lowest possible income and highest possible expenditure to ensure we can afford everything. Every year we will have roughly the same deficit - although it will increase after this year once all the debts have been paid off. Rob and I then got to talking about the future and worked out some of the things that will change when the boys get older - for example they will all start to drive - costly, they may decide to go to university - extremely costly, they may have children - super costly, ad as we want to be able to provide everything for our boys so they don't have to struggle as much as we have we needed a plan.

When the boys leave secondary school we will stop receiving child benefit and child tax credit. These aren't huge amounts but money in is money in. We should have less outgoings - as the weekly shop will decrease (hopefully heehee), the electricity/water should decrease and our fuel bills for running them all over the place should decrease by quite a bit. We still want to be able to travel though, and enjoy our later years (at the ripe old ages of 41/42), and be able to support the boys and their families if needed.

So this brought us along to talking about pensions, retirement and my career, or current lack of.

As I mentioned earlier I have only really wanted to be a mum, so what is next when I'm not needed any more (or not as much)? What can I do to help make sure we have enough money to cover everything and still be able to save and go on holidays, or treat the kids/grand-kids?

Long story long, I have decided after many discussions with Rob as to what would be a good career and path forward to become a teacher - primary school, junior age group. What brought me to this? Well I love children, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching them when I worked with the council and I think I have done an OK job with mine. Also the hours are good, the holidays are great and the salaries aren't bad either, even at the lowest end. There will always be children so there will always be a need for teachers, a definite plus point. I love passing on my knowledge to people, and enjoy making people happy, both good points for a teacher. If we decide to move away or to a different county, well everywhere needs teachers.

For this to become reality - is to get qualified, but I still want to be a stay at home mum while the boys are still young. My first stop was the Careers Advice Service from the government, to see what qualifications I need, what training courses there are and what the different paths are to get into teaching. This service not only told me everything I needed to know and how to achieve it, but it also tested academically to see in what areas I would need to improve.

The next step is to get A-levels, which will then help me to get onto the university course I need. I searched and found that the best ones for me to do were core subjects so I applied to do English Language and Literature, Mathematics and Chemistry, I was a little disappointed to see that there are no local colleges that offer a Welsh A-level, but never mind. I am currently waiting for my interview and then to fin out if I have been accepted - I am super nervous but also looking forward.

So that's where I am at the moment - in limbo but with a plan! I have been out and purchased the G.C.S.E course books for the subjects I have applied to take so I can brush up over the summer and be, hopefully, as if I have gone from year five to sixth form. Well that's the plan anyway.

I hope you have all had a good couple of days, mine have been ok - bit down in the dumps but feeling better today after my lovely friend Melanie said something really poignant - I said I felt as if I was at the bottom of a mountain staring up, and she said "but just imagine the view when you reach the top!" How brilliant is that eh?! So happy again today - I managed to do all the cleaning and bake some yummy treats, play with the kids and mow the lawn while Robs worked this Saturday helping out our best friend. Brilliant isn't it. Funny how words can really change your mood!

Right I better sign off - It's getting late and it's movie time!

OO one more quick thing - I forgot to tell you the other day about a shop I came across in Cardiff shopping centre - Americandy, ever heard of it? It is basically an American sweet shop. They stock all the brands you see on your favourite US sitcoms, they had every possible flavour of pop tart, all the soda's and water brands and they even had Lucky charms, Fruit Loops and Flintstone's Boulders cereals. I loved everything and more importantly wanted to buy everything!

Hugs and smiles.

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