travel with me from SAHM to working mum….
It’s September, my traditional month for new beginnings. School, university, school again (this time as a teacher) then as the mother of school-aged children; the only time I didn’t view September as a new start month was when I worked as an estate agent – but I gave birth two months later so it was probably on my mind.
This September finds me back on a train, speeding, or rather lurching, towards London this time. After various toe dips and false starts I am pursuing my writing dreams in the direction I have wanted them to go since I was 14. How ironic that my daughter turns 14 soon.
Are the two things linked? Possibly. Although my parents were supportive of education in a in a C1, clean your shoes, do what the teacher tells you, hand your homework in on time, aim high but remember your place, sort of way, I disappeared beyond their horizons by insisting on going to the academic VIth form college rather than the vocational ‘tech’. My mother’s family had experience of children going up to university never to return to our corner of the West Country. My father had heard plenty of tales about girl children of friends who had been supported through college only to eschew work for married life.
My chosen career of journalism was not encouraged even after I was chosen for a work experience placement on the local newspaper – one of only two accepted from my school each year. The main reason for this was that my uncle worked at the paper. A caricature of a local hack, he chain-smoked fags, followed a story terrier-like to the bitter end and gave off a general air of seediness. Think Michael Foot in the late 1970s and you’ll form an accurate picture. There was no way my mother would encourage me in this direction. I drifted to University, floated into teaching like many in the early 90s recession years, and forgot about writing.
And now I am on a train, travelling to my first day of a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism. How exciting! I don’t think I’ll ever be a cub reporter on a local paper, still less a renowned columnist on a national daily, but if I can have an article accepted in any sort of publication, and even, perhaps, get paid for it….
Back to my daughter. I try to encourage her in the interests she has, even if they’re not my own. Obviously I’m biased. I have preconceptions and opinions. But she’s different from me and has other talents and skills. I haven’t experienced jobs from every walk of life, but I do have wider horizons than my parents. I hope I can help her fulfill her dreams, or at least help her be the sort of person who tries.