Finding a new vocation

les-cordeliers-bed-andOne of the great things about motherhood is that it gives you the excuse to jump ship on that job you always hated. After all, you didn’t have a baby so you could leave him from 7am to 7pm with some homesick Romanian teenager you found on Gumtree. Not when it’s going to eat up 90% of your salary, anyway. Yeah, you’re out of there, suckers. Or you will be just as soon as you’ve got your second maternity leave.

Quitting your job isn’t short on benefits – the main one being that you get to look down on those mothers who continue with their careers, as you cook up elaborate meals in the mornings and make tight-lipped comments about ‘priorities’.

There’s a downside, though: After eight months spent scouring gloomy church-hall playgroups for potential friends, singing ‘Wind the Bobbin Up’ at a baby more interested in eating the pushchair wheel, you’ll be ready to blow your brains out. At home you’ll have all the status of a slave, while at parties, so many people will tell you you’re doing ‘the most important job in the world’, while clearly thinking the opposite, you’ll want to turn the gun on them, too.

So, chances are, you’ll find yourself looking for a new, post-baby career. This will need to be something reasonably stress-free you can do between the hours of 10am and 2.30pm. Which basically leaves dinner lady. The other option is to become your own boss.

The good news is that this won’t seem as daunting as it once might have done, because all those hours spent sitting in parks/John Lewis’s 4th-floor café will have given you plenty of time to think of ideas for new ventures – all aimed squarely at you. Why, you’ll rant at similarly frustrated mothers, has no one thought to open a pub? But not just any old pub – no! One with a playroom attached! Complete with babysitters! Or a nail bar – with a playroom attached! Complete with babysitters! Sadly these plans usually fizzle to nothing after ten minutes spent contemplating the reality of running a pub-cum-créche. But no matter – there are other choices available to you.

Such as mum fantasy-occupation ♯2 – the holiday let. The appeal here lies mostly in dreaming about a massive house in the countryside (or France, if you’re feeling really adventurous), where you will magnanimously let people stay for money. It’s a good fantasy occupation, this, allowing you to overlook all the horrible admin-and-cleaning-type work involved in running a B&B, and instead concentrate on the nice bits, like wondering whether to paint the bathroom floorboards black or white. It doesn’t matter if you can’t afford the big house, either. Thanks to all the magazine guff about glamping, it’s enough to buy a knackered caravan on Ebay and stick it in the garden, strung up with bunting.

Or you can try fulfilling your creative ambitions. This is, after all, the perfect time to write that novel/create that multi-screened video installation you always planned to. Unless, that is, you need to earn actual money.

Failing that, there’s always selling things. In the old days, this would have meant wandering around your neighbours’ houses hawking Tupperware or sex toys. But not any more. Thanks to the internet, you can now sell all sorts of tat. And not just any old tat, either. You can sell tat you’ve made yourself. Cushions, greetings cards, hand-knitted dog booties – the world is your ropey market stall. Friends and family will congratulate you on how enterprising you are. If you’re really lucky, you’ll appear in a patronising Daily Mail feature about ‘mumpreneurs’.

After a while, you’ll realise what an arse-ache it is making cushions/greetings cards/hand-knitted dog booties. And after the 15th hour spent queuing at the post office, you’ll be wondering where it was you put that gun. Which is precisely when you’ll start yearning for that job you always hated.

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