I've always thought that there is no more British turn of phrase than "Being Made Redundant". It sounds as if the loss of employment was an unintentional act, like a duplicate phrase amidst a long essay or accidentally picking up two bottle openers at the shop. Not nearly as direct at the American "laid off" and much more gentle than the "Severance" that always has made me picture men in suits walking out of an office building with their severed legs slung over their shoulders.
Up until yesterday, these thoughts were merely abstract, to be included in the list of quaint cultural differences between my original and adopted homelands. The theoretical became all too real as I slid my voluntary redundancy letter into the post box.
From March 2011, I will be with out a job.
Hot angry tears slid down my cheeks as I posted the letter, I was furious with the inevitability of it. No matter which way I sliced it, it was impossible for me to work with three small children without paying for the privilege.
From the moment we began telling people about Baby Oops, the question emerged in most every conversation "What are you going to do about work?". I would answer with a standard "I will take another period of maternity leave and return to work in October 2011." But behind the scenes, I knew the math didn't add up. Nannies, nurseries, child minders, none of them would leave us anywhere but in the red.
In theory, I know that childcare is not just my responsibility. We share the costs equally between us. But, the reality of the system and our situation means that it is me that can make changes to my work to meet the childcare needs of the children. Paired with public sector cutbacks and a redundancy scheme running at work, it seemed the best and most logical option to, in the words of the Steve Miller Band, take the money and run.
Anyone who follows the current state of British politics knows that hard times are ahead for families, who have been targeted by many of the changes to the benefits and tax systems. And while we are "fortunate" to be in a tax bracket not hit by many of the changes, it is hard not to choke on the bitter irony of a system that rewards work, yet makes it nigh on impossible to do so.
And so, here I am, a stay at home mother. Its a role I never envisioned for myself. I am not going to lie and say that working in the civil service was my life's dream, but it was good work with lovely people in beautiful parts of Scotland. It was w break from the daily routine with small children and it used a part of my brain I don't access when with my children. But then As time passes, staying at home has become more enjoyable and rewarding. I love spending time with my littlies and enjoy the rhythm of our days.
As one door closes, I am certain that something else awaits on the horizon for me. But for now, I will take each day as it comes, enjoying the time I have here with my little family.