Last October, I resigned from my job and signed up for the big one – I am now a full-time housewife.
A baby quite obviously changes your life in so many ways but for me probably the biggest one is making this transition. When I look back, I do wonder what I did with all my spare time, my lunch breaks, my money…none of these are things that I have now. Don’t get me wrong, as a family we are comfortable financially thanks to my husband. But to no longer have my own income took me a wee while to get my head around. I now get an ‘allowance’. I am completely fine with this as my husband is fantastic with money but I did struggle initially with the feeling that someone kind of ‘owned’ me. Of course, once I got used to it, the overwhelming feeling is how fortunate I am to be able to take on this role. I have no family close by and so expensive full-time nursery care would be required, not to mention the £3000 train fare to commute into London. It just made sense that I leave.
I look back on my working life now with a great deal of happy memories. I was never a high-flyer and I did flit from one job to the next for a while (largely as I still have no idea what I want to be…) I worked in a beautiful office overlooking the very cool Spitalfields area of London, where the Square Mile and the East End meet. I adored wandering around this area at lunchtime, shopping on Brick Lane, having a drink at the Ten Bells, browsing the market stalls. Of course, I was there to do a job which was in corporate travel. I worked for an investment bank in their travel team, ensuring that their VIPs and important clients were where they were supposed to be. Now, this sounds pretty straight forward and dull I expect. It could be very stressful, intensely pressurised and a thankless task. But it also came with its fair share of glamour and drama too. I always wondered if I could write a book and for a long time I made lots of notes and stored anecdotes with a view to writing about the many shocking, extravagant and extraordinary things that my clients got up to. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it whistle-blowing. But, believe me, when the recession hit and the banking industry imploded, we were still spending the clients money like nobody’s business. The public face of it was that they were cutting back and being prudent, bonuses being cut, luxuries taken away. I was quietly arranging more private jets than ever. The clients were commercially very important people. You need only ask them how important they are for them to tell you in no uncertain terms. Which reminds me of a story I once heard about a man arriving at flight check-in only to be told that he was too late for the flight. His response? “Do you know who I am?” To which the check-in agent responded (over the airport tannoy) “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a passenger who does not know who he is…” Ha! I always reminded myself of this, with a giggle, whenever I was working with someone particularly challenging.
As I sit in the kitchen at 5 o’clock each day, wrestling with a hungry one-year old, I often dream of the restaurants that I was lucky enough to visit in the name of ‘work’. As potential clients, we would be showered with champagne and dined on the best that their Michelin stars could offer. We were given free hotel rooms and the odd free overseas trip too. Quite a world away from my new life in which I can’t see an overseas trip for some time to come. Who could be bothered travelling with a toddler, yikes?! Goodbye Claridges and hello Centre Parcs.
Living close to a small airport, I often see private jets taking off and I wonder if it’s one of my clients with his latest mistress, jetting to the Middle East to secure billion dollar deals. It’s nice to watch them disappear off into the distance, representing me saying goodbye and bon voyage to my old working life and welcome aboard to my new one.