Freelancing through the holidays

For me, working in the school holidays is a very different beast to my peaceful termtime work sessions. It is snatched half-hours while the children watch CBeebies, evenings after they are in bed, the occasional luxurious hour or two while someone else takes them out. I’d be surprised if office workers ever had to break the flow of their concentration to stop a fight over a Lego minifigure, or set up the equipment for someone to make a garden ‘salad’ out of random leaves.

But this is the trade-off for being there for school runs, class assemblies, and playdates, and of course not having to pay eye-watering childcare costs. And even when I’m not working during these holidays, my six-year-old is always keeping my DC and Marvel brain ticking over by asking me which super heroes can fly, or which DC and Marvel characters match (Flash and Quicksilver, for example, and apparently Martian Manhunter and Vision because they sort of look the same!). And which dinosaur would I be from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods – I’m hoping one day to get a nice prehistory book to do so that all this acquired knowledge can be put to work!

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Baby brain: Mummy myth?

It has been just over four years since I had my first baby, and a year since I doubled my brood to two. Before taking the leap off the precipice into the chasm of parenthood (possibly a slightly negative analogy), I was an editor and sometimes writer in the publishing industry. So I would have considered myself quite a creative person. Sometimes I would even have IDEAS.

But since the arrival of my two (beautiful) children, my previously reliable brain has been struggling to get going. If called upon (and just take a moment to think about the length of time I’ve stared at the screen trying to finish this sentence, a great weight of irony on my shoulders) to recall where I left something, or where I know that person from, or to come up with an idea for a blog post, say, it shrugs its brainy shoulders. Nothing.

Nil desperandum. I have faith. All my poor brain needs is a little exercise. A mental jog round the block, and then probably a bit of a rest, bent double and wheezing noisily. But under there somewhere, in the grey matter calcified by thinking only of what I need to pack in the change bag – how many nappies, bottles, changes of little clothes – is my former brain. Okay, it’s a few years older, but once it’s back to something of its previous fitness, I think me and my brain can have a productive working relationship once again.

I think any brain, if underused for a period of time, is going to get lazy. It just so happens that a very common way for a woman of certain age to slack off in the brain department is to have children. And hence baby brain – from my experience at least, a very real phenomenon.

Do you need help with words?

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