Tuesday 27 March 2012

I was looking for a job and then I found a job....

                     ... and Heaven knows, I am a little bit miserable now, because I can't take it.

I am one of those women trapped in the position of not being able to earn enough to pay for the childcare I need to work. I was lucky enough to be offered some hours working as a receptionist in a local GP surgery, and though the pay was a low hourly rate, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get back into paid employment. But when I checked out the childminding costs, it just doesn't stack up financially, especially considering that in the school holidays (all 13 weeks of 'em), I would be paying out double what I earned.

It's been hard to do, but I've had to say no. I can't bring myself to work for not much more than nothing, given all the additional stress and hassle which accompanies working when you have young kids. Is that the right decision? I don't know, I'm conflicted about it. Reality has slapped me in the face like a cold wet fish; I probably won't be in a position to work until the kids are old enough not to need childcare. And Smallest is only 6...

Work isn't the be-all-and-end-all, is it? I have a young family, and I do a ton of voluntary work at school and for the PTA, and I sell clothes on Ebay. So why do I still - after 6 years - find it so tricky to answer that loaded question, "What do you do?" I do a lot. I just don't get paid for it.

     Right. Got that off my ba-bongos (thank you, Karen, for improving my vocabulary on a regular basis).

              And anyway, you wouldn't want to give your urine sample to this woman, would you? Haha!

Yes, I'm back indoors. And do you know why? Because the gloriously unseasonal sunshine in the UK is bringing the neighbours out into their gardens, and I'm too shy to take my tripod out and pose with them watching. How do I get over that? I don't generally care too much what anyone thinks of me, but the charge of being vain or narcissistic makes me feel very embarrassed. I don't blog pictures of me because I think I'm beautiful, far from it. But how to explain it to neighbours?

   1960s Mr Darren maxi dress (Ebay), vintage fruity hair decoration (flea market), bangles (charity shop), turquoise pendant (gift)

            Oh good grief, I think we've had enough angst for one post. It's too gorgeous a day to be moaning.

                                                      So I'll try to make you ladies laugh instead.  

A couple of weeks ago, lovely Clare sent me this beautiful cheongsam (and a great Jaeger blouse and a vintage scarf too, will post about those later.) I love the dress but oh dear, it's a little big. And that caused me to pull this face. It ain't pretty...

                                                                             That's more like it!  

This is how I want it to fit, but since I can't go around with clothes pegs nipping in the back of my frock, I need some expert seamstress advice. There is a side zip, so my usual trick of taking a dress in down both sides won't work. Will it look lopsided if I just take in one side? I can't take the zip out, as I'll never be able to get the dress on! Should I cut it down the back and create a seam there? How do I ensure it sits flat? I don't want to ruin this dress, I love it, but it needs to fit. Help!

I have decided I need to up my Ebay game and get selling a bit more, so this is in my pile of vintage frocks to photograph and list. Isn't it a fabulous blast of 1980s kitsch?

                          Look at those Carmen Miranda-inspired shoulders. Mine's a pina colada. Cheers!



Vix said...

What a shame about the job, still it must be a huge ego boost to get an offer when you stop to think of how many applicants they undoubtedly had so well done!
The Mr Darren frock is gorgeous and the side seam method is my only way, too. It's a fab dress, You could remove the zip, take it in at the seams and if you're too chicken to replace the zip (it's not too hard, honest) you could cheat and use press studs.
Show us that insane 1980s frock on, I dare you! xxxx

Anonymous said...

Urgh, that sucks about the job... And I'm with vix, I wanna see your hair!! xo

Anonymous said...

I meant the 80s dress... Urgh, I've been talking about hair non-stop today!! xo

Jan said...

What a shame about the job ,loop wholes in our crazy system Grr..What is your ebay address ...love Jan xx

Helga said...

It's insane,you can't afford not to work,but you can't afford to work!I see it time and time again,it's cruel.I don't know shit about kids,but I reckon if you can manage not to work,it means you're there more for them,and that's a good thing,right? It's got to be difficult,whatever you do.But you do look deivine in that first frock,and I'd gladly give you my urine sample!
The cheong sam is heavenly! There'll be darts in the back and possibly front? I would take a little in on all darts (and make them longer) and a little off the sides as well.....I'm a bit gung ho as a seamstress,butt hat's how I would do it!Make it work,as Tim would say!
That 80's frock doesn't shock me as much as it would of a year ago.You'll have to try harder!
Love you!

doradadama said...

So sorry about the job amor.
I would hand you my urine in that marvelous blue bright frock. You have to show me more leg though.
What stunnng Chinese dress, hope to you modeling that cha cha dress.
Love your Smiths lyrics.

Rose&Bird said...

Well done on being offered the job, even if you can't take it!
I'm in a similar situation as you, Curtise, though Baby2 hasn't yet arrived so that's at least 4 years before I don't need childcare! Ebaying like a woman possessed is a good option, although there are lots of work from home things (feel free to send me an email if you want a chat about that - I've tried loads!).

Loving the Mr Darren dress - will have to look out for some of those! I'd second Helga's suggestion for taking in the cheongsam, alternatively you could create darts if there aren't any existing ones (again feel free to shout if you need any advice). The Carmen Miranda dress is cute - normally I wouldn't dare wear 80s, but I like that one!

Vintage Coconut said...

Sorry to hear about the job. But you know it might be a good thing... cause how the hell would you have made time to visit all of us with a job, the PTA, your children, the Laundry & cooking meals.... I mean seriously!
We would much rather have you here taking pics for us. I would tell you "WHO CARES what the neighbors think" But I am neighbor shy myself. I have a NOSY neighbor... she's always peeping through the shrubery to see whats going on. I am afraid if she spots me in a 70s frock it might snap her brain and send her on a acid trip. Then she will call everyone she knows on her cordless and tell them I am on some heavy drugs and need a Intervention or something. (SERIOUSLY SHES A LITTLE ODD)
I would rather take pics out in public, in front of people I will probably never have to see again. Then I don't have to worry about what they are thinking or going to ask me. *haha*
I love you in that blue floral dress it looks so comfy and fun.
I have no doubt you will look gorgeous in the cheongsam once you get it fitted. Hopefully a seasoned sewer will have some good advice for you.

Scarlett said...

Well done for being offered the job even though you cant take it. I am completely with you on the whole work/childcare business. If it wasnt for my mum being able to have my little man a day and a half a week i'd be working just to cover the nursery fees - they are crazy expensive! I think if i have any more bubbas then i would certainly have to give up the work and would be paying more than i was earning.
But hey ho, means you can continue looking bloooming fabulous in your outfits! Scarlett x

Scarlett said...

Well done for being offered the job even though you cant take it. I am completely with you on the whole work/childcare business. If it wasnt for my mum being able to have my little man a day and a half a week i'd be working just to cover the nursery fees - they are crazy expensive! I think if i have any more bubbas then i would certainly have to give up the work and would be paying more than i was earning.
But hey ho, means you can continue looking bloooming fabulous in your outfits! Scarlett x

Miss Simmonds Says said...

Being a GP receptionist is hard work anyway, you wouldn't want to come home to lively children after a shift where many coughing old people had moaned that the doctor was running late and it's YOUR fault - yes YOU.... Why can't I have that blood test now since I'm here? Errr Because the nurse has gone home.... Why can't the doctor do it? Um, because they don't do blood tests... etc etc, I know it all. I avoid patients at all costs now. Never again!

Tell people you're a charity events co-ordinator and fashion entrepreneur as well as a domestic management specialist and lifestyle blogger.

Can't wait to see the cheongsam when it's been sorted, I knew that colour would look great on you, even if it is a spring colour and you're an autumn...

let me know your ebay id and I'll add you! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

Oh I completely understand about the work thing, it sucks. Sorry there was no way to make it work out, it's so very hard unless you have willing family on hand to take on some of the childcare. But I would have HAPPILY handed you my little pot of wee ;-)
I've started saying 'I'm a writer' now when people ask what I do - I don't think it's that untrue!

You look AMAZING in that cheong-sam, you're so lucky to be able to pull it off. I think it actually looks good enough that people would be willing to over-look the clothes pegs...


WendyB said...

Too bad about the job. But I agree, it's not worth doing it if it practically COSTS you. Beautiful dresses.

Robert Barnsley said...

You look far too glamorous for wage slavery Curtise.

his_girl_friday said...

Oh man, this post pushes my buttons. My mom was a stay-at-home mom and she got a lot of crap for it. I'm not a mom, but if I become one, I might want to be a stay-at-home mom. And when people (hypothetically in the future) ask me what I do? I take care of kids! It's a lot of work! It's a valid way to spend your time! That is all.

Kitty said...

Darl I'd give you any kind of sample in that dress, LOL!!
But seriously, childcare fees must be hideous there- isn't it government subsidised for christs sake?!
Here we pay $20 a day for an 11-hour day, thats less than 15 pounds.

Melanie said...

Congrats on the job offer in itself. Now onwards and upwards. Being a mum is valid in itself. If someone asks What do you do?, the obvious answer would be What don't I do?!

For pics, hide your camera and tripod in the bushes, get yourself a remote shutter release, go out gardening in your beautiful frocks, and every once in a while, strike a pose and snap! That will get the neighbours' interest - hopefully they'll all start wearing dresses while they garden too, and striking poses at random!

I looove your cheongsam! Here's what you do: You sew 2 little darts in the front and 2 in the back, or just 2 in the back if you can get away with it. It's not very hard and I don't think it will mess up your fabric pattern. Will that work? You must wear this incredible piece!

Anonymous said...

oh, oh, oh, how much would the dress and the shipping be on that dress? I'm smack dab in the middle of the USA.

Can't help with the alterations to the Cheongsam.

As for nosy neighbors, tell them you're taking pics for the your eBay store.

Anonymous said...

Afterthought: I did not work for many years because of my children. I tried, just as you have been tempted, but eventually gave it up as the children were always sick...from being in daycare.

Vintage Bird Girl said...

I love that swishy maxi frock. Such fabulous fabric. Don't you just hate the "What do you do" question? I'm unable to work due to my chronic illness & that is a question I dread. How can I explain all that I do do, but because it's not paid work it doesn't seem to count to some people. I think being there when your kids are still young is far more important then earning some extra money, if you can afford it. But at least you know you are employable! Xx

Unknown said...

Sorry about the job situation - I know Annabel's day care is about $100 a day and since you have three kids (and I presume you would need private care, since the older ones wouldn't be able to go to day care) I can only imagine how prohibitive the costs would be.

You look absolutely gorgeous in that first maxi - I LOVE the colours and the necklace is beautiful too - I have zero idea about the cheongsam, and anyway my sewing machine is still stuck in reverse, so I am the wrong person to ask about anything sewing related.

As for taking pics in front of people - I don't much care what people think - I just smile and wave and keep doing what I'm doing!

Love! Sarah xxx

Penny-Rose said...

Love the maxi dress it is divine. As for the Chinese one, I agree with comments about darts, in the front and the back.

Melanie said...

You look gorgeous in those dresses and I agree, it's such a shame about the job, it's something that is being seen time and again, childcare is just too high and then you get that question from people .. like what you're doing isn't enough and you should do more and be poor from the privilege.


Louise Mc said...

I love your dresses and I'm totallt jealouse of the cheongsam. Why don't you remove the zip, take it in both sides and then re-insert the zip.

It's a shame about the job, but you can't do something that's going to make you worse off. If anyone asks your job, well you're a full time mother, isn't that a great job anyway? Xx

Unknown said...

Its so hard being a mummy sometimes and no matter what anyone says its a job that never ends and has no finish. You do so much and sadly no we don't get paid for it. I was a single mum for 6 years and my youngest was only 4 at the time i used to work 2 nights a week and leave the boys with my neignbour over night and i used to pay her a little money i had no family here and couldn't afford to pay childcare during the day. I hated it though and i managed to get a job in the local College and then a school which has been amazing an allows you the holidays off paid with the children i couldn't manage without a term time contract. But don't feel bad something will come up and in the mean time sell on ebay and enjoy your time with the little ones because it really does go so quickly. Love your dresses i would undo it at the back and remove the zip and take it in that way it really isn't that difficult you might be suprised ;-)) dee xxx

lovesjetlag said...

Congratulations Dear Curtise for the job offer, I agree with Vix it is a great ego boost...I am 40 years old and the company where I have worked until last year (been there 9 years)fired me to replace me with a much younger woman with no children and an apprentice contract (ie in Italy it translates into 300 euros per month);
It's good you live in a country where women who have been away from work for some years are given a chance to make a come back even though the pay is low..here in Italy no one would want to hire a 40 something who's been away for some due to child care, unless she is a manager of some kind or an electronics engineer..it is really a shame how mothers in Italy are marginalized, and if you are lucky to get a job the costs of childcare are exhorbitant (650 euros a month) if you don't live in the typical Italian situation with the mother in law next door (very suffocating for most...)You can't imagine how much I understand you, every day people ask me and now, what do you do? It gets so much to my nerves that people just can't mind their own business because they don't ask out of concern but because here schadenfreude is a very popular attitude...be patient anyway you will see in a couple of years probably you will get other offers..btw GP receptionist here is a very coveted job, they don't take samples because tests are only made in hospitals, they just take appointments and write prescriptions..the patients are in total awe of them because they have total control of the GP agenda...you should see on christmas they are heaped with the presents, because you never know they might put a good word for you....

Fiona said...

Congrats on your offer of employment Curtise, I can understand why you feel frustrated about it,I have heard this time and again from friends. In my opinion what could be better for your children than being at home for them. (hope that does not make me sound like a tree-hugging god-botherer!) You are much too nice to be a Dr's receptionist anyway, ours are into interrogation! My advice would be to stick with ebaying and those rude people who think less of you because you don't work aren't worth knowing anyway. (I hate the questions 'what does your husband do?' and 'have you got kids?' (I must be a freak not to have either, right?)
Love love love your Suzy Wong dress, it looks fab on you, you must alter it. xxxxxxxx

Forest City Fashionista said...

I have a couple of friends who are Moms and have the same dilemma--unless you can find a job that pays well enough to have some left over after childcare, it's just not worth it. It's terrible that society doesn't regard "stay at home" moms as having a job, just as important and as stressful (sometimes more so)as those of us who do the 9 - 5 thing. You should be damn proud of the work you do raising your offspring as well as volunteering, etc. I couldn't do it, which is why I chose not to. It must have been a nice boost to the esteem to have been offered the job though--congrats!

Love the Cheongsam, but as I'm not a sewer I'll leave the alteration advice to those in the know. I'm kinda crushing on the black dress with the rainbow shoulder puffs...

Bespoke Biddie said...

for totally different reasons find it hard to answer the question of what do you do, but I've decided to make up fanciful titles that make people jealous and then list all my duties if they ask and i feel inclined to share. you should totally try it!



Bespoke Biddie said...

for totally different reasons find it hard to answer the question of what do you do, but I've decided to make up fanciful titles that make people jealous and then list all my duties if they ask and i feel inclined to share. you should totally try it!



lucy joy said...

It'd be crap working at the doctor's surgery. All doctor's receptionists are grumpy. You're too cool for such a job. You should have a shop or something. Looking after children is no longer seen as commendable because so many people are crap at it. Your children so obviously mean the world to you, and will turn out well-rounded, confident and successful, They can pay you back for the years you didn't work when they're older and have careers!
Having a job always seems like a good thing when you haven't got one, doesn't it? And when you're working, staying home is such a desirable option.
Keep making us smile with your posts, and wow us with your beautiful clothes, that's your job!

Unknown said...

Hi Curtise,

Shame about the job but like you said you will be working for next to nothing plus the stress of it all. I know in our world, staying home mothers are not seen as productive individuals, i think it is crap! You probably work harder than me at the end of the day.
Do not feel bad, you are doing the best job in the world taking of your family, i would trade place with you any day i tell you!
Volunteer work is great, it will pay off!

About taking pics outside, tell the neighbors you are an international blogger! People all over the world can not wait to see what you wear!

But i know i feel funny sometimes, but after 5 seconds i do not give a damm...they can think whatever they want...like Helga says it is all about me!

Lots of love

Ariane xxxxx

karensomethingorother said...

First of all, love your two dresses at the top--especially the floral one!

Yes, there's a great allure for a woman to have her VERY OWN spending money, and that wonderful sense of independence, and that wonderful feeling of being truly vital in everyone else's eyes, and our own...which is stupid, because our "job" at home is a damn important one anyway

such is the way of the ego.

I was at a wedding with The Man and some work colleagues a few years ago, and one of the women actually dumbed down the conversation to some housewifery related things for me. It was subtle, but I noticed it.

And you are very welcome for ba-bongos, and all the other stupid words I concoct.


Vintage Sweetheart said...

I think you have made the right choice! if there's no money in it you may as well enjoy your time with the kiddy winks and revisit the idea of work when they are older. on to the fun stuff now, that's a gorgeous frock you always rock the maxis!! xxx

Trees said...

It's a shame you can't take that job, but there will be others. Enjoy spending time with the kids now, I am sure they appreciate having mum at home.

I love that 80's tastic frock!

The Pink Flamingo said...

wow!!! I'm falling in love with the last dress, the black one with colred applications!!

Krista said...

So many of my girlfriends struggle with child are cost vs. what you actually make, it's tough! Moms have the toughest but most important job in the world and don't let anyone make you feel otherwise ever! What's your eBay store?
You found some lovely stuff here and hot dam that japanese number needs to be fixed because it's hot on you!

I love you sweetie!

Stacey said...

I know my Mum faced the same problem when she was trying to get back into the workforce after having me & my brother. I love all these frocks, but especially that last one you've got for listing on ebay. Those shoulders!

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Oh the cheongsam is just gorgeous!! I would sew darts on each side of the back of your new frock, then you don't need to take the zip out! The 80s frock is gonna FLY out of your eBay store!!! Oh hon, such a dilemma and I've been there myself. Do NOT beat yourself over this, it's just not worth it - the GP surgery job that won't cover the financial and emotional cost of caring for a young family is guaranteed to make you feel ... not good. I've been thinking about how incredibly involved you are with the kids' schooling and how much people must rely on Curtise the Fabulous to get the job at hand done beautifully:)). Big hugs to you hon, Desiree xoxoxoxoxo