10 Predictions for Noah’s Future Career Choice

What do you want to be when you grow up? A classic question adults ask children to make conversation. Someone asked Noah this question recently. I awaited his answer with interest. He doesn’t really have a proper concept of what a job is. He knows his dad goes to work; he knows I don’t. He knows that pilots drive planes and that astronauts drive space ships and that teachers look after you at school. If you’re a builder then you’re Bob the Builder and if you’re a fireman you’re obviously Fireman Sam. Anyway, according to Noah, he wants to be a dinosaur when he grows up.

In this day and age, it’s never too early to decide what you want to be when you grow up. There are roads into lots of careers nowadays that weren’t available to my generation. There are qualifications in a vast array of subjects which weren’t available when I was at school. Want to be a famous writer? Do a Creative Writing A Level, a Creative Writing degree, a Creative Writing Masters and even a Creative Writing PHD. Want to be a popstar? Go and audition for the X-Factor.

I was raised with the secure belief that when I grew up, I could be whatever I wanted to be. The world was my oyster. I was given every opportunity a child could possibly be given, but most importantly, I had two parents with an unshakable belief in me and everything I did. If I had said I wanted to be a ballet dancer, they wouldn’t have said “yes, of course you do, darling”, whilst sceptically looking down at my ever-so-slightly chunky legs. They’d have arranged lessons, rigged me out in the best sparkly tutu that money can buy, ferried me there and back and sat through every performance, full of pride. And that’s what I want for my Noah. Although, I’m not sure what I can actually do to help him fulfil his ambition to become a dinosaur…

Taking into account his personality and his interests, here are 10 possible careers that might be suitable for Noah in the future:

1. A baker. The boy loves cake. We make a cake every week. I have to limit them to one a week because of my ever expanding waist-line, but Noah would happily make a cake every day. He has even started telling me what kind of cake he’d like to make. Today we made a strawberry cake. We like to be ambitious.

2. A rugby player. He likes jumping on people, climbing over them and tackling them. My husband (the expert) claims Noah has natural skill in rugby. I must admit, I have concerns about this possible career choice already: my Noah has the most beautiful, delicate, perfect shell-like little ears. The thought of them turning into cauliflower ears hurts my heart.

3. An actor. Before the boy could speak, he could act. He is theatrical. He loves dressing up. He does different voices for different toys. He is also a bit of a straight-faced fabricator.

Me: Why were you calling me in the night? You know it’s naughty.

Noah: I was scared. (Does shivery, scared action. Speaks in small, scared voice.)

Me: What of?

Noah: Darth Vader was in my bed.

To infinity!
To infinity!

4. A librarian. Noah likes playing libraries. He likes the order of stacking books. He also likes reading, which helps. Mind you, libraries might be obsolete by the time Noah grows up. I hope not.

A library on the veranda
A library on the veranda

5. A pilot. Noah is a well-travelled three year old. He’s very used to flying back and forth between Vienna and England. He takes flying in his stride. He’s also been to Spain, Florence, Brussels, Helsinki and California. One of his first words was “plane” (although he pronounced it “ham”, I knew what he was saying). One of his first ever sentences (repeated multiple times) was “draw plane” meaning he wanted the nearest available person to draw him a page full of planes. He loves the Disney Planes films. Look Inside an Airport is also one of his favourite books.

6. Technology/media genius. I can’t really tell what specific jobs technology/media geniuses will do by the time Noah has grown up, but he has a definite interest (obsession) with mobile phones, ipads and television. Maybe, instead of it frying his brain and making him a couch potato like some might suggest, it will make him his millions in the future.

7. A naturist. By this I mean a nudist rather than a lover of nature. He strips off as soon as he gets through the front door, even when it’s freezing and I’m in thick socks and two jumpers. I don’t suppose a naturist is actually a career though, is it? But still.

He is rarely dressed at dinner
He is rarely dressed at dinner

8. A dancer. Noah never can resist getting up and boogying to the hot dog dance on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He likes performing to his piano too.

9. A dinosaur hunter. He has a mild obsession with dinosaurs. At church this week the vicar was talking about favourites and how we shouldn’t be prejudiced against people who don’t fit with our ideas about what is best. The vicar (bravely) put the microphone under Noah’s nose and asked what he thought of when he said the word “favourite”. Noah said dinosaur. When we were at Centre Parcs recently, we went to an activity where the children were shown a few different animals. At the start of the session, the woman leading it, asked the children to put their hands up if they had a pet at home. I almost fell off my chair when I realised Noah’s hand was up because I’m pretty sure we don’t have any pets. It seems like I was forgetting about the pet dinosaur we keep at home.

10. A politician. He switches his ears on and off depending on what he wants to hear. He is asked not to do something but does it anyway. He has an answer for everything. Just please don’t be a Michael Gove, my Noah.

Mums' Days

The Adventure of being a SAHM (Part 1)

For those of you who don’t know, a SAHM is a Stay At Home Mom. I write it the American way, because I am sure it was originally an American term. In December, I am moving back to England with Noah and I have been thinking about what I want to do on my return. As a result, I’ve been contemplating my life as a SAHM quite a lot. It’s something I never thought I would be. But here I am.

It’s not a glamorous job.

I have just looked in the mirror. I don’t do this as much as I used to. I no longer stand in front of the mirror when I brush my teeth: I make use of the time by sorting through the washing basket, wandering into my bedroom to get my clothes ready for the day or completing some other one-minute chore. I no longer give myself a full length once-over before I leave the house; it simply doesn’t enter my head. The only time I usually look in the mirror is when I brush my hair back into its daily ponytail, and even then, I only really look at my hair. When I do happen to look in the mirror for longer than five seconds, I am often horrified by how my eyebrows have overgrown without me noticing or by how dry my lips are or how my eyelashes seem to be growing thinner and fairer with age. Sometimes I pause there and try giving myself a smile. It’s horrific. My eyes have a slightly demonic glint – it’s the desperation in me to see the same reflection I would have four years ago. The skin is thinner around my eyes and puckers with the effort of the smile that quickly slides from my face. I don’t hate my appearance. I don’t fret about it. I am just slightly mystified by it.

So, I have just looked in the mirror (standing quite far away) and what I thought was this: have I become a Mumsy Mum? What does mumsy actually mean? I googled it and I found:

  • A woman who has an old fashioned appearance
  • A traditional mother
  • Dull
  • Unfashionable
  • Dowdy
  • Frumpy
  • Inelegant
  • An insult
  • Anti-feminist

Hmm. Poor Mumsy Mums.

Never have I felt more dowdy and inelegant as I did when I had just had Noah. My real clothes didn’t fit me. I was breastfeeding so clothes had to have easy access whilst at the same time being discreet. I made sure I had a shower every day but that was as far as my grooming progressed. I lived in leggings and baggy tops and UGG boots (so used they grew a shiny sheen). I put on just under two and a half stone when I was pregnant (quite normal I am told). After the birth, I immediately dropped a stone but the rest of it wasn’t going anywhere until Noah started weaning. I felt like a frump. I felt like the definition of Mumsy.

And yet…

I felt like I shouldn’t be a mum. Noah was always (a) distressed or (b) feeding. When guests came around, there were no snuggly newborn cuddles. Instead, I looked on desperately as he was passed around like a hot potato to see who could get him to stop crying. There was only one person and that was me, or more specifically, my boob. Health visitors and “experts” claimed babies should settle into routines of feeding every three hours. I was lucky to get an hour unattached. Despite this, he dropped from the 75th to the 9th percentile. I spent my whole existence, morning and night, feeding my child only for him to hover at the top of the 9th percentile for three months. I felt pressure to stop breastfeeding but I refused. I was failing him*. And then there was the love. The love I felt for my child. The desperation I felt to protect him. The load I carried in my mind of all the imaginings of bad things that could happen to him. I just didn’t know what to do with all that love. What had I been thinking, getting myself pregnant and having a child? I wasn’t cut out to be a mother!

*(Of course, I wasn’t really failing him. As he stayed in the 9th percentile, his weight gain was deemed “satisfactory”. We discovered at 3 months that his jaw was out of line. Once that was fixed, he piled on the pounds.)

So when I was looking my most mumsy, I was feeling my least mumsy. So much for that definition. I shall never use it again.

At my most mumsy...apart from the red boots
At my most mumsy…apart from the red boots

But, my appearance has changed since becoming a SAHM. I hardly ever wear make-up. I am always casually dressed. But what do I expect? I never go anywhere apart from to the shops, to the kindergarten and to the park. When I used to go to work, examining myself in front of the mirror was a vital part of the job. Did I have VPL? Who wants a thirteen year old girl sniggering at knicker lines on their backside? Not me. Was my top too tight? Was I showing any cleavage? Who wants a teenage boy distracted even more distracted from their lesson on Macbeth because he’s ogling their boobs? Most certainly not me!

And yet…

Do I buy less clothes since moving to Vienna and becoming a SAHM? Hell no. I buy clothes all the time to cheer myself up. Just ask my husband. He claims I will need to put some of my clothes in storage once we move back to our shoebox in Essex. Ha. What he doesn’t know is that half my clothes are already in storage – all of my work clothes – and they will be coming back out again when we move home. Clothes in storage? I don’t think so, dear.

When I move back to England, I am contemplating being more glamorous like my Mum and my sister. Maybe I will go for facials, get false eyelashes, get my nails done. I will certainly get my fringe cut more often and keep my roots blonde and shiny. Being a teacher isn’t a particularly glamorous job either, but I was always coordinated. In other words, I always had a necklace on to match my outfit. Now I don’t even know where half my necklaces are.

No, being a SAHM is not at all glamorous. But, it does have its blessings. The biggest blessing is time. Yes, a lot of my time involves the experience of tantrums, the hopeless emotional outpourings of a three year old boy. Here is a list of the tantrums I have lived through today:

5.15am – tantrum because I had taken the fan out of his room

8am – tantrum because I tried to force him to count the spots on the dice when we were playing his dinosaur board game and he couldn’t be bothered

1pm – tantrum because he wanted one of the chocolates my husband gave me for our anniversary last weekend and I had eaten the last one

4pm – tantrum because he didn’t want to wear his shoes to walk back from the park

5pm – tantrum because he wanted to use my iPad (I never even said he couldn’t!)

And when I say tantrum, I mean screaming at the top of his lungs. I mean having to avoid a few slaps and jabs. I mean him being inconsolable for at least 20 minutes. If I had gone to work today, I would have only experienced 40% of his tantrums. If I had gone to work today, I’d probably be feeling less fraught. I probably wouldn’t have just eaten four Oreos (I could have stopped at two). But I wouldn’t have been there on the way home from nursery when he decided to run through the sprinklers in the park. I wouldn’t have heard his squeals of glee and I wouldn’t have seen the delight on his face.

Undoubtedly, I have found being a SAHM hard. It has been that much harder because I am living in a foreign country. But it has been precious.

Who needs necklaces when I have my Noah? My darling boy who runs his hands over my face and says, “Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, you’re so beautiful!”

True happiness
True happiness
A great way to cool down in 33 degree heat
A great way to cool down in 33 degree heat

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