My first ever blog! Eek!! I guess I should introduce myself, my name is Claire and I’ve been married to my wonderful husband Andy for 6 years. We have two gorgeous girls, Sophie aged 4 and starting school in September (I still haven’t got my head around this yet!) and Ava who is 14 months (crawling and into everything, especially Sophie’s toys).Beth asked me to write this blog quite a while ago. I thought “Yeah I’ll do it straight away!” but it’s amazing how time seems to magically disappear when you’re at work and dealing with two children. Evenings just seem to consist of baths and bedtimes for the girls, having dinner once the girls are finally in bed whilst watching something we’ve recorded on Sky. Then before we know it, it’s gone 9pm and we need to do jobs around the house like washing up, ironing, etc etc. I’m sure many of you will relate to this!
I have finally found time to write this whilst we are away in Weston-Super-Mare (I’ll explain why we are here later) in our hotel room. Thankfully our room has an “interconnecting nursery room” so we’re not all sharing one room. However, Ava isn’t too happy about being in the travel cot right now so Andy is sat with her and Sophie is watching Peter Pan on the tablet. The joys of being away from home!!
I’m diverting off the subject Beth asked me to write about! I have recently made a huge decision about my career and Beth asked me to share it with you all. For those who know me will confirm how much I hate making decisions. I like things to stay the same and I don’t deal very well with change. I don’t take risks, for example, I’ve never been ice skating because I worry too much about breaking every bone in my body. So the decision I’ve made has been a massive one.
It all started five weeks before returning to work from maternity leave. I wasn’t looking forward to going back but I was getting my head around the fact my return was fast approaching as well as wondering how quickly the last year had gone (so much faster than when I was off with Sophie which I didn’t think was possible). The week before Easter I received an email from work to say that I had the chance to apply for voluntary redundancy and if I wanted to apply, this needed to be done within the next two weeks. This was completely out of the blue and to begin with I didn’t give it any thought. I was too busy thinking about Easter egg hunts.
After Easter I realised I needed to spend some time thinking about this and whether this was something I wanted and would realistically be able to do. When returning to work after my first maternity leave I looked into buying a franchise to run a baby and toddler music class. I even had a Skype chat with the owner of the franchise but I didn’t feel brave enough to take the risk. Now with Sophie starting school, I thought this may be an opportunity to again look into running a baby and toddler class. There are many different music based baby and toddler classes in Southampton so I thought messy play might be a possibility. It had been a struggle to find a regular messy play class locally for Sophie and Ava. Messy play is so much fun, but it’s definitely an activity that doesn’t happen often in my house because of all the mess! I’m sure many of you will agree!
I started researching messy play franchises and I came across one called Splat Messy Play. I instantly warmed to it, what the classes involved and the benefits it provides to children.
After realising this is what I wanted to do, how was I going to discuss this with Andy? I was really nervous starting the conversation with him because I was expecting him to be completely against the idea. However, he was completely the opposite, so supportive and he helped me look into costs, potential income and pros and cons of doing this. Basically, he told me if I didn’t give it a go, I would end up regretting it.
Then came the sleepless nights. Could I really do this? What if it’s not successful? How would we cope without my regular monthly wage? I talked about it through with close friends and all were supportive and the response from all of them was “just do it!”. It was such a huge risk but I realised how much I wanted to do this so I did it, I applied for voluntary redundancy.
I contacted the franchisee for the Isle of Wight and asked her many questions and she really helped with my decision. Ava and I were invited to attend a Splat Messy Play class in Newport on the Isle of Wight so I could see the structure of a class and what was involved. Ava absolutely loved it and it was fantastic to see her and the other babies and toddlers so happy. The enjoyment I got from the class made me really excited about the possibility of bringing these classes to Southampton.I returned to work at the end of May not knowing if my application for voluntary redundancy would be successful or not. It was really strange being back and getting my head around what had been happened whilst I was off when in my heart I had moved on. Thankfully a couple of weeks later I found out my application had been successful and I was able to leave at the end of August. I actually found out when shopping in Primark and screamed “YES!” very loudly! Not embarrassing at all…..
We are currently in Weston-Super-Mare because I have my training with the franchise owner of Splat Messy Play tomorrow. I’ve brought the family along with me because we are off to Cornwall on holiday for a week the day after. I’m a little bit nervous but mainly excited. It’s all feeling very real now and I’m looking forward to my new challenge.
Classes start in Southampton and Eastleigh from September and if you are interested in coming along with your little ones, I would love to show you how much fun a messy play class can be! Please visit my Facebook page, Splat Messy Play Southampton and Eastleigh for class details.
Splat Messy Play classes are nationwide – please visit http://www.splatmessyplay.co.uk for your nearest class.