I Can Take My Son To His First Day Of School

07/08/2012 14:53 | Updated 22 May 2015

Career change for new school term

Emily Carlisle, 34, has given up the demands and long hours culture of working as a public sector worker and embarked on her new job of full-time motherhood and freelance writing. Her goal for this momentous change was this September and being able to take her oldest son Josh to his first day at school.

Emily, from Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds, is married to Rob, 34, a public sector worker. They have three children, Josh, four, and twin three-year-old daughters Evie and Georgie.

'The defining moment for us came when we sat down as a family for Sunday lunch - something normal families do every single weekend - and my daughter piped up: 'Ohh we're having a party."

It seemed so terribly sad that our time together as a family was so rare.

My husband works shifts. I was on call most weekends, could never make plans and often missed bedtimes. I'd always seen myself as ambitious and driven, wanting to reach senior levels and increase my earnings, but slowly I realised none of that really mattered.

I was missing the kids so very much and found the constant juggling stressful and difficult. My 'Sunday night feeling' began to start earlier and earlier, until I'd be driving home on the Friday evening feeling depressed about going back to work on Monday. I felt run down and sad that the children saw more of our nanny than me.

Ironically, I had been desperate to return to work after my maternity leave. My twin boys were born very prematurely at 28 weeks and were in special care. Josh's brother was five weeks old when he contracted meningitis. He didn't survive. My boys were IVF babies so it a shock not only to discover I was pregnant again when Josh was six months old but with twins, girls this time. I had very post natal depression after the girls were born mixed in with delayed grief for my son, so it had been a relief to return to work.

I wasn't quite at breaking point, but I was within sight of it. I could see if we carried on that way something was going to break, whether our relationship, my relationship with the children or my mental health. My husband was totally behind the decision to change our lives.

So we did our sums, calculated how much I would have to earn without having to pay the nanny and I started sending out pitches to magazines and newspapers. I've always loved writing and done bits and pieces before I had children, but at school journalism wasn't considered a 'proper profession'.

I pitched and I pitched and I pitched and have gradually established myself over the last year as a freelance feature writer. My first commission from a 'proper magazine' was very exciting.

My goal was to be able to give up the day job by September so I could take my son to school on his first day.

He's due to start at the tiny village school and I will the one be holding his hand as we walk up to the entrance, taking those special photographs of his first day and hearing about the day's events in the afternoons to come.

I had my last official day at work in late July and am spending the summer with the kids in between grabbing time to write for magazines.

I can't pretend I'm not very scared of taking on this new job but I'm also very elated that I have achieved my goal of being able to stay at home with the children from September. Now I can say I'm following my dream.'

Emily's top tips to a New Term, New You

Do your sums. It's not enough to just think, " I can make the change." You have to be realistic about how.

Get creative about the ways you can earn money while being there for your children.

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