What the f*** do I do with myself now?

I find myself in a new place in life currently. My eldest has headed off to university, my youngest has started full time school. The middle one continues about where he was albeit with a new year number. My nest, while not empty, is considerably less full.


empty nest image via shutterstock

empty nest image via shutterstock

Me? Well, I am watching House. From the beginning. Am onto series 2 already and Syd has only been full time for a fortnight. Sadly much as I am enjoying it, it isn’t really a career option. Or maybe I should go to Med School and become Head Of Diagnostics at Princeton Plainsboro? Except I am a bit squeamish and a bit daft for that kind of job. And it is a fictional job. Maybe not then.

So what to do?! I say it is a new position, but I have been here a couple of times before if I am honest. I have big age gaps between my three so have been in this ‘what to do with all this extra time, I suppose maybe I should consider getting a job.’ place twice before.

When my eldest started school, I decided I wanted to teach and in order to head in that general direction I started an access course at college.

I really enjoyed it and am sure that I would have gone on to uni, except that by the time I finished my access course, passing with top marks, I was also 6 months pregnant.

Roll on 5 years and my second child started school. This time feeling slightly less ambitious, but nonetheless a bit bored at home, I took a job in a book shop. Working in a book shop was always a dream of mine, love a book me. I enjoyed it. Three days a week was manageable around kids and school holidays.

After 18 months-ish I had a chat with my manager about long term plans , and she was happy to recommend me for management training and I was all set to start after that years summer holidays.

Except that by the time that came around I had gone on maternity leave with my surprise third child. Oops. I didn’t go back after my maternity leave – a combination of wanting to be a stay at home Mum for him, just as I had been for my other two, and the fact it made no financial sense – once you factored in childcare I was no better off, in fact some days my childcare would cost more than I earnt!

And now that baby is at school. There will definitely be no more babies to scupper my career plans this time around. Dr Snip has seen to that! But what the fuck to do?

If my eldest leaving for uni has taught me anything (other than your kid moving 250 miles away will cause leaking eyes), it is that while my children are my world, I am not theirs. I mean, I am a big part of theirs, but they will grow up, leave home and start their own lives. That is as it should be, and I couldn’t be prouder of my girl, or happier for her to be starting a big adventure. I am just feeling a little sad for me as a nineteen year journey comes to a close, or certainly to a point of big change.

It has made me realise I need to start thinking about what will make me happy. One day all three of them will be gone, and when you are mostly a stay-at-home Mum, that means redundancy. I want to find, not a career as such – I have never really been ambitious, but more where my vocation might lie. What job might satisfy me, interest me, and with any luck pay me a half decent wage.

I am in no rush. Syd has only just turned four and I have a strong desire for him to have school holidays at home for at least the first couple of years. But equally I am missing the ‘housewife’ gene, so am unlikely to spend all my new found time on making the perfect Instagram worthy home, but I can’t just watch box sets. Can I?

So step 1 is signing up for an OU course. Just an access one, see if this old brain has anything to offer beyond an extensive knowledge of CBeebies theme tunes. Then maybe a degree. In something useful. Social work perhaps. I’d like to find myself doing something helpful when I re-enter the job market. And I would like to be earning enough to be in profit after childcare is paid for.

But first I have until February when my course starts to indulge myself in some first class laziness and a degree of existential angst about who I am now my babies need me less. If you want me I will mostly be diagnosing lupus on the sofa.

Love Miss Cisco XXX



  1. September 25, 2015 / 10:09 am

    Bugs started school last September and sadly I’m still asking myself the same question. I think i will take a leaf out of your book and sign up to a course or something x
    Sonia recently posted…September Degustabox ReviewMy Profile

  2. September 25, 2015 / 10:31 am

    I’m feeling a lot like this at the moment after my youngest started school a few weeks back! Fortunately we can afford for me to be a stay at home Mum for the time being (and like you say it’s nice if you can be around for the school holidays) but I still feel the pressure that I should be doing something productive, like getting a job. I’ve signed up to help with swimming and reading at the school which will make me feel useful, and I’ve been trying to do a bit of work on my blog although I’m not sure that will really go anywhere. I’ve also been doing quite a bit of sorting out in the house, but I’m not sure that anyone else in the house notices. Good luck with your course!
    Jennifer recently posted…Stepping up our pizza making game with the G3 Ferrari Delizia Pizza OvenMy Profile

  3. Mum
    September 25, 2015 / 12:56 pm

    We didn’t miss you when you left home. You were always popping in for a tin of baked beans or a loo roll. !!! Xx

  4. September 25, 2015 / 1:30 pm

    My son has just started college, and is starting a job next week for the days that he’s not in college, so everything is a weird transition for us all at the moment. Finding myself suddenly (although, I knew it was coming!) the mum of a young adult is hitting me harder than I thought it would, and I’m going to have to find things to occupy my day, in addition to work, because at the moment, that’s all I seem to be doing. Working for yourself does that to you I think, you end up working all the hours, and not much else.

    Good luck with your OU course – I have considered those before, but I really don’t think my brain could cope any more!! x
    Michelle recently posted…My Stay at Home Farm Hotel, Honiton, DevonMy Profile

  5. September 25, 2015 / 1:49 pm

    The course sounds a good idea, but I think this is something we all go through – I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up and I’m getting older and older…..I also think it does sound like you deserve a bit of time for you in the meantime.

  6. September 25, 2015 / 4:20 pm

    it must be a weird feeling having this change in your life, so good you’ve signed up to a OU course! x

  7. September 25, 2015 / 6:55 pm

    My 19 year old also started Uni this year and I miss him badly, however, such is life! I love your idea of studying further…. go for it!

  8. September 25, 2015 / 8:37 pm

    House is brilliant, I would love one term of box sets but I think after that I would need something else. Good luck with your course x
    Bex @ The Mummy Adventure recently posted…CopenhagenMy Profile

  9. September 25, 2015 / 10:24 pm

    When my older two were both settled at school I started an OU course and it gave me a real purpose in life. I’d love to do another one now.
    Anne recently posted…School – The next big step!My Profile

  10. September 25, 2015 / 10:50 pm

    I started doing an OU degree the year we moved down here. Which turned out also to be the year I was pregnant with Smallest, and I was heavily pregnant when I sat the exams. Didn’t go on to the second year funnily enough and now the fees have gone up so much I can’t afford it.
    Jax Blunt (@liveotherwise) recently posted…Saturday snippets 19 September 2015My Profile

  11. September 26, 2015 / 12:32 am

    I would possibly treat this condition with a wide spectrum ant-I-biotic and steroids!!

    Seriously though – I still have to give you your B-day pressie and log needed chin wag! Wednesday, 1sh? xxx

  12. September 26, 2015 / 7:54 am

    It must be such a strange feeling, but I think you’re doing the right thing to take your time over the next step. I’m sure it will work out well for you and your family. Good luck! (And enjoy those box sets!) x
    Sarah MumofThreeWorld recently posted…A birthday trip to DismalandMy Profile

  13. September 26, 2015 / 9:03 am

    I love how your Mum has commented that you were always popping in when you left home!! Sounds like you’re in a transition time which is always tricky as we figure things out but I think your idea of a course sounds like a great idea. The passage you wrote which says “while my children are my world, I am not theirs” resonates- it’s ultimately our job to make ourselves redundant but as Mums, I think our skills lie in the fact that we are chameleons, and have many years experience of being able to respond and adapt to change. Good luck with it all! x
    JuggleMum, Nadine Hill recently posted…The School RunMy Profile

  14. September 26, 2015 / 11:11 am

    Good luck with the Open University course, sounds like a good move. So pleased your girl has settled well at uni, mine has too although it’s still freshers’ week and she hasn’t actually done any studying yet. I’m in a similar position to you, I just have a 15 yr old at home and I’m panicking slightly that she’ll be gone before i know it. What the hell do I do then???p.s. I’ve been watching Sons of Anarchy 🙂
    Jean recently posted…The one where The Teenager goes to universityMy Profile

  15. Gretta, Mums do travel
    September 26, 2015 / 11:43 pm

    The OU course sounds like a great idea. My daughter is hoping to go to Uni next year and I know that I’ll miss her terribly, while being pleased for her at the same time! It will be very strange having just one child at home.
    Gretta, Mums do travel recently posted…Things to do in Cape Cod with kidsMy Profile

  16. September 27, 2015 / 8:18 pm

    Ah you still have Syd to keep you busy! Good luck on your course and until then catch up on all those box sets youve missed over the years x
    Mary Louise recently posted…An Important CastingMy Profile

  17. September 28, 2015 / 9:36 am

    My youngest has just started full time school and there still appears to be not enough hours in the day! Good Luck with your OU course I’ve been doing my degree through them.
    Joanne Dewberry recently posted…3D Box Frame Art with wrap.meMy Profile

  18. September 30, 2015 / 11:55 am

    I can’t recommend the OU enough, I watched my own mum find her feet with one as we grew up and when I left teaching it was my creatuve writing diploma that keep time sane and landed me into blogging. Sending you a big hug, take your time and it will unfold xxx
    Penny recently posted…Home Reflections: Shortlisted in the Amara Interior Blog AwardsMy Profile

  19. September 30, 2015 / 8:26 pm

    Good luck with your course, I hope it goes really well. I worked in a book shop when I was at school and I still think it was my favourite job! My youngest starts school in September and i am already dreading it!

  20. October 1, 2015 / 8:00 pm

    I was feeling like that a few years ago as my youngest was about to start school. I took my self off to college and trained as a teaching assistant and well its bee the best thing I have ever done job wise I love it and no day is the same, yes it can be stressful at times but its such a rewarding job.
    I hope you find what you want to do, I like the idea of starting an OU course, I might just have to have a look into one for myself.
    Rachel recently posted…Fat To Fit Friday week 5My Profile

  21. October 1, 2015 / 10:20 pm

    oh honey, i am sure you will find your place soon enough … btw i think thats a great option for a degree ..after all cbeebies is fab x
    Jaime Oliver recently posted…Pregnancy Update – SeptemberMy Profile

  22. October 9, 2015 / 8:07 am

    Ah sonya, I feel for you because I’ve been through so many of these emotions before but am absolutely dreading the day when my eldest goes to Uni. I am also beginning to realise that I am no longer their world and that’s a tough pill to swallow at first. But as you say, it’s exactly as it should be. Time for us to think about what we really want. I have a couple of jobs now but and that keeps me out of mischievous….or from watching day time TV, which is a start! Best of luck with your case. Sounds a great place to start. x

  23. October 13, 2015 / 11:48 am

    It’s a wonderful place to be and raising three kids takes some getting over. A bit of rest never killed anyone! I don’t know why we British have such an issue around enjoying ourselves but it does seem a peculair thing. Hope you can make the most of this time and congrats on signing up for your course. Was lovely to see you and have a chat about it recently XX
    Anya from Older Single Mum and The Healer recently posted…My Son’s New Girlfriend (Age Six).My Profile

  24. October 20, 2015 / 1:55 pm

    Good luck to you no matter what happens in the next stage of your life. It’s not easy when your offspring have been the centre of your universe for so very long, only to fly the nest leaving you behind. I’m trying to fathom out the ‘what to do next’ stage… and still looking for answers.
    Izzie Anderton recently posted…The Week That Was – 19th OctoberMy Profile

  25. Anna Ghislena
    November 2, 2015 / 12:10 pm

    Hello Sonya, I discovered your website this morning while I was hunting around for stores about rock and roll mamas like me. I have been presented with the “what do i do with my life next?” issue since my kids’ independence has grown along with their heights (my daughter can pick me up now and calls me “little mummy”)

    I think it is great that you are considering an OU course. I have got myself a part time job but I write on my day off and have self published a saucy rock and roll novel much to my mother’s calm horror. I write poetry continually inspired by life and loud music. My work has also started to include themes of motherhood and I having just read this particular blog post of yours, I thought you might be interested in may latest poem, The Cucumber Plot, which you can find here: https://annaghislena.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-cucumber-plot/

    Some of my other gig inspired poetry can be found on Soundcloud : http://www.soundcloud.com/anna-ghislena

    Keep writing Sonya and keep rocking! We are never too old! I find that a heavy night out at a noisy gig can re-energise me for a week!

  26. November 4, 2015 / 11:45 am

    I just discovered your blog and then stumbled on this post. I have this very same situation coming next year and am dreading it. The oldest (a girl) will head off to Uni! Eek! Leaving me with two boys and hubbie at home, so the family dynamics will really change. Already I feel we are in a transition phase as she is becoming more and more independent, following her dreams. As you say, they are such a big part of our world, and we are such a small part of theirs, but they will leave and they will find their own lives. Just as it should be. For the last two years I have studied floristry and become really good at it. It started as a passion, love of flowers where I indulged myself on a friday for two hours. I loved it so much I immediately signed up for a level 2 course locally which was mainly weekends spread over 18 months. Having achieved that, I wanted to go one step further. This last academic year I dived in with both feet and attended a local college 2 days a week (full time), worked part time in a florist and qualified as a level 3 florist and gained distinction in everything this summer. I am really proud of what I have achieved and did my first wedding this summer! I want to now combine my passion for flowers, floristry and love of food somehow. My blogging at Lunchbox World lapsed and the online shop I ran closed in the last year as ecommerce became so competitive. Instead I became a social listener, and pursued my floristry. However I love photography too and am learning how to take better shots. For me, life is for learning and I will always be wanting to better myself and learn something new. So whilst I work out what I want to do, I’m pursuing my passions – food, flowers, photography and seeing where that takes me. I believe the key is finding out what we love, what we are passionate about and enjoy doing, what we want and going after that. Good luck xx
    Caroline Lunchbox World recently posted…What Makes the Perfect Packed Lunch on National Sandwich Day?My Profile

    • November 4, 2015 / 1:27 pm

      Thank you for such a lovely comment – it is good to have time to explore what makes us tick – you are inspiring me to think wider!

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