Saturday, 21 April 2012


I feel pretty distraught today. And to make matters worse when I go to blog the whole system thing has changed and I can't see the bar anymore that lets me upload photos etc. Helpfully the thing says that a different site is now powering the blog and if I have problems go to google chrome - which I downloaded and still I have problems... Oh to be technically aware... And it seems when I publish this it won't let me have any spaces - no paragraphs....

ARRGGGGHHHHHH I just sobbed on the phone to my best friend for half an hour.

I feel trapped. In a fishbowl. Going round and round and round and just sending myself loopy.

I feel I am boring you all and driving away my readers - what few I have. If the fabulous 8 who reached out and supported me two years ago - are still here - my god I need you now.

I'm not even capable of writing anything - but I feel I need to say this.

I feel frustrated. Angry. Lost. Scared. Sick. I feel a fucking failure.

You see I've always worked hard. Every penny I got in life I have earned. No silver spoon luxury for me - which is great - because earning things is rewarding and tastes even sweeter. I'm the girl who went travelling round the world - a gap year they call it now - and still I did work experience in every country I went to. So ambitious, I worked for free in a NZ radio station every Tuesday and when I lived in Melbourne I had my own radio show at a community radio station. I was the only woman there who shaved her pits. The place smelled of incense masking B.O. but I loved it. Whilst all other travellers where getting stoned and shagging each other (a blanket to cover their modesty on a top bunk bed) - I was writing the script for my little show, hassling folk for interviews and planning song lists.

Upon returning home to the UK, once I finally got a job (I sent 10 CVs out a day. I sent them in valentine cards and Xmas cards. I rang people until I knew the secretaries so well we became friends) - after spending 6 months folding jumpers at the Gap - I worked tirelessly to get other presenting jobs: my methods involved taking boxes of muffins to TV big wigs, with my showreel stuffed in the bottom - or sending a reel covered in sweets - or once I sent a reel with a helium balloon attached. Anything to get someone to watch the damn thing. I called one guy every other week for a year until he caved in and gave me work. Instead of partying with buddies, I spent nights locked in dark edit suites, persuading friends to edit my reel into something watchable. You name it - I tried it - all in the vain quest for work. I did a screen test 5 weeks after having my son - nipples leaking as I waffled on about some inane quiz. I still got the job - for 3 whole months, until the channel shut down. I flew to Ireland when my son was 3 months old - and got another job. It involved me flying to Ireland every week - with a 4 month old baby. I did it and I loved it. The series never got recommissioned. The presenting jobs dried up.

I was 33, with a baby and no job.

What did I really want to do? I wanted to work in TV drama, I just had no idea how to. So I wrote to 8 people in the industry. 7 replied. I met with them all - they said, pick a soap, fall in love with it - and get work on it. Then the world in TV drama will be your oyster. Only problem was there are only 7 soaps in the UK and only 2 in London. Still, I spent a year endlessly watching soaps and dramas and making copious notes. Eventually I got a break - I moved to York for a month - did a 3 hour commute every day and got offered a job on a soap which I had to decline as Husband and home where in London. Finally the soap I really wanted to work on called. In the interview, I started pulling out my notes - notes on shows from 7 months previously. They looked at me as if I was mad. But they gave me the job. I was happy there - for two years, until I had to leave - their policy. You know this story, I won't bore you with it again. Since then - apart from a stint back at the same place for 4 months - I haven't worked.

I had my daughter in Dec 2010 and she is 16 months old. 16 months and no job. The most sociable woman in the world - the woman who can talk a glass eye to sleep - has been alone. With kids. Last September when the post partum depression set in - it was also coupled with 'what the fuck am I going to do?' I wrote to about 20 companies. 3 replied. I met with one. No jobs... No jobs. The recession hit TV hard and unless you were prepared to script edit a show that would move to film in Leeds/York/Manchester for 3 months - then there were no jobs. I know, I thought, I'll write a book! I wrote 15,000 words - gave them to a writer friend who loved it - sent it the agent woman I had had a relationship with (in the work sense) for 5 years. She never replied. I re sent it. She never replied.

So I came up with my crazee plan. Oh yes I did. I wrote a script for an American series. Called up the guy I knew years ago in showbiz TV (the one I called every other week for a year back in '98) - and asked him for a drink. Then I confessed to him that I wanted to give my script to Peter Berg - director of Battleship - because then he just might hand it over to the guy (his mate) that I need to read it. I got a friend to script edit my script - and I polished it. My mate Max - kindly organised for me to go to the junket (where you sit in a room with the actors and director and chat about the movie and it gets filmed). Friends wondered if I was back in presenting again - asking why was I interviewing Taylor Kitsch etc. I lied - said it was a favour for a mate - when in reality, he was doing me the favour. So day of junket arrives and I go, and I am nervous and sweaty palmed and I interview Berg and give him my little USB stick and he promises to pass it on. Has he - who knows? Maybe I will never know. And I get to meet Taylor Kitsch. Bonus. My crazee crazee plan. Told it was looney didn't I? God I am rambling. I don't think I have ever written such a rambling incoherent blog post. Sorry.

Anyway, I have other parts to this plan - others similarly crazee things I won't bore you with. So here I am. No money. I mean nothing. Don't buy clothes, don't go out for drinks, dinner etc. No joy. Just grind. Daily kid stuff and trying to make food last all week. Sometimes I just eat toast. Saves a meal. Husband is beyond stretched. He earns a good salary but it means we barely scrape by. Something has to give. Husband hates his industry - wants to change, but can't afford the drop in salary - but he could if I was working. Husband wants to be the stay at home parent - but he earns more than I could - so he has to work, in a industry he hates - until I can work and then he can think about re-training or changing his job - taking a pay cut. I want to work. I WANT TO WORK. So badly it hurts. But I have no idea how to.

My friend rang me this week - she has a son, a fraction older than Sproglette - and she had a nanny share. It went wrong and so she looked for another nanny - which she worked out cost £27,000 a year. If I had a nanny - which I would have to do if I worked in London as jobs there end around 6, I'd be home by 7ish and nurseries all close at 6pm here - I would be working to pay her. I would barely make enough after paying her and travel costs to warrant it worthwhile. That is even if I was lucky enough to get some script type job in London that didn't involve travelling away for 3 months whilst filming. I am now 39, with 2 children and no job. I look around me - I have one friend who moved countries whilst on maternity leave, took a year sabbatical and then went back - and got her job 3 days a week. I have another who took shares in the company she works for when it started up (the one where her boss tells her to work 4 days and answer the phone at home on day 5 and they will pay her for the whole week anyway) and she cashed it in for £300,000. I know another couple where one until recently was a student - the other gets an allowance from her mother of £2,000 a month - and she doesn't work. Her daughter is at school - so she just has me time. That would dtive me nuts I know - but my god, I would write!!! I would write and not stress about money. I would eat!!! Another friend moved back to Australia (he had done the same job as me) and said 'I have so much work, I am having to turn it down!' I sit here and wonder - what went wrong me? All around me I see these people who make it work - they have babies and go back to their cushy jobs and life is ok. How did I end up here?

At the junket I met all these guys who were there to interview the Battleship folk - for their websites. I was shocked - back in the days when I interviewed Will Smith and Di Caprio etc there was only a handful of TV folk there. A few channels covering it. But now - it is all web stuff! I thought - I can write. I can - usually - just not in this rambling crap post. I could do that stuff! But how to? Where to begin? A frined came round yesterday and she said 'you need to think outside the box.' I am trying to!!!

I want to work. I need money. I am lonely and fed up and don't know how to get this job that would be finacially worth it after paying childcare. I feel like I am punished for having a sceond child. I feel angry that all my hard work to break into TV - twice, in two different arenas - has left me here. With nothing. Failing. I look around and everyone else has money for holidays, and big cars - not that I care about cars - they get from A to B as far as I am concerned - and I don't even know how to pay next month's bills.

Why am I here? I am angry at myself for not getting a normal job - a job that paid bills and had healthcare plans and maternbity and all the things I have never ever had. Sure I had fun - but what price? So will I gadded to Paris to present kids dating shows, and interviewed the stars and friends ooh and ahhed - they are the ones now earning fortunes and feeling secure - and I am where exactly? No one knows what to say to me. How to help. How to advise. I can't afford to meet up with friends to have a drink and plan a strategy out of here. Out of this limboland.

I want out. I am going slowly mad. So for all of you who don't like me out there - you can put the voodoo doll down now. It is working a treat thanks. I am wretched. I am frustrated. I chose to have another child and it has cost me. I do not regret it but I do not know how to get out of this mire that I am in - and I am tired of being in my own head. Until I think of a solution, I need to take a break from blogging - as really there is nothing else to share.


I read in Stylist magazine that a recent study showed that 30,000 women a year were losing their jobs, as a result of being pregnant. Women make up 49.4% of the workforce in the UK are women, 1 in 5 are the household's main breadwinner and we earn 14.9% less than men in the same job - and in the last quater 8 out of 10 people to lose their job were women. One woman in the article couldn't afford the £1,300 childcare it would cost her if she returned to work (she lives in the same area as me) so she became a blogger. I have no idea how that paid her money... But she is far from alone. What were the A levels and degree and endless CV send outs for - when you have a child and have to give it all up? Why the inequality? Why the fight?

Do we have the choices that the women of the 50s didn't? Think about it - do we really?


A said...

I am still here reading. I'm sorry you're feeling this way at the moment. I can only imagine how tough it is and how hopeless things feel right now.

Thinking outside the box, have you considered something as radical as moving to Oz and starting there anew? Your husband is Aussie isn't he? There seems to be work out there. You know people there. You could start afresh. Somewhere new to inspire you. And a great sunny outdoorsy place to raise kids. Just a thought.

I am thinking of you and hope you get a break soon.


jkelsofarrell said...

Have you considered teaching? I'm in the US and there are a number of universities and even high schools that want people with "real world" experience in a variety of fields to teach practical courses. If you look at online teaching, that might even open up more opportunities.

We are punished for our biology and while we theoretically have more options than our grandmothers/mothers did, in reality, we're still beholden to the same social structures/conventions and financial needs as those who came before us. Actually, more financial needs now that there is virtually no good free education (at least in the US).

Anonymous said...

I read all your entries, I just don't have anything to say sometimes, but I still love it. I don't really understand why you stay living where you are. You said the work in Yorkshire led to a job, but that husband was where home was - would he move? I read all the time about various tv staff refusing to re-locate and work out of Salford, could that not be a place you could be? It may be worth some serious thought all round between you and your husband? In the meantime, rest that head of yours and give yourself a break, you never give yourself a break, what you have achieved is evident and you've no right to feel a failure or lay that label on yourself. Much love and care to you x x x

Crummy Mummy said...

You guys are lovely for posting. Strangely enough I would love to move.... Not to oz though. I wish I could go to the states. Over there everyone seems to appreciate ambition and wants you to succeed, in a way the Brits don't. Funnily enough I have been reading over my old blog posts and this record has been in the blog charts for too too long. It is time to change things. Husband got made redundant last night (Last and most expensive one in, first to go) and so it all got a bit much. But am I blessed. I am healthy. I have my freedom. Funnily enough I did used to teach presenting! I need to be industrious nd try and find some writing work I can do from home. I will make changes. Thank you all for being there for me. I would happily return the favour anytime. X

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the predicament in both your jobs, but I look at life in chapters and really see the London chapter perhaps drawing to a close. You can write from anywhere in the UK or elsewhere where life is more affordable. You are correct in saying you have freedom to choose, especially now that you are not tied by jobs. It just takes courage to change but you seem to have that in spades judging from your persistence in the past. Don't give up. Say "fuck it" to London - you certainly will not be alone there - and embrace the new chapter.

Tegan. said...

I agree, Sell the over priced house in the fancy suburbs - kids don't need that to grow up happy. I feel like you often with three kids barely a drop of casual work and a hubby that now goes to uni full time in the day and works nightshift full time!!! We have not a spare cent and some days are just horrid. But my/our time will come. The kids will not always be this small. A few short years (that may seem long at the time) and she will be in school too. As for Oz - how could you not want to live here? What a lifestyle!! ;) xx

Crummy Mummy said...

Guys it isn't so simple to say fuck it to London... Our son is very settled in school here, and we love our area... The pretty canal and a bunch of friends we have taken years to build up. Husband also needs to work in London as his kind of work is mainly based there. But I take your point. My whole plan would be to move to a place where I can be the breadwinner and he could mind the kids, which we both would love. Part of my crazee plan is working towards that. I so appreciate every comment. It makes me feel not so alone in it all. Xxx

Brittanymum said...

I'm still here too ..haven't missed an entry!
I know the feeling when you wonder "where did I go wrong in life???" ... everyone around me seems richer,house owners, as we still rent and have too much MONTH left at the end of the MONEY!!

My hubby just had a major deception in work finanicially wise, and as you say, I want to ask that person to stop the pins in the voodoo dolls! But then I breathe and say to mlyself "ok, I'm still here, my hubby's still here 16years after, we're all in good health and it would be a hell of a lot worse if we were looking for money to get our kids some rare medical treatment, rather than pay a school canteen bill." Sometimes this type of thinking works (and sometimes I tell myself to shutup and f off!)... and you know what, grass is always greener on the other side, ALWAYS! Even that friend of your's that lives on the farm land envies somebody something!
The idea to move may be worth keeping in a corner of your mind ... dont worry about sproglet settling into another school - if he's a smidgen as sociable as you he'll be settled in a flash!

good luck girl! you're not alone ... I still have a bottle of vino in the fridge for when you want a weekend away! E said it might be just what the doctor ordered for her ...maybe for you too?? xx

Daycare Lady said...

Still here also - wish I had some words of wisdom for you but I don't. I feel like i've been cycling in the sand for the last 4 years myself and getting nowhere.
Just know you are so not alone. 4 years ago I turned down a job in a big advertising agency because of my then 2 year old son. I am a single parent in Florida and all of my family live in the UK. (Can't go back to UK with my son because of legal issues with my ex). I ended up starting a licensed child care business in my home so that I could take care of my son properly. I work ten hours a day plus some weekends, the money is inconsistent and barley covers my expenses. There is not enough time or money for any kind of a social life - in short, life has not been that much fun for me.
I have been looking into getting back into the advertising industry again but as I have been away from it for so long and I would need a real 9 to 5 job, my options are limited. Not only that, but my Dad who was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year just had a heart attack yesterday and is sitting in the hospital by himself because all the rest of the family are with his sister (my aunt) who the doctors say has only days if not hours to live. If I go home now I run the very real risk of not having a job/business to come back to, plus I barely have enough money in the bank to pay for the mortgage let alone a plane ticket.
Life is hard and shitty sometimes. Like you I have wild, crazy dreams that seem unattainable. However, I still haven’t given up. I’ve had an idea I’ve been thinking about for a while. Don’t know if it will do any good but it certainly can’t do any harm. Seems like now might be a good time to bring it up. I’ll get back to you over the next day or two.
Sending some good internet juju vibes your way from the US,
Luv, Daycare Lady

Anonymous said...

it's not often you really really bare your soul - but good that you felt able to share how you feel. You are going through a really hard time, but know this - you will come out the other side, you all will. What about moving back to NI??? Lots of swish work in the burgeoning hospitality industry for husband, and family and friends on tap for you all - and to help with childcare. Lots of production companies here, you would be able to work a couple of days a week - think about it??? love px

Liz said...

Okay, well first off I live in the US and wish I could employ you and move your fam over here. Second, I think you have balls to dream. Third, yeah it does SUCK. Oh my word the suckage!!!!

But you have the balls to dream. That is some huge courage and belief in yourself. I am impressed by that. I feel that is 90% of it. The other 10% sucks but this too shall pass - when I don't know but keep dreaming and doing what you are doing and don't be afraid to change it ALL. Shake it all up, school, house, kids, all of it. You will all survive. xoxo

Crummy Mummy said...

Bless you all for commenting. I appreciate it. Daycare Lady - I keep thinking about you - I'd love to hear what that dream is. In fact I would love to hear everyone's dream - not just winning the lottery - but you know, stuff that makes their souls warm. Liz (EDW) I WISH you could employ me - I would be there in a heartbeat. I have always, always wanted to work in the States - even when I was a showbiz journo - and turning 40 next year made me think - Christ I need to do it soon if I ever am going to! But how to??? Husband will get a new job soon - that doesn't worry me. yesterday we had the chat about the fact that I have been avoiding the big issue - what the hell am I going to do? Because a job in London doesn't seem possible - what with the commute and childcare (both in closing times of nurseries and also the huge huge cost). I don't have answers. I have one crazee plan and I need to get myself a B plan. An achieveable one. Crazee plan involves a huge shake up - a dream one - but that all depends on stuff out of my control really. It has rained here for weeks - giving a whole new meaning to April showers. But they will pass. And I will work something out and this time will pass - and yes Liz, it does suck. Big time. By the way I saw you comment on a fab webiste called crazy days and nights that I am now addicted to. The little things get us by eh? xxx

Anonymous said...

Dear Crummy Mummy,

First of all, don't stop writing this blog--you're a fantastic writer, and a brave one, too. I love what you write; it's rare to find someone who is able to be so funny and vulnerable, not to mention insightful and, yes, wise. You're good. Don't quit.

Secondly, I really do empathize with where you are right now. A little background: we live in the States, and both husband and I have lived in this town for over a decade. A few years ago, I decided (with husband's support) to go back to school to earn my doctorate; this meant leaving a terrific job with a great salary, benefits, a guaranteed future...oh, and I had a baby. First year of coursework was a death march of exhaustion and marital strain, which we survived, with much help. Things slowly improved; we purchased our first home, our child grew, entered preschool. Then, this past fall, husband learned that his company was acquiring another, and his position was in peril. For three agonizing months, as I taught/attempted to research and write for my degree, we braced for the worst--he looked for new jobs (in this horrible economy), we spent even less than we normally do (read: lots of reheated pasta), he *interviewed for the job he already had*. And then, we survived. He's got his job, I finally got unstuck in my writing. Our kid is thriving in the preschool we can still afford to send him to. And I'm starting to dream again about my professional future, too.

It's terrible to be facing the twin cultural biases of gender and age discrimination, but you must persevere, and think creatively. Someone above mentioned teaching, and I bet you were good at it. Have you thought about building up your credentials as an instructor in your field, and working as an adjunct (that's what we call contract profs in the US) at an institution of higher learning near you? You can prep and grade at night, and teach just a few hours a week, minimizing your need for child care. Better still, you'll meet young people who are even more broke than you are, and who will be glad to take care of Sproglette someplace near to your classroom for the hour or two that you are teaching. I dunno--might be pie in the sky, but I thought I'd venture it. Chin up, you're great, it's going to be OK--this is what our late 30s are all about: learning the ramifications of the commitments we made in our late 20s/early 30s!


Liz said...

CM - I don't think that was me! Tell me more about this site! Trash? Celebrity trash helps, doesn't it?

If I had a blog still, I'd be writing about my crap 2 weeks and this ridiculous party that we are having on Saturday. Ah, blogs. Miss them but then again not.


Anonymous said...

Hi, still here too... :) Same problem here with money... two kids and trying our best to get to the end of the month. A lot of debts to pay, hoping for things to get better. I'm with you and feel for you. I'm sure something good will come your (and our) way soon! Hugs, Serena from Italy