I'm late on this one as Chinese New Year was weeks ago - 2012 being the Year of the Dragon and all. There is nothing Dragon about my year so far, save for my temper perhaps. As winter comes to a close, I am the squirrel forraging for nuts that I tucked away during milder times. You'll have gathered I'm talking metaphorically? Well in a nutshell (get it?) I'm all out of nuts.
Having a little one has finally taken it's toll. I'm suprised it's taken this long really for the effect of dropping to part-time to have an effect, a year to the day give or take. So what now? Well short of pitching tent in my mother in law's garden (which isn't really an option being flagged.. not comfy at all), I'm out of ideas.
Get a second job? Lose time with Grace, increase childcare costs. Work evenings or weekends? Lose time with Matt the Husband. I'm being soft on this one - maybe it's an option?
Take in a lodger? Lose privacy and the much needed space in the spare room for clutter (and friends when they come to stay). My sister says I don't have any friends - so with that in mind this one might be ok?
Move somewhere cheaper and smaller? Live a crummy life in a crummy area where everyone's related to everyone else, with a crummy school for Grace and crummy crime stats and for afters, lose money in moving costs and fees.
It's a toughy isn't it?
We're using home brands on the vast majority of things, we don't waste money (although my Father who knows best, obviously, thinks we're spend thrifts), and we don't lead extravagant lives - the weekend away I booked for Xmas for Matt the Husband sounds glam at first glance, until I confess it was a £20 room at Ramada with a voucher from The Telegraph and a pot noodle in the room and a bottle of cheap plonk. Really.
We've Martin Lewis'd everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) long ago, and we don't really have anything left to cut, slash or cancel. Bummer. I might have to do a Susan from Desperate Housewives. (I've just twigged why Matt the Husband got me the Ab-roller for Valentines Day). Woe is me.
I'm not looking for pity or anyone to fix this for me - just getting it down on paper so to speak is easing the tension in my shoulders which have been on 10/10 for months now. But a problem shared and all that. Do squirrels hibernate? Next year I'm going to be a tortoise and wake up in Spring. Spring being somewhere a few years down the line when the sun is up and the view is rosey. A friend of mine says she's only just coming out of the 'post-baby hardship phase' and Ava is knocking 3 years old now I think. Something to look forward to. I'm not alone - so many families are feeling the pinch, and many in a far worse pickle than me and Matt the Husband. But licking my wounds in public has lifted a weight because I know some of you will read this and tell me to get a bloody grip (and I thank you for that) because we all go about our lives with our eyes wide open. And we often don't like what we see.
So yeah in a nutshell, that's the Year of the Squirrel.