Less Airb, more Baby?

I am currently PUPO. On the 2ww.

For those not familiar with ttc or IF terminology, here in plain English:

TTC- Trying to Conceive, IF – Infertility, PUPO – pregnant unless proven otherwise (usually by POAS, or peeing on a stick), 2ww – the two week wait (from the date of your LMP, or last menstrual period – to see if the method of conception you chose has worked or not).

I had my last remaining embryo transferred last Friday, and am now waiting for any twinges, symptoms and the ultimate result of the pregnancy test I can take after Sunday.

I also feel a bit in limbo. Not only based on the unsettling situation due to Brexit, but also because of our uncertain future in terms of where we will ultimately live.

It is hard to do airbnb for any length of time in a small family home shared with guests. It is hard to keep a place tidy with a baby, even more so with a toddler who has more toys than sense and less room to play in than an average guinea pig.

It is draining to deal with enquiries that don’t turn into bookings, and most guests don’t much improve my feelings of loneliness.

This year, I have already cut back on the guests by raising my price to a level that most guests don’t feel is justified by the space I rent out, and had one returning cash-payer (a very sweet scientist who attends conferences in London on a regular basis and feels more like a distant friend now) as well as a group of 3 girls while I was away over Christmas.

Those girls only stayed 3 nights and felt no qualms about telling me in my review that the space wasn’t well suited for 3 people. No idea what they mean, or what they thought they were renting!

The flat when we are not at home sleeps 4 (or 4 and a baby), but this is to be used as a place to spend the nights mostly, while daytimes should be full to the brim by exploring London from a convenient central location. Seems like this was lost on those girls.

I also decided to be a good and generous person by inviting a 20 year old girl to stay, who I’d met through mutual friends during our time away for Christmas.

She wanted to stay for 2 nights before continuing her travels, and she was a lovely guest with a positive nature. However she didn’t as much as rinse her own cup during her stay, and she didn’t bring a gift as one might expect someone could reasonably consider offering for some free accommodation. Such as, perhaps, a bottle of wine, some chocolates, flowers or a book… It’s not Valentine’s and she’s not my lover, but still. I was raised not to go visit people empty-handed.

So her stay was entertaining, but left a slightly bitter note in my mouth about hosting people for free again. After all, she had £77 spare to spend the day with Harry Potter!

 

Some ideas about places we might move to in the short-term were

a) a flat share with a single dad (unfortunately he smokes, which would make me feel very uncomfortable as I hate the smell of smoke on my possessions)

b) a house share with a couple and their kids, as well as a part-time single dad (absolutely enormous house and close to my mum’s, but in another country and insufficient room for all our possessions).

c) stay put and try to enjoy it more, make (even!) more plans to have friends round, or spend weekends visiting people.

 

In the longer term I would like to own a bigger house I can share on a more permanent basis with another adult and child, and potentially a holiday rental (annexe) in the garden to continue airbnb, in a place less expensive than London.

Mortgage free, since 1) I can’t get a mortgage and 2) all the money coming in from rentals would be my income to live on.

 

Oh yes about the baby—- I couldn’t conceive paying £330 annually for indefinite cryo storage of a frozen embryo when there was no guarantee it would ultimately work. My toddler wants a sibling. 2 kids seem right somehow. I won’t always have the energy to keep up with my son, and to be honest I like to read a book or newspaper while the kid/s play.

Our last summer holiday showed the marked difference of me and Mum 1 to Mum 2, who was overly keen to fill every spare minute with crafts, games and activities whilst Mum1 and I took turns in the hammock with a schlocky book.

So I am planning on renting out my womb for around 9 months or so, to give my son the ultimate gift, and me a lifetime of holidays reading in hammocks, whilst the heir and the spare entertain each other. At least it’s a nice idea.

 

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Resources for single mums returning to work, and other help available

Having visited the mums’ enterprise roadshow last week #shootforthemoon, and being asked constantly by new mums about returning to work part-time, I wanted to share some useful websites and resources.

http://www.mumsenterprise.events/

Of course, you may want to return to your old job full-time straight away, in which case there’s no issue besides double-checking your contracted hours vs. nursery pickup times.

If there’s no clash, it’s all about managing expectations from your boss and colleagues that you’ll be working your contracted hours, and shooting off on the dot so you can collect your child.

If you aim to work part-time in your old role (or something similar), it’s a good idea to have an application for flexible working template to hand (which I am happy to share).

Your rights explained:

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1616

https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/rights-at-work/flexible-working/flexible-working-how-to-make-a-request/

Maternity Action and Gingerbread are also amazing resources!

https://www.maternityaction.org.uk/ https://gingerbread.org.uk/

However should you be unsuccessful in your flexible working application, there are several websites that specialize in placing experienced professionals in part-time positions:

https://jobs.mumsnet.com/

https://mumandworking.co.uk/

https://candidates.capabilityjane.com/job-search

https://hirememyway.org.uk/about/

https://www.2to3days.com/

https://jobs.workingmums.co.uk/jobs/

http://www.wearethecityjobs.com/

Alternatively (or additionally), you could also host a room (or your home whilst you’re away) on airbnb to make some extra cash.

https://www.airbnbcitizen.com/women-hosts-earned-10-billion-airbnb/

If you have a fledgling business, or business idea, there’s Talented Ladies (https://www.talentedladiesclub.com/about/), Another Mother (http://another-mother.co.uk/) or Bloomsbury Beginnings, which also offers a creche – if you’re based in London: http://bloomsburybeginnings.org/

Another business offering co-working with creche facilities is Entreprenursery: http://www.entreprenursery.co.uk/

Finally, for those of you in the creative industries, the PIPA campaign (Parents In Performing Arts) will launch a central London drop-in creche soon:

https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2016/parents-group-pipa-to-explore-feasibility-of-west-end-creche/

http://www.pipacampaign.com/

It is always a good idea, whatever your circumstances, to see what other help you may be entitled to: https://www.entitledto.co.uk/ https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Find-Benefits-Grants

Plus please visit your nearest BrightStarts children’s centre (used to be SureStart) to speak to a Family Advisor in person about your situation, they are usually very helpful.

https://www.gov.uk/find-sure-start-childrens-centre

Alternatively, any sole parent to a child under 5 in the UK is entitled to go onto income support, regardless of their circumstances.

https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits/families

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strange guests

Whenever I tell people about being an airbnb host, and often when a guest comes to stay (especially the first timers) they ask about my experience of ‘strange’ or weird guests, and how to avoid them.

Thankfully most people aren’t any weirder than any others, and I always try to get a good impression about a guest by communicating with them before accepting a booking.

So I turned down the guest who always books with female hosts and brings a bottle of wine, and the one who suggested ice cream as a gift and worried about being beaten up by my child’s father or waking up the child should we ‘giggle’.

I told him I often chat to my guests but that I found his sense of humour odd and reported him for being inappropriately flirty.

Asking for discounts for short stays, requesting to accommodate 3 people in a small double room (or 4 adults and 2 infants in the flat) are also red flags and don’t lead to confirmed bookings.

One time I got a whole family for the price of one, when they sneaked in under my radar: it wasn’t strictly an airbnb booking but a neighbour asked if I could rent the room to her sister for one night, only when she rang the bell did I realise she had brought her husband and baby as well!
They were nice and quiet guests, but the baby left a mystery stain on the sheet, cunningly disguised under the duvet.

One male guest persistently left the toilet seat up, one Malaysian student decided to secretly film my baby for her final project and hardly anyone removes their hair from the plug hole in the shower, but that’s humans for you.

I once bought a special new duvet cover since most of my bedding looks a bit girly, only to find the guest who came to stay was visually impaired and not able to tell the difference!

I’ve had a Chinese and a Russian guest not read directions and randomly turn up on my road (which is a 20 minute walk end to end), and had to collect one from a coffee shop and the other from a pub.

I got a lovely mum and daughter staying but the kid’s trainers made the flat smell like a cheese factory.

I’ve been host to the glitter Queen of the flaming nipple tassels, and to a French hermit girl who made me question my decision to host guests over several weeks.

More about those in other posts.

Oh and I’ve been given alcohol, chocolate and dried fish in a vacuum pack.

Yes people can be strange, but I guess so is the decision to host them in a small flat with a baby/toddler!

Return of the Blogger

I used to have a blog.

It was quite entertaining, mainly to myself, and got turned into a book.

Then the blog site was deleted. As bloggers or anyone who posts online we’re told this would never happen. The Internet remembers everything and nothing ever gets deleted.

Well it does,  and now anyone who wants to read about 7 years of my former life has to buy my book, or steal my computer.

Now I’m too busy to blog. I have a baby turned toddler, a flat with an airbnb room and a job which has just been made redundant.

I also do a few freelance projects. Blogging or writing my diary comes last. I can’t even remember where my diary is and the last time I printed out any photos was probably a year ago.

Still, I’m a writer. I write things in my head and then I forget them. I post a lot on Facebook and forums. It used to be easier to find time to write before Facebook for some reason!

Forums talk back to you. Facebook lets you know if your life is interesting  or not.

And now I need to hoover before getting the monkey from nursery. We have new guests checking in on Thursday. A father and pre teen daughter.

Last time I had a teenager stay, those trainers smelt worse than a cheesefactory. Hopefully this one will come in sandals!

Now.where do.I save this?