As I write this blog, I am approximately five and a half weeks away from walking out on my job.

The news of my resignation prompted a somewhat surprised response.  My family panicked over my future, my friends kept utilising the word ‘brave’ in a way that could have meant either courageous or stupid, and the people I work with were hopeful of something changing my mind.

Nobody was more surprised than me.  I love my job, but there’s a lot of stress attached to it, whereby, if my career was the main focus of my life I’d continue to cope, but as a Foster Carer or parent as well, it’s just not manageable.  In making the decision to quit, I’d come to be a little more realistic about my future.

In the New Year, my husband and I are due to take on a new fostering placement, and it’s looking like we could be taking on a sibling group.  That’s right, two kids.  Let’s be mindful that The Boy is still very much part of our lives/family despite having gone off to university, and remember that I would also like to have my own kids in the future as well.   Don’t even get me started on coping with the cat and the dog through all of this in addition.   My workload is going to increase; it’s just a case of at what rate.

Capstone were delighted when I told them I’d resigned.  They’d always been supportive and respectful of my previous decision to continue with my career, but owing to all of the other things I’m involved with in my active life, they’d worried that I’d struggle to retain my current lifestyle and be the most involved Foster Carer I could be.

My job has a lot of flexibility attached to it, but no employed role is ever so completely flexible that you can just leave at any given moment when the phone-call comes in to say that your kid has been excluded from school or that an emergency meeting needs to take place with the authorities.  I know things like this could happen in ‘mainstream’ families and they’d cope, but in Foster Care there will always be a stronger likelihood, owing to the mass influx of things going on that young person’s life, and the agencies that want their piece of it.  Likewise, a more traditional family would be able to call upon a relative to make the pick-up or attend the meeting if the parent could not be there, but with fostering, such is the sensitivity of these events, it really needs to be you as the prime carer present to deal with it all.

Amid some of the responses I got to my decision, there were a few that irked me.  They were largely along the lines of, “Oh you can just focus on being a mum now”.  I don’t like the idea of being defined by a singular role in my life, and would prefer to be described by a culmination of them.  Any work responsibilities, voluntary pursuits, background adventures or personal hobbies; they all make up the being that is you.

I’ve been hearing the label ‘stay at home mum’ quite a bit, and I find it disrespectful – whoever says it.   If you choose to leave behind a job to focus on raising your kids, no doubt you are busier and more in demand than you would be in a full time job, and at certain times in your daily role I doubt you’re even staying at home!  I’m keen to rid people, including my future self, of that label.

Yes I’ll be a mum, and yes I’ll be all of the things I talked about in the blog that preceded this one, but if I’m going to do this well, and if I’m going to prove to be a good role model for my kids through all of it, make no mistake; I won’t be staying at home, and I won’t be labelled as anything other than the whole person I know I am, and the potential person I know I can be.Jo and Ste

This summer I decided to do a course called NCS. NCS stands for National Citizen Service, this is a course for young people to go away for 4 weeks and meet new people, make friends and have a fab time.

The first week you will be away at a residential camp, doing activities with your group. For example, you will be doing kayaking, canoeing, abseiling, rock climbing, archery, swimming and fencing. This is a way of meeting your team, bonding and making new friends.

The second week you will be at Bath University, getting a feel of what Uni would be like. You learn about criminal justice, the local MP comes to talk to you and you also have debates. You will also have a tour around the Uni so you know where everything is.  You will also have people come from different charities come and give you key points so you can choose what charity you want to help. You will also be doing different challenges for example, we made smoothies, cakes & a zombie film.NCS photo


The third week you and your team come up with a charity you want to help and donate money to. My team helped a charity called Harvey Hex which helps siblings who have lost brothers and sisters or parents.  The siblings can also design a memory box to put pictures in of their siblings, games they used to play together and maybe a favourite film they watched together.


The fourth week you will be raising money, helping the charity out. You could also do a fun day when you have people come and do activities with your team.  You will also have to make sure you know what you are doing. Before you can graduate from NCS you will have to do 60 hours of work within your team.


When I first got their I was very quiet as I was shy. But then eventually I started talking to people making new friends. I had a fab time at NCS! I have made so many new friends I thought I would not make any new friends.  I also still keep in touch with my friends from NCS. I recommend every young person does this as it is a chance and an opportunity to make new friends and have something to put on your CV.

Foster carers, children, friends and supervising social workers enjoyed what has now become a Ringwood tradition – summer day out to Paulton’s. Our office invites foster carers to the choice of two summer days; Longleat or Paulton’s. This year 65 of us opted for Paulton’s, home of Peppa Pig World and the newly added Lost Kingdowm.

The park is a great place to visit for all ages, from pre-schoolers through teenagers and parents to seniors. Most of the theme park rides are designed for IMG_4243children which is why the park is such a hit with our foster carers.

For those not caught in the traffic we started day at 11am, met by Carole at the entrance with tickets for everyone. Some foster families grouped up with other fostering families, other enjoyed the freedom of exploring the park on their own meeting other foster carers and as the day went on. I enjoyed wandering through the park bumping into our foster carers, having a quick chat, tagging along for a while and joining them for some of the rides.

We all met up at 1pm for lunch at the pre-arranged meeting place. It won’t be a surprise to many of our carers that I got lost!  Luckily I eventually found everyone and enjoyed a picnic lunch chatting to carers and children alike.  The highlight for me was seeming the fun had by the children and young people, watching new friendships grow and of course the water flume.

Thankyou Carole & team for arranging such a fab day!


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