Since going back to work after Maternity leave I have experienced many highs and lows. The apprehension and worry leading up to going back was quite difficult. I felt like I was losing something. Like it was the end of an era and that I was losing my motherhood. I couldn’t imagine a life where I was a mummy and also a teacher. Both had been important in my life separately but not simultaneously. I felt like I couldn’t fit all of the jigsaw pieces together, yet all of a sudden the puzzle seemed to fit.
I have enjoyed being back at work; being me again. The times that I am in work I feel full of life and adrenaline. Despite the continuing sleepless nights (yes, she still wakes up to three times a night) the routine of work has been a blessing and we both got into our new routine pretty quickly. Now we are off for the summer and I feel a bit bereft without my routine. Until September I am full time Mummy again but I have time to meet friends, spend time on my blog and reflect on the highs and lows of being a working mummy.
1. REAL PEOPLE TO TALK TO
It has been refreshing and exciting to talk to real people. Not just polite baby talk or singing along to Disney Junior, but I have enjoyed talking about school work, curriculum changes and even politics… who’d have thought it? There have even been days where the theme tune to Doc McStuffins hasn’t been in my head!
2. ENDLESS HOT DRINKS – YES DRUNK HOT
When I first went back, I literally couldn’t cope with the amount of hot drinks at my disposal. All those years as a teacher I complained that i ‘never had chance to drink my drink hot.’ erm since having a baby I will NEVER complain about not having enough time again. At least at work you do get a break and even better… we have our wonderful tea ladies who even make it for you! Wow! And I can have a wee in peace….
3. TIME FOR A MANICURE
I have started to treat myself to a few pampering… eyebrows waxed… nails done. Hardly relaxing as I still have to take the baby with me and try to pick up all the things that she throws and then immediately wants whilst contorting my body as I only have use of the one free hand as the manicurist works on my other hand!
But it has been lovely to have a bit of spare money to spend on myself. I was admiring my lovely nails last week on my way to a work meeting… and then I spotted something lurking behind the nails… CODE BROWN …was it peanut butter… or something worse?…. hmm I couldn’t possible say… (note to self scrub nails thoroughly after code brown nappy changes)
GETTING MY MOJO BACK
Whilst being off work I lost some of my confidence. Most people won’t believe me as I come across as confident, but the thought of going back to work was tough. I took the liberating decision to resign from Head of English and so was ‘out of work’. But then I had no confidence to apply for other jobs. I almost looked at other career options and thought about leaving teaching. But then fate seemed to have everything planned out for me and I ended up back at my old school. It was like putting your old, comfy shoes on and wondering why you’d not worn them for so long! Going back home brought me to life. I took with me experience and fresh ideas from when I was last there and as soon as I stepped back into the classroom I knew I was home. I’ve been in middle management for 9 years and so the joy of just teaching has been so refreshing. I have loved teaching, meeting up with colleagues, sitting down at break and then going home (ON TIME) to my baby. Perfect.
4. TEETHING HELL V MARKING HELL
Every year for the last 10 years I have marked GCSE exam papers. Usually I mark about 350-500… this year I crazily marked over 800! Supply teaching had finished and so I was just at home not working and so it seemed a good idea to work from home and mark. OMG five weeks of endless marking hell with a baby in tow is close to the horror of the newborn days… well not quite… that is until teething started!
Two whole weeks of teething… no sleep…. 6am get ups and 808 GCSE exam papers to mark. For some unknown reason I endured this two week agony… surviving on caffeine and snatches of sleep and without exaggerating very nearly lost my marbles. It inevitably ended in tears and I had to admit defeat and send the last 100 back… a choice between sanity and more cash was not as easy as it sounds as my stubbornness, determination and downright masochism made me want to carry on. I was literally told to STEP AWAY FROM THE PAPERS… Once they were gone, I cried with relief and opened the wine. The next day FOUR teeth arrived at once and life as we once knew it resumed.
5. MISSING THE FIRST STEPS
Last week I went into work for a New staff induction at my ‘new’ school for September. After 5 weeks of marking from home I was excited to get back into school to catch up with people and was in my element. I hardly thought about home, enjoyed listening to other staff during INSET and readily planned schemes of work. This was great… The teaching MOJO was back. I couldn’t wait to get back to work. I was so happy. That was until I got home. I arrived back at my Mum’s full of joy and talk about my new job… only to be met with the news that my baby had taken her first steps. I was devastated. It was like being punched in the gut. I held back the tears as I watched the video clip of her walking and looking so pleased with herself. I felt so so guilty for not being there and guilty for the fact that I’d been happy to be in work. (And I wasn’t even being paid!) When I got home I cried. It seemed like the end of the world.
HAVING IT ALL?
Now a week later and several more first steps later it’s faded away and I will have to accept that if I want it all to be Mummy and Miss Teacher I will have to accept that I will miss out sometimes both at home and in school… but I am lucky that I am going back to a part time job and I will have four days a week for my baby and for the the next SIX weeks it’s just us.
We have lots planned this summer and I am sure I will be ready for a break when September comes and skip back into work! Oh how times have changed.