I wasn’t planning to return to full time working, certainly not in the short term. If I’m being honest I wasn’t sure I would ever return to working five full days again but life has a funny way of throwing you a curveball just when you think you have everything sorted out.
For a long time now my career hadn’t really been at the forefront of my mind. If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ll know we were busy concentrating on trying to complete our family. Whilst I wasn’t particularly happy in my current job I wouldn’t have felt comfortable starting somewhere new knowing that I could potentially be off on maternity leave. I have been at my school for fifteen years, it was my first job after finishing teacher training. It was safe, comfortable, easy in lots of ways but when you have been walking through the same doors for fifteen years you start to wonder what else is out there.
Since returning from maternity leave my attitude to work has changed. If I am leaving my children to go to work I wanted it to be something I felt passionate about, excited to go to each morning and with that in mind I started to browse the teaching jobs that were out there. And there it was, an advert for a job that looked perfect for me. Literally down the road from my current school, working in a sixth form college (something I have wanted to do for a while now) and a fifteen minute drive from home.
After being slightly wounded from my terrible job interview a few weeks earlier I almost didn’t apply. I couldn’t face going through it again and I wasn’t sure my confidence was up to another interview. I spent days talking myself out of applying. It was a very good friend who almost ordered me to apply, insisting I had so much to offer them in a role I was already doing in my current school.
To cut a long story short, I was invited to interview, I loved the college, loved the students and it felt right. I’m a strong believer in that feeling you get sometimes, it was what made us choose two of our three houses, and something there just clicked. The only issue for me was that the job was going to be full time. This wasn’t exactly what I had expected and I panicked at the thought of returning to full time work. I had tried it for a year after I had my eldest, I hated it and three months into the school year I felt like I was failing at almost everything.
But that was a different time and a very different me. If the past five years have taught me anything it is that I am a lot stronger and more capable than I give myself credit for. Two years ago when the IVF failed I was devastated, it felt like the life I had imagined was slipping away and it was breaking my heart. Of course, you don’t lock yourself away, no matter how much you want to. You pick yourself up and move on and back then I never could have imagined how well things would turn out.
It wasn’t a decision I took lightly, I spoke to my husband, my parents, my friends and they were all so supportive. The more I talked it through the more I started to realise how much I would live to regret not taking this opportunity.
I’m not going to pretend I’m not nervous. There’s going to be a lot of juggling, and I will need to be more organised than I have ever been in my life before. The mum guilt is already kicking in, I won’t be there to pick O up from school, will G be okay at nursery, will he miss me during the week? But at the same time, I’m excited. I can’t wait for a new challenge, for a new environment. I have so much admiration for those women who manage to work from home around their children but I quite enjoy “going” to work and it being separate from my home life. I like working with a team and I like being able to be just Jo, rather than S’s wife or G and O’s mum. I love being able to dress up to go to work and being brutally honest, I’m looking forward to earning a decent salary again.
The past eighteen months have seen so much change for our family and all of them have been positive. Yes, it feels a risk returning to full time work in a new place, with two small children, but sometimes you need to take those risks. It could lead to something wonderful, and I’m really hoping that it does.