When I returned to work full-time (admittedly, a lot sooner than I had planned) I was nervous of the impact it would have on our family life, and on me. After a rocky first few weeks we found a routine and it seemed to work for us. I was in the honeymoon period of my new job and, despite living through five months of chaos as we extended our house, we coped and I was happy to be back in the workplace again.
Naively, I thought we’d cracked it, but this year so far has been tough from a working mum point of view. I feel like I’m only just about keeping the plates spinning, and dropping way too more than I should. The boys are a year older and instead of that making things easier it’s done the opposite. At just turned 7 my eldest is going through a bit of a grumpy phase at home, not helped by the fact he’s exhausted and would love nothing more than a day spent in bed, but it makes mornings even more stressful than they already are. Throw into the mix a two year old who’s been going through the terrible two’s since he was 18 months old! Believe me when I say our house is not somewhere you want to be in the morning.
The working mum guilt has been hitting hard the past couple of weeks. Those mornings when you drop your tired children at breakfast club and nursery before 8am because you need to be in work when you know they just want to be with you, having a relatively relaxed breakfast at home before having to leave the house. Those mornings when you have to walk away from your crying baby (because you know he’ll be okay once you’re gone) when it’s taking every ounce of your strength not to wrap him up in a big cuddle and take him home.
It’s during these times I start to wonder if it’s time to look for a new career, a job where I don’t need to be leaving quite so early, a job where I could do the school run in a morning and maybe a pick up or two during the week. On occasions I have been known to start browsing job websites such as Cygnet Jobs to consider my options but I always come back to teaching, it’s where my heart is and 17 years on is still a job I love. Plus I get to spend the school holidays with my boys and I never, ever take that for granted.
But there must be a way to make things a little easier, and that’s a conversation to have with my husband over the Christmas break. I love my boys, my family and I love my job but I can’t do it all as well as I would want and something has to give. I’ll keep you updated…
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.