I have been fascinated by the reactions that people have had to me when I was on maternity leave, when I was getting ready to go back to work, and now that I am back at work. I find that some people are very judgemental about how they expect families to work. Well, I’ve got news for you everyone, we’re all different, we all have different needs and that is one of the amazing things about us.
My aim is to share the stories of families of all different types and spread the word that we are all playing a #BalancingAct to get through and raise our little people the best way we can. Let’s celebrate the diversity between our families, let’s not judge each other.
So, this week I’d like to hand you over to Sophie.
1. Tell me about your family
My name is Sophie and I have been married to Liam for 5 years. We have a beautiful little boy called Henry.
2. What was your job/position before you started your family?
I was a full-time teacher at an infant school and working in a reception class. I have been teaching for ten years and love my career.
3. What was your work-life balance like?
It was more work than life but I had time (bags of it!) I would finish work at 5:30pm, have tea and get to work. It was mainly preparing resources and setting up learning zones in the Reception classroom and not too much marking.
4. How did you find being away from work when you were on maternity leave?
I loved being with my baby but missed the pace of teaching and the interaction with colleagues, parents and children. I knew that being out of the teaching profession for any length of time would be difficult as changes happen on a daily basis.
5. Have you returned to some kind of work since having baby and how did you come to that decision?
I returned to full-time teaching at the beginning of a new school year. I took nine months maternity leave and felt ready to return. I also wanted Henry to have the opportunity to meet and play with other children. We found a perfect childminder on the same road as my school and Henry loves going which makes life easier for me.
6. How (if at all) has work changed since you returned (if you did)?
The whole school curriculum changed in September 2014 so I have had plenty of learning to do. I have also moved into teaching Year One children after a very long time teaching Reception so that also comes with challenges. The biggest change has been the paperwork and the marking.
7. Describe your work-life balance now in 3 words.
Drowning in marking!
8. Would you change anything about the family and work balance that you currently have?
If we could afford to I would choose to work part-time and this is something we are aiming for in the future. I would also like to be able to complete my marking before I head home with my baby but this is never possible – even though I mark books during my lunch hour. I would like to finish school before 5:30pm but, at present, this seems impossible. I have a rule that I won’t begin school work until Henry is tucked up in bed so I don’t get started until 7:30pm and continue until bedtime. My promise to myself for the new year is to have more life and less work.
For all the previous posts, see the #BalancingAct page.
If you think you’d like to get involved in this feature and share your story, please leave a comment, tweet me @mamavsteacher or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.