Today one of our gorgeous Nesters, Viv Williams discusses the motherly guilt that accompanies the decision to go back to full time work after children…
So I made a choice towards the end of last year. Its been controversial, frightening and downright exhausting. But you know what, I’m happy.
I decided to return to full time work.
It’s actually quite crazy the dialogue this statement starts up, even now, when I type the words. “WHY?”; “Oh I never want to be full time” “But how will your kids cope, they’re so little” “If this is your last baby, you won’t ever get this time off again” The thing that’s most alarming in that whole diatribe of questions is that few, if any, people actually said “Good for you”. I mean, let’s be honest here, it’s not like my choice is remarkable – but why is it still portrayed that way? Why in the 21st century is my desire as a woman, to have a career and goals outside my family such a WHY idea?
When I announced over dinner one night that I had decided to return to full time work (without any indication prior to this that id been considering it), the greatest fear for both my husband and my children in returning to full time work (that they verbalised) was “We just don’t want you to be cranky”. WOAH – had I been so miserable working prior to this, that full time work was to be feared? Well, yes. I’ve found my job as a teacher so difficult in so many ways over the years that I too wonder how I managed to get this far.
So I spent another month considering the decision. Was this desire to return to work so much about me I’d forgotten to consider the fall out? Or was I finally happy in my career choice, in the daily challenge? I spent a lot of time soul searching and considering what it was that elicited the ‘cranky’ in me. I spent so many days feeling inadequate and unable to make a decision that the ‘cranky’ showed up. I know this, because my Mr 7 mumbled under his breath on walking away from an instruction “She’s not even working today”. I just stood there, dumbfounded. What a light in the dark. The ‘cranky’ had nothing to do with working, and everything to do with how I felt about MYSELF!
So I’m back at work full time. As a supervisor told me “It will be both challenging and rewarding” and that statement is the definition of my life. Every day is a challenge and every day ends with the reward of three amazing little people, becoming more amazing under the guidance of their educators.
The greatest truth I’ve had to accept across this term (because my whole life revolves around school terms) is that I can’t be everywhere, and I cannot be 100% at work or at home. Its okay to admit that I am not a Supermum (a term I incidentally HATE because there’s nothing super about falling asleep without eating dinner or missing that your kid is feeling unhappy; it’s just LIFE). And honestly, that’s the thing – I am an awesome Mum (Thanks Miss 11), My Husband loves me (even though the last time we had a conversation not about the kids/work was a month ago) and my students are succeeding.
Ultimately, the decision was about what I needed and wanted, and about the love for my role as an educator. Roll the internal monologue – “Isn’t that kind of selfish”. NO!!!!
I made a decision about the way I can best support my family, by proving my advice to my kids on a daily basis – be the best version of YOU that you can be EVERY DAY; and for me, that’s being a working mum.
Thanks Viv, your insight into this topic is brilliant, thanks for sharing with The Central Nest x