When maternity leave leaves you on the scrap heap

 

maternity leave cartoon humor: 'Good to see you back at work.'

After another glorious year of maternity leave it is that time again to start thinking about returning to work . I have written before about my frustrations with having to return to the bottom rung each and every time you have maternity leave (read it here-  New Year, New job and the Glass-Uterus Effect ) and I have conceded that this is just life, but it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.  Since having my eldest son 6 years ago I have always been all to aware of the need to maintain my teaching hours in order to stay up to date with changes in curriculum and methodology. For you teachers out there I am sure you would agree that a year is a long time in Education. As the school year comes to a close I ‘ve started to look at my options for next year and to be honest there aren’t many at all for a mum of three who is no longer a permanent employee who can’t face working full time.

If you are permanent then in most cases you are able to return to work in a jobshare/ part time capacity as the school/ principal is obliged to assist in your return to work where possible.  If you aren’t permanent then you are free agent, no one owes you a thing and it is up to you to start again from the bottom just to get some relief work. With this uncertainty comes having to commit to 3 days worth of childcare x 2  ‘just in case’ you get called in for a relief day on those specific days. If no work comes up then you are stuck paying $300 for nothing.

I have always loved my job. In the early years after graduating, single, childless me worked my bum off, volunteered countless hours and would attend the opening of an envelope in hopes of gaining a permanent position. It worked and after 3 years I was given permanent status. No more worrying about whether you had a job each December and if you were going to be paid in the holidays. Fast forward 12 years and a resignation after moving interstate and now I find myself competing with young girls with 2 years experience and hours to give for even the most graduate level positions.

It makes me angry, I feel like I’ve done my time- but what is the solution? Well that is to go back full time and start from the bottom again. It was my choice to have my three beautiful children, and as my husband points out, there are many childless women in leadership positions who would happily swap for my position as a mum. I agree with him. I also look at friends of mine who for various reasons have gone back to work full time with small babies and wonder if i could do it too.I did do it with my first son, and at the time it felt right. It wasn’t until after that it felt so wrong. Maybe I should have and I wouldn’t be sitting here with 12 years experience looking for jobs again. But then I look at my last baby girl (as she rips this laptop from my hands) and my stomach hurts thinking about leaving her with some one else every day. Before long she will be waving at me through the school gate and I’ll then have those hours to give again, just like  did 12 years ago.

I know what my heart says- but I still have this internal battle every school year as I see opportunities come and go.It would be much easier if I hated my job and could use that as an excuse not to return, as I am sure many mums who weren’t particularly keen on their careers pre-children do, but I don’t, I love it and couldn’t think of doing anything else.

I guess for now it is part time relief or bust! How did you feel about returning to work after maternity leave?

 

 

 

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It’s been a long time between drinks…..

 

Hello! Is anyone out there?  No I’m not trying to impersonate Adele, but am totally expecting to be writing to myself for a few weeks because let’s face it- it’s been a long time between drinks…literally.

Well here I am crawling back with my tail between my legs to ask for ‘blogging’ forgiveness. It has been 9 months since my last post and well…..the longer you leave things, the easier it is to keep avoiding. So the best way to get back on the horse, is to just jump back on and not think over think things too much. So I thought a quick update of all things teacher versus mummish was on the agenda so ease me back into things lightly.

Anyway, Attention everyone, breaking news! Since my last post it seems that ‘not making plans’ worked out really well- I wasn’t just writing rubbish after all. In 5 short weeks baby number 3 arrives, and we are also happy to report that the baby will not have to reside in the front courtyard of our tiny townhouse, as we magically found a new house as well. Despite my husband’s most convincing speeches about how easy it is to fit just one more child into a 3 door Barina hatchback, we have also managed to trade in the boy toy lawnmower for something more family friendly. It has definitely been a huge 6 months and to those considering it- the third child really tips you over the edge…everything needs to be bigger!

I finished up work at the end of the December and for those clever, experienced teachers who told me that job-sharing was hard, despite me mentally thinking ‘piece of cake’ – yes you were correct, it was bloody hard!. Since finishing up so many people have asked ‘I bet you’re glad to be finished’ and the answer was of initially yes. Eight weeks later I have decided it is far more exhausting staying home and looking after 2 boys than it was looking after 30 children.

My beautiful first born baby also started big school last week. He was mine for 5 years and now he begins a life that I will know little about, besides the small snippets he can remember to tell me when he stumbles into the car like an exhausted monkey every afternoon. Apparently his new school excels in providing quality ‘playtime’, as this is all he manages to report from his busy school day. Must remember this when I go back to work…no more planning or teaching anything, It’s a waste of time! All parents will judge my professional performance based on how exciting the adventure playground was.

Personally the last few months have been tough and challenging. Us female creatures are tough to conquer at the best of times but add some hormones and some negative thinking to the mix and we become ticking time bombs. Big apologies to the friends I haven’t called. It wasn’t because I don’t care…It was because I just couldn’t. But I think I am back for now. Big hugs to my wonderful husband for always providing the ‘positive’ in a dark day

There’s excitement in the air at our house and we are so looking forward to meeting our beautiful new human and celebrating with a few hundred glasses of wine (between responsible breastfeeding guidelines of course ……I can already tell this one will enjoy merlot). This post was sponsored by Avent Breast pumps.

 

 

 

Correct Me if I am Wrong…………Sexist rant

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A lot has gone on since my last post. Work has well and truly begun and already I am thinking that the term ‘job-share‘ may be French for ‘get paid for three days, but work full time. Some fellow teaching Bloggers did warn me of this, but I am hoping that it is just beginning of the school year madness and that it will calm down soon.Or not?

My other job- the important one, the full time one, the unpaid and un-appreciated one called ‘being a mum and wife’ has continued to run ahead at full pace. As you may well know, children don’t understand nor care that one of your many talents has become being able to cook dinner, hold a gigantic 2 year old, chop an onion with one hand and turn up the volume on Peppa Pig with the other hand. Now that’s what I call animal adaptation! Last week I even sarcastically asked my four year old what hands he would like me to use to fill up his drink bottle, and in all his wisdom he replied ‘ You just need to get more hands mum’. Yes wouldn’t that be nice son! And you know what would happen if I got more hands? Some one in this house would find more jobs for the extra hands to do too!.

Can I be really honest here? I  just need to do a mental purge.  I am going to be very controversial now and say that the feminist movement has a lot to answer for. Not so long ago the women’s sole role in society was to be a good housewife. This involved birthing and caring for children, cooking, cleaning and keeping a husband happy. We were clear on the role, as limiting as it was, we knew our gig. Anyway, the mothers who went before us fought tooth and nail for gender equality, and I sincerely thank them for this.  For the first time we could throw our aprons and bra’s into the air, run out of our homes in trousers not our skirts, get down and dirty and begin working in meaningful paid positions. Sounds awesome right? What women wouldn’t see this as progression right?

HANG ON…….LET’S BACK THIS TRUCK UP A LITTLE ! Right back to the part where the women were supposed to be throwing away their aprons. Last time I checked, I was still wearing the apron on top of my trousers! Someday’s I’m so painfully aware of it  that it chokes me. Someday’s it’s still hanging off me as I jump out of my car ready to take up my place in society as a working woman.  What a great deal the men got out of the feminist movement, I can hear them now laughing behind our back. ‘Yes Gerald, great idea- Let the ladies work and they will still do everything else as well, it will work out great for us gentlemen mwaaaaahhhhhaaaaaaa! (insert Dr Evil’s voice here)

I realise more than anyone that in some cultures, the women’s role has not evolved and has not changed much since these times, and some days I look at these families with envy. I also realise it is apparently my choice to to wear an apron and work at the same time, but the hard part here is now we have a choice. When we didn’t have a choice it seemed easier to accept it. It is fine to be a house-mum when everyone else is too. Our roles have become blurred, we have lost parts of our identities and now scrambling to define our new role in society.  It is not fine for women to ‘just stay at home’. It is also not fine to be just a career woman. So what do we talented,  multi-tasking women do? We adapt and do both- the same as any other successful species.

My problem is that yes now we can contribute and work, but in most houses we are still the ones doing everything else as well. If we have evolved then why haven’t our home roles? Why should we work AND still be doing 80% of every other job that comes our way, child related or not. Something has to give, we can’t keep all of these balls in the air without dropping a few. We are still the ones to organize the children in the morning, we are still the ones packing lunch boxes, we are still the ones dropping by Woolworth’s on the way home to get groceries for dinner, we are still the ones to remember the children’s vaccinations, organize presents for birthday parties, sorting out clothes in the morning, finding lost shoes and nursing sick children at 2am, 3 hours before leaving for work ourselves. Yes It is in our genes, mums can not stop caring and nurturing just because we are now wearing trousers. We will continue to be cross dressing, apron- over- business -suit wearing machines who try to save the world or at least save the chicken from burning.

Before the inevitable ‘My husband does all the housework and cooking in my house’ comments, Lets get real. Clearly It is not just about cooking. Of course there are many exceptions to what I am saying. There are many fabulous husbands out there who work their bums off to help their wives, and to them I applaud. The sad reality is that most, and I say this with slight caution, MOST women are still keeping the homes going. Things have to change. In the past 4 years alone 3 female friends of mine have or have at least considered returning to work and having hubby stay at home with Baby Bob, as they are the main bread winners. The men have been more than willing to let go of a few ‘traditional masculine traits’ (usually the useful ones) whilst taking full advantage of our newly acquired skills, but are a bit slow on the uptake in acquiring their own new skills. Perhaps not quite yet the norm, but certainly is a growing trend.

So where do you stand on this. Should we just drop the ball completely or should we STILL be trying to do it all?

Cheers to Friday and Hairy Big Toes

As it is Fun Friday I wanted to celebrate like the working people do, I thought I would give you the Top 9 comments from my second day back at work. I have started doing a few relief days here and there, which I am absolutely loving. Just enough to remember I am human and that the empty parking space between my ears was previously occupied by brains and qualifications, but few enough to realize my heart is home with my boys, Larry Emdur and Ready, Steady, Cook.

So here they are Drum Roll…………………………………….

  1. She’s copying my turtle.
  1. I can’t see. (Thought she couldn’t see the board, but actually no…she really couldn’t see, the downside of the supply teacher…not knowing the children)
  1. ‘Josh farted”

(Yes, thank you so much Josh. I had already discovered this after walking    straight into it. Really felt like it was in my mouth, like only a child’s fart can be. What the hell do these little humans eat?)

  1. ‘Can I go to the toilet?’

‘No, you just had lunch’.

‘But I’m busting.

‘Okay, go quickly’. (I really wonder what I expect from children when I say       silly things like ‘Go quickly’. Do I want them to push harder? Or just run to the toilet quicker?)

  1. Child returns from the toilet ten minutes later. ‘You took a very long time Jack, where have you been?

‘It was a poo, not a wee’. (enough said Jack…won’t ask that again)

  1. Nicolas tried to wee on me. (What is it with little boys and mucking around in the toilet? Actually come to think of it, men continue to do this well into their thirties)
  1. Are you married?
  1. Do you want to come to my birthday party? It’s on Sunday, there will be lots of other old people there, but you can’t have cake because my mum has already made it and it won’t be big enough.
  1. Your big toe is hairy. (My personal favourite)

This is why I adore working with our little people. Never a dull moment, honest, raw and innocent. You cry with them, you laugh with them and then you catch headlice from them. If you’re feeling fat, they’ll confirm it for you, If you think you’re funny, they’ll change your mind, If you’re feeling sad they’ll rub your back and hug your leg.

I love Year One!

Have A Great Weekend :0

NB: It isn’t really my toe in the picture, but I was quite horrified to find when searching google for ‘hairy toe images’ an actual link for ‘ The best hairy toe websites’ ????????

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