I made it; a whole school-term of working full-time. I won’t lie and say it’s been easy, for any of us, but it is getting easier.
By the time Christmas came, I was looking forward to going back to work. I loved my time off with Hugo but I missed the hustle and bustle of life at school and financially, staying at home wasn’t an option.
The first week was the worst. I don’t think I’d realised how much I could get done throughout the day during my maternity leave. Dinner was usually on the table when David returned from work and everything was organised in advance, to make the school evenings as smooth as possible.
But now I teach until 4pm each day, have late commitments at school (clubs, meetings etc) at least three times a week, meaning Ruby and I don’t leave school until gone 5pm. Then it’s a quick dash to collect Hugo from the child-minder’s, Grandma’s or Nana’s, which easily adds an extra hour, especially with traffic.
We’re lucky if we’re home by 6pm most days and as Hugo has his bath at 7pm, this doesn’t leave much time at all for anything in between, let alone making the dinner, packed-lunches for the next day, algebra homework (!) and last but not least, playing and snuggling.
I knew it would be hard and I’m quite resilient but I think this is the hardest time I can remember as a Mum. Maybe I underestimated how hard working full-time and being a mum of two would be.
I can’t remember being this frazzled with just Ruby. Granted, it was a long time ago but I’m pretty sure it’s the two thing.
There are two gorgeous faces to miss all day and want to snuggle with at home-time, two separate needs to meet. And two little hearts to mend after a bad day.
And then there’s David. Poor David. He probably wonders who I am. Especially when I’ve had the worst day and everything has piled up in the kitchen, Hugo’s had his dinner but has been sick everywhere, Ruby’s stuck on her Maths homework and my car’s on the verge of blowing up.
Do you ever catch a glimpse of yourself and think, what the heck?! Look at me, covered in snot, dribble, baby mush and a sprinkling of SMA?!
I’m aware I’m not painting a pretty picture of life as a full-time working Mum but there are benefits to it.
Financially, that maternity-leave scrimping is gone. All the mummies know what I mean. When your fancy Clinique moisturiser runs out and you debate whether it’s a necessity or not. Why does everything run out when you’re on maternity leave?! Car insurance, MOT, tax, house insurance, all those lotions and potions which seemed to last so well before.
But I love my job and it honestly keeps me sane. It’s kept me sane through some bad times and I’m very lucky to enjoy what I do.
Of course, the school holidays help to soften the blow. Even with planning and report-writing, which I’ll be spending the Easter holidays doing, I’ll have the luxury of spending precious time with both my babies and for this, I’m so grateful.
And we have a wonderful support network around us. Both of our Mums are fantastic at stepping in to help with pick-ups and drops-off when we need extra help and David has been so supportive of my transition too.
I’m not sure I’d recommend returning to work full-time, but I can say we’re making it work for us and that’s all that matters. Everyone’s different and while one thing suits one person and situation, it can be someone else’s idea of hell.
Even in the busiest of times, when I’m wondering if I can get away without washing my hair another day, or will that load of washing really smell if I don’t hang it up to dry right now, I consider myself so lucky.
I have a healthy, happy family and an opportunity to be myself and achieve my own dreams too. I’m a Mummy and a teacher, both of the things I wanted to be when I was a little girl. Hopefully both of my babies will see that too, because sometimes the best learning comes from the examples we set.