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Hello! So, as expected, I haven’t blogged since returning to teaching. At all. Life has been super busy and it’s been a big adjustment for us all. I’m not quite sure even after half a term that we’re actually fully used to it yet! So I just thought I’d write a little about what it’s been like returning to teaching after a long break.
Starting a new teaching job
So I returned to primary teaching at the beginning of September, after a three-ish year break since having the twiglets. (You can read about how I was feeling before returning to teaching in this post). I started the job on a temporary basis. It was a slightly unusual situation as I was taken on after the summer holidays started.
This meant I didn’t go through the usual process. I had an interview and teaching observation after I’d started instead of before. And it’s all been a bit up-in-the-air as to whether I’d definitely be staying and which year group I’d end up in etc.
I’m the type of person who likes to know where I stand and I get a bit anxious not knowing what’s going on. So this was all a bit stressful really.
A move up to Year 6
But anyway, it seems that I’m staying and I’ve now moved from Year 3 into Year 6. Initially I had some reservations about this, due to the added pressure of SATs. However, I love the school and want to stay there so I decided to give it a go. Hopefully after half term, I will be able to settle into more of a routine.
I’m working 2 1/2 days – Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Hopefully this will enable me to have a bit of a balance between working and spending time with the twiglets. It’s hard to know yet whether we’re managing to achieve a balance, as each week has been pretty different so far. Some weeks have been good; others I’ve been missing out on family time at the weekends to work or trying to catch up in the evenings and feeling utterly exhausted. I’m sure to an extent that’s how it will probably be, as particular things crop up – Parents Evenings, end-of-year reports etc.
Things I’m finding difficult since returning to teaching
There are a couple of aspects we have been struggling with:
Keeping up with the housework
Keeping up with the housework now feels like I’m constantly treading water but never quite managing to get my head above the surface. Just to continue with the water metaphor there, I’m basically drowning in laundry and barely dipping my toes in the cleaning that needs to be done :’)
In other words, the house is a sh*t tip and no one has any clean clothes. Ever.
Before, I had the luxury of two days to myself while the twigs went to nursery. I would use that time to run errands in town. The ones that are a nightmare with two mini dictators in tow! Such as going to the tiny post office, going shopping (also a nightmare avec les enfants), batch cooking meals for the twigs, but mostly CLEANING.
We have toyed with the idea of getting a cleaner and I think we may go down that route eventually. Even if it’s just once a fortnight or something, to help us keep up. You know when you sort of feel like a bit of a failure though? Like if other people manage to juggle all this, surely we should be able to as well?!
Less time to myself
In terms of me, I’m also really starting to feel the loss of that time to myself. Just that bit of head space. Days with the twiglets are great, but they’re hard work! They don’t nap during the day anymore so it’s pretty full on and relentless. I feel like now, to get any time to myself, I’d have to sacrifice precious family time altogether at the weekends, which feels wrong.
I know that self-care is really important but it’s hard when you just feel guilty for having any time to yourself. I’m not really sure what the solution is to that one. Maybe to try to get out in the evenings a bit more? But then I’m so flipping knackered that’s not easy either!
The twiglets are struggling to adapt
The other thing is that the twigs have struggled to adapt to doing three days in a row at nursery. The hours are a lot longer than they were doing previously and although they love it, they are utterly exhausted. Not always a bad thing! 🙂
But C has been super emotional and up until very recently, would just cry and whinge nonstop until bedtime when I collected them at 6pm on Mondays and Tuesdays. I think she was just about starting to adjust but now it’s half term. So who knows whether we will be back to square one next week!
Also, the twiglets’ behaviour has been an absolute load of balls 🙁 They’re always angels at nursery. So I think the effort of behaving beautifully for three full days in a row means that on their days off with me, they let rip with all the crap they’ve been holding in.
So I get the tantrums, the strops, the naughtiness, the whinging (dear God the whinging!) and basically all manner of sh*ttiness. Alongside this, I’ve used up all my reserves of patience on other people’s kids over the three days at school. So I have very little left for my own children.
Plus we’re all knackered. All these factors combined mean that I often feel like all I do on my days off with the twigs is tell them off. As they repeatedly push alllll the buttons and alllll the boundaries 🙁 It feels like a bit of a monumental effort at times to keep everyone happy and actually have fun together, which kinda sucks. It’s not always like that and of course we do have fun, but it’s bloody hard work some of the time.
Good things about returning to teaching
Overall though, I am enjoying doing something for me. I feel I’ve got a little part of the old, pre-motherhood me back again. I love teaching and I think I feel more fulfilled in a way, now that I’m back doing it.
On Thursdays and Fridays, I’ve been trying to do lots of fun things with the twiglets. (Despite the meltdowns and the moaning). I think having less time with them is making me think more about the time we have and ensure that it’s quality.
Hopefully in time we will achieve the dream of having a good balance between work and home life. (I’m sure the planning and endless marking might have something to say about that though!)
Feel free to drop a comment below if you’ve experienced returning to teaching after a long break. Or if you feel you have a good work-life balance, then give me all your secrets! 😉
Thanks for reading! Tiil next time,