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How do you cope with having a baby and teaching?

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by international_muso, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. international_muso

    international_muso New commenter

    My baby has just turned 1 and I went back to work in November on a 0.8 contract. I am really struggling, not just with juggling being a mum and a teacher, but with everything! I also don't think my partner is being as supportive as he could be - he won't get up on time to take over so that I can get to work, so I always end up late; he won't do any housework or cleaning, so I'm trying to do everything and I just cannot cope at all. I suggested we hire a cleaner but as we are paying so much in childcare that idea was shot-down immediately.

    I have no family that live nearby to support me, my husband's mother lives close but she is disabled and too old to help with our baby, or lend a hand in anything else.

    I can't afford to drop any days and have already had an application for flexible working refused. To top all of this off, the teacher covering my maternity leave did not stick to any schemes of work I had left, I have year 11s with no coursework at all and all my key stage 4 working well below their target grades, so I'm being pressured from the SLT to stay after school and give up my lunch times for "interventions".

    My working day is so full-on that I don't even have the time to eat or sit down for 10 minutes; because I am leaving the house later in the morning my commute is now 1.5 hours, and the same home.

    It honestly feels like I have developed post-natal depression just as I've gone back to work. I've tried going to the doctors and started some therapy but could not find the time to attend any of the appointments as they are during my working day and the HT wouldn't release me.

    Any advice?
  2. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    its only a job, its not worth this. Find another job
  3. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    In many cases , teaching is incompatible with motherhood. We have no mothers of under 18s at all in our school, not one. Occasionally one is appointed, but they always resign quite fast
  4. international_muso

    international_muso New commenter

    Eek. I thought that replies would be a little more positive and encouraging. I suppose I could give up on my 14 year career, and waste a huge investment.

    It makes me so angry to read that this may be the only solution... where are the feminists when you need them?
  5. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    This sounds tough. It was always going to be an adjustment going back, but there must be things that would make it easier.
    Firstly, you need your partner to support more in the mornings. What would happen if you just went when you needed to? Would he just ignore your child or would he step up? Can you prep your lunch or shower the night before to save time in the morning?

    Do you teach music? Guessing from your user name. So prioritise year 11 right now. If you've had this many years experience you know what you're doing with ks3 and year 10 and can plan activities that minimise marking and paperwork from you. This is not the year to do an extra concert or run extra clubs. Can you pull in any other colleagues or peris to run or help with an extracurricular club to take pressure off you? You can't stay after school every day to support year 11s so maybe target one or two after school sessions and contact parents to make sure the kids you need can stay.

    I can't really advise, as I went very part time after having children. But didn't want to read and run when you sound so down. If you scroll down a bit on this part of the forum you'll see others asking similar questions and hopefully some useful ideas for you. It does sound like your school is less understanding, only you can know whether your current struggles are temporary or whether it's a school you're better out of. I know plenty of people who have made it work, though possibly with more local family help, but it's not easy to juggle everything.
    Good Luck.
    freckle06 likes this.
  6. freckle06

    freckle06 Lead commenter

    I also don’t want to read and run. It worked for me because I was less than 0.8 (did 0.8 with a baby and a toddler and it was too much. Found 0.6 worked for me financially and as a family).

    You need your partner to step up, that’s the only ways it’s going to work unless you make bigger compromises.

    In the long term getting that commute down would help,

    In the short term, I agree with the above; get year 11 prioritised. I’d also make it clear that your supply didn't cover sof or stick to what you specified - who was supervising them??

    Also talk to your line manager - you need support and school have a duty of care to provide it, emotionally and professionally. Good luck
  7. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Very awkward if year 11s haven't done their coursework, and you need support with that - perhaps covering you so you can have them off timetable to get it done - of course off-timetable has its conflicts with their other subjects, though.

    How would you feel about doing a session or two at half-term? You can't be expected to, and you should certainly expect to be paid if you do, but if that would work better for you than after school, it's worth suggesting. Argue it as better for the students, so that they're not being expected to do extra after-school sessions when they have homework for other subjects to worry about too.

    That's a long commute if you have family responsibilities as well.

    Prioritise getting your lunch. You are entitled to a lunch break, and you'll function better if you have at least a short sit-down to eat.

    As for your SLT refusing to release you for therapy appointments, I would check with your union. If these are appointments prescribed by your doctor, I would have thought you ought to be allowed to go. I would also make sure you have a record of their refusal.
  8. cambdeb

    cambdeb New commenter

    Honestly it is really hard being a working parent teacher or not (done both).
    Having a baby is a huge adjustment for both partners.

    My response and it might sound a bit petty but it worked in my case was to stop doing all the stuff for my partner and the house e.g. stuff only got washed if it was in the washing basket. Didnt pickup after him. Stopped making his packed lunch, gave specific requests for what was needed with help for tea prep or I'll do tea you wash up...then left him to get on with it.
    It soon brought everything to a head in a massive argument but it got stuff sorted but it was difficult for a while.
    Our problems or set up was established whilst I was on maternity leave and got into the habit of doing it all. Truthfully I did lots of it before too and not helped as him mum was a traditional housewife and never worked outside the home.

    I loved the idea that someone had of just leaving him to deal with the baby and go to work when you need to as long as you think the baby will be safe. Let him deal with nursery drop off etc.. as it sounds like you both need to work.

    It comes from a societal problem with the image of parents...e.g. mother goes out...how nice dad is babysitting...he's not it's his child he is parenting! Dad goes out noone asks who the child is with.

    The above attitude sorted it for us...my husband just didnt realise...he is a fantastic dad and we do house stuff together now..tho I do most of the cooking. Over the years one of us has had stints where we are doing the most at home...life jobs and everything change sso flexibility is needed.

    Others fixes for work sound like good advice.

    Can you get counselling over the phone...education helpline...union?

    Hope you get it sorted.
  9. scott1980

    scott1980 Occasional commenter

    I teach full time in an sen school. I manage because my husband doesn't work. I leave 7.30am and get to work for 8. I leave by 4pm every day except staff meeting day and work between 6 and 8pm when my son goes to bed. I'm lucky he sleeps through as I get up at 5.30am to get ready. I won't lie, I was exhausted end of term. He's 16 months and I went back when he was 7 months. You have to find the right school.
  10. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Why anyone thinks having a baby, a 1.5hr commute and a useless partner could ever be compatible with almost f/t teaching is beyond me.

    Either you drop hours, find a school closer to home, or get your husband to start pulling his weight. And even then it will be hard. The school's not interested in your organisational problems except insofar as it inconveniences them. If they're paying you to teach 0.8, they want to see it done.

    Even the most committed feminist can't take on two full time jobs at a time. They can delegate, that's all. Nanny, stay-at-home husband, handy gran, cleaner. Having it all remains a myth. It's not you being inadequate. It's just an impossible situation and it's making you ill.
  11. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    I agree with everything @Aquamarina1234 says and it really isn’t possible to have it all, unless you have a foolproof child care system or pots of money.

    Is your husband working? Did you go back after maternity leave on the understanding that child care and housework would be a joint effort?

    I think that what you’re trying to do is unsustainable.and you are becoming unwell. Your husband needs to realise that both your lives have changed and it’s not all up to you. Does he understand the difficulties you’re facing?
  12. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    What do you think feminists can do or say to help you?

    We need society to value motherhood, to support mothers and to respect the professional experience and contributions of mothers.

    Effectively, this means high quality, flexible, affordable childcare, the same career paths and promotions open to part timers as full timers ( in proportion to the hours worked) males expected to play an equal role in home making, women's biological needs taken account of in work place conditions, etc

    unfortunately we are getting further from equality, not closer to it.

    So in the current situation in the UK, no amount of feminist sentiment can help you. All we can do is keep pushing for change for the future
  13. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    I feel a bit guilty now for what must sound pretty negative. I do have tons of sympathy - nay, pity - for women starting families now. When I had mine (1982) there might have been sod all in the way of maternity benefits or childcare but it was possible to buy a house on one modest salary. Even with a 15% mortgage rate, you could stagger on for a few years until the kids were at school.

    Yes, you were in an unequal situation compared with men regarding career progress and pensions but 5 yrs out of a lifetime of work is not the end of the world; and you make a choice to bear and raise a child. Every choice comes with a price tag.

    I sadly agree with corvuscorax: we have moved away from feminism. Increased legal equality has taken little account of the biological realities of childbirth. In Wanting It All, we have simply got stuck with Doing It All. And too many men are quite happy to turn a blind eye.
    Corvuscorax likes this.
  14. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    I really sympathise. It doesn't sound like your husband is being helpful at all. I think having very helpful grandparents nearby really helps. The cost of nursery for us was horrendous - £70 per day per child before free funding kicked in (we had 2 in 2 years). It's really really tough. I can understand why people are only having one these days. I would look to move schools to change your commute. Good luck xx

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