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Work/life balance after mat leave?

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by nearly_there_now, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. nearly_there_now

    nearly_there_now New commenter

    Hello, I returned from mat leave 4 months ago to a school with generally lovely, hardworking children, reasonably supportive but high pressure parents, and a staff team who know me well and are very supportive towards each other. I am enjoying having a job to go to and a break from being mummy at home, and I'm happy with childcare arrangements for LO. But I can't keep up with this level of work, even on part time contract of 4 days a week. I work from the moment I get to school at 8am until I leave at 5:45pm but I am still taking work home with me, which I don't get time to even begin until 8:30pm after doing dinner and house jobs, by which time I am shattered. I have started getting headaches which I'm sure are just down to exhaustion, and dizzy spells because I am constantly on the go. My partner is helpful but works shifts so he often needs to go to bed as soon as I walk in the door and he has no understanding of the non-stop nature of my day. School is due an for an ofsted before the end of this academic year and we have traditionally floated around "ok" under its various labels, so the pressure is on to show "progress towards outstanding" etc- I've been to meetings and power points galore since I came back. Is this just how it is, or do you manage to reduce the working hours to something less all encompassing? What else can I do to cut down on the hours? I'm in a new year group (Y5), but I use marking key, peer assessment etc- there is just so much to fit in. I have been seriously considering resigning, even though I am a good, experienced teacher, the management have faith in me and the children enjoy learning in my lessons, as much as kids do anyway. It's just that I'm exhausted. And it's only the first day back after half term. Any advice?
  2. muso2

    muso2 Established commenter Community helper

    Hi, I don't have a solution, but just wanted to say you have my sympathy. I haven't returned yet but imagine it is hard work.
    Can you give yourself a bit of a break by setting up series of lessons where kids carry on with something they all know what they're doing with so that least one lesson day is slightly easier on you?
    If you're doing very detailed planning that nobody is scrutinising, can you plan in a bit less detail, whilst still having the resources you need to hand?
    Whatever you do, you sound like you need to look after yourself well at the moment - hope others will have more suggestions. Good luck x
  3. kimt1970

    kimt1970 New commenter

    I do think it is the nature of the job. The only way I have found to achieve a reasonable work life balance is to cut my hours down to 3 days. The days I teach are exactly as you describe but then I know I have 4 days off to recuperate even though I still have school work to do at home it is nowhere near as bad and I would never go back full time. Hope things get better for you
  4. j_pink

    j_pink New commenter

    It is possible to do this full time and stay sane, but you've gotten be bloomin Mary poppins. There some great general mums advice on Pinterest if you type in 'working mums organisation' some great tips come up.
    Re work, try reading up on some good advice e.g. The lazy teacher.

    - get your marking done as much as possible In the lesson itself
    - deploy some kids to be in charge of stickers, feedback etc
    - get the kids doing as much as possible especially tidying up
    - pack all your bags the night before including your lunch
    - take a flask of coffee in
    - set yourself a timed task at home to fit in with your daily routine e.g. 8-9pm on alternate nights marking, the other nights relax and have a glass of wine.
    - use the mornings as much as possible
    - sack off the gym and go for evening walks in the summer. Eat healthier.
    - get the kids at home to help with little jobs
    - keep your papa time protected as much as possible
    - be brutal about what meetings you really need to have
    - enjoy working lunches with colleagues instead of long meetings

    As much as possible, keep and share lesson resources and recycle it up! Be happy with 'good' instead of panicking about becoming outstanding. Aren't you doing enoug? Give yourself a break. You're holding your whole family together and shaping the lives of lots of little people. Bravo you!
  5. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    Yes, it is possible-my primary teachers worked normal hours and seldom took work home-and we all learned enough! Just try to ignore the rubbish in the job today if you're lucky enough to work in a place that still puts the kids first.
  6. gooddays

    gooddays Senior commenter

    Oh, @nearly_there_now, you sound like me in 1984. I am sending you a virtual hug and this advice: be as kind as you can be to yourself. Here are some critical questions:
    Does your childcare arrangement include your partner?
    Is he involved in 'doing dinner and house jobs'?
    Could he have dinner (or a substantial part thereof) on the table when you walk in the door?
    Why doesn't he understand the non-stop nature of your day?
    Is he allowed to sleep more than you? Count the hours. If he is getting more, ask yourself why.
    Are you more considerate of him than you are of yourself?
    This level of care required for your baby is for a brief time. Consider having more paid childcare time, cleaning help and prepared foods. Think of it as a temporary investment in your successful career. Best of luck.

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