Bear with me as this is quite a long post! I'm looking for stories of hope or advice from fellow working parents. I'm currently on maternity leave with my second daughter which has given me the headspace to reflect on my career and I know that I want more! I'm 32 and I feel like I could be great but have lost my career oomph a little bit. In 2017 I left my post as Assistant Head of a small school following the birth of my first daughter to work as a teacher at a larger primary school. It was a tricky decision as although I loved the teachers and children in the school, it was a very small school where an AWFUL lot was asked of me and the headteacher at the time fostered a rather hostile work environment. During my time at this school my confidence was worn away by the actions of my supposed leader. I felt bullied, undermined and degraded during my time there - a strong contributing factor in my decision. I had arrived there following a really happy and successful four year career as a teacher and then SENCO. I left after 3 years feeling like a shadow of myself and can only now reflect on it more positively. Consequently when I left I focused on my child and mental health in the short term rather than long term career aims. The workload was excruciating which was another reason for leaving. To put it into perspective, I now work at a school where there is a non teaching deputy and two non teaching assistant heads whose job roles cover areas which were covered by me on my own with a full time classroom commitment. To cut a long story short, my family is now complete and I now want to ensure that i have the career that I feel I was on track for before my experience at my last school - not only for myself but for my children. My question is how do I get back on top - I now have no responsibility other than a relatively low priority one and I now work 3.5 days a week. What I really want is to be a leader again and make sure that what happened to me does not happen in my own school. I feel like I need to request a move to year 6 or a core subject or similar in order to make me a worthwhile candidate in the future. Or enrol on some kind of masters course (which I can't really afford). The problem is that there are no opportunities for promotion in the school I moved to, and it is full of younger teachers who have no family commitments who would be ready to jump into a position if it became available. I also happen to live in an area which does not have any problem in attracting strong applicants- coupled with my self esteem not being great right now I find it hard to imagine ever getting back to having the career I want. Has anyone ever experienced promotion after a career break of sorts? If so how did you get there and how did you manage the workload?