Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Working Full Time - A Year In Review

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A whole year has whisked its way through my life since I started working full time.  It's one of those strange phenomenon, where the days seem long but the year passes in the blink of an eye!

This time last year I was eagerly preparing myself to teach in a school where I didn't know anyone and not one of my students was familiar to me.  In short order I fell in love with that quirky, funny class.  And then six months later I left, since I only had a short term contract.  This year I am teaching in the school where I worked before I got my degree; the school my children attend(ed).  I knew all my students before I entered my classroom, some of them before they were even born!  I even get to teach my niece.  Along with all the lessons I'm learning about how to be the best teacher I can be, I've learned a lot of lessons about being a Mum who works full time as well.

1.  You can't do it all.
I've always known this.  Working part time and studying was a hard gig.  But I was home almost straight after school and I had time each week to weave in things that I enjoyed.  These days I'm not at home for about 10 hours a day.  I can't do all the things I wish I could.  At the start of the year I decided not to even pretend to try.  I have a good friend whom I pay to clean our house.  My kids cook lots of meals.  The girls help with ferrying Mr Busy to middle-of-the-day destinations, like his VET course on a Wednesday.  I choose not to feel guilty about any of those things.  

2.  Know the season you're in and respond appropriately.
I know that my current season is not an easy one.  Learning a new job, learning to do that in two different school cultures in one year, learning how to juggle motherhood with working life.  It's a big learning curve.  Working full time with a family is so different to working full time before having children.  In this season it means lots of self-protection.  Our weekends are fairly quiet and we don't do a lot of entertaining.  I sleep a lot on the weekends.  I am very careful about what I commit to.  I look forward to my work life being more seamless and streamlined than it is right now, but I know that is not my current season.

3.  Work/Life balance is a myth.
Because I can clearly identify my season and how I need to respond appropriately I am not overly concerned about the fact that my life is quite unbalanced at present.  My work takes more of my time than I would like it to, but it's part of learning how to do what I do now.  I was chatting with my BIL yesterday morning and he agreed - we need to make sure what we do aligns with what we believe is important.  I am content that my life exhibits that alignment.  I am committed to doing my job well.  I am committed to being in community within my church community.  And of course, being a mother means family is always a high committment.  My life is not and does not look balanced.  But it is totally aligned with what's important to me.

I am so grateful to have had 13 years at home with my children, focussing on just one thing: being a mum, raising great kids.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to move into a new season, where I get to do a job I love, and that this has coincided with my children being in their late teens/early adulthood.  I never thought I would want to work outside the home again.  I feel so blessed to be able to work, again, in the place where my son also spends his days.  I love that I get to work full time, and yet touch base with him in the playground, or when he stops by my classroom to ask for money for the tuck shop.  I am blessed to have one daughter who has decided she doesn't like being home when the house is being cleaned so she comes and helps in my classroom.  


Cate Brickell said...

I laughed that your daughter helps in your classroom because she doesn't like being home when the house is being cleaned! Sounds like you've had an interesting year, and learnt some important lessons.

Mystery Case said...

Sounds like a year of learning curves.

Natalie OurParallelConnection said...

I love that you know your season and you are not fighting against it. Taking the pressure off makes for a happier household. Great post #teamIBOT

Kirsty @ My Home Truths said...

I love your approach to this change in your life - you have the right attitude and I know things will settle down so you can reclaim some balance again x

Left-Handed Housewife said...

It's been such a transition--and such a joy to watch you make it! I'm so happy you've found this wonderful work and figured out how to do it without going crazy trying to do everything else as well.