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.