Monday, 20 June 2016

Reflection on a First Week

Before I had Zachary, I worked full time as a senior adviser within the call centre of a bank. I worked a minimum of 40 hours per week and more often than not did overtime at the weekends, bank holidays and even on New Years Day. I didn't mind working all those hours or shifts because it meant Husband and I could go out for meals and drinks whenever we wanted, buy nice things, go on short breaks and do things to the house. It also meant we could pay for our wedding and set up a savings fund for when we had children.

Once I had Zachary, after 9 months maternity leave, I returned to work part time and I continued to work part time right through my pregnancy with Charlotte and after I returned to work from maternity leave. We didn't have childcare in the form of a relative who could take the kids for us so I only worked 16 hours per week. Private childcare wasn't an option even if I returned full time because Zachary wasn't in nursery for his free provision but even then, it would have cost us far too much; I would have been better staying at home. Luckily we did have the luxury of the affordability for me to work part time and an employer who let me work around Husband's shifts.

I was lucky enough to be able to be there for my children during their earliest years, something some parents aren't as lucky to be able to do. When that work/life balance could no longer be sustained within the company I worked for, I had to leave. It wasn't an option for me to be able to be fully flexible, especially when Charlotte hadn't even started school and with Husband working night shifts. I left what had been a great set up to pursue a career that would make me feel fulfilled and something that I am deeply passionate about.

Last week, I worked my first full week (36 hours) in 9 years.

It was so much fun, after all the studying and practical experience, to be out there, working as an official Early Years Practitioner.

It was also exhausting. So exhausting. I started at 8.15am every morning and didn't get home with the kids until after 4.30pm, except for on Thursday where it was nearer 5.30pm.

But the guilt. The guilt I felt that I wasn't the one to drop the kids off at school. Or pick them up from school. Even when I was in college, I took the kids to school every day and I'd pick them up every Wednesday, sometimes more often depending on how much work I had to do at college. My children are still only 9 and 7. They aren't teenagers; don't let their witty comebacks and stubbornness fool you.

However I know that this is going to be so much better for our family and not just financially. Our weekends will be spent together, without me having to go out and work every weekend because that's part of my contract. We'll be able to have dinner together, without me having to rush out to make my work at 6pm, high-fiving Husband on the way out the door as he walks in. I'll be there every bed time to read with them, tuck them in, kiss and hug them good night.

And then fall into my own bed around 7.30pm.

Most importantly, they'll have a Mum who is so happy in what she's doing with her life and I think that is a pretty amazing thing for any child to see.

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