Thank you to Catherine aka Mama vs Teacher for featuring as this week’s Working Mama! I really enjoyed reading about her experience, I always wanted to be a secondary school teacher for the same reasons. I think it’s really important to have positive influences in the challenging years!
First, tell me about your family and why you started to blog (if you’re a blogger)?
I am a first time Mama, married in 2012 and Sprog joined us in 2013. We had never intended to start to family so quickly but we decided that we were just waiting for silly things so we went for it! I started to blog when I returned to work to help me balance out the stresses of both worlds.
If you can discuss your job, what do you do and what was your career path that led to your job?
I am a secondary History teacher at a local high school. I work full time teaching hours, plus all the outside of school work. I used to look at other teachers before I had a baby and wonder how on earth they did it all…. Now I know that you just don’t get as much sleep as you’d like!
I went into teaching when I finished University as I wanted to be able to support teens as they go through some of the most challenging years and help to form ‘good’ people for the future.
How old was your baby when you returned to work?
Sprog was 8 ½ months old, I went back just before he was 9 months as it’s easier to return to teaching immediately after a school holiday rather than a couple of weeks in.
Who looks after your baby while you are at work?
He goes to nursery 2 days a week, my mum for 2 days and my husband’s mum for 1 day.
What did you hate about returning to work?
The work load, leaving Sprog, feeling like I was missing out on his changes and development, the strain on our family time to get all of our chores done and be good parents.
And what benefits have you seen as a result of returning to work?
My sanity! I’m not built to stay at home the whole time, I found it quite isolating in some ways and it was great to be able to socialise with adults again, to be me, and to interact with the kids at work again.
What would you say to new moms who are feeling guilty about returning to work?
I put as much effort into planning activities in the evenings and weekend’s for Sprog as I do for planning lessons for work. That way I know that I am still contributing to his cognitive development in a specific way even though I am not at work all the time with him. I know that he always has a great time a nursery as he loves the activities and seeing the other kids there so after the initial few weeks of feeling bad about leaving my baby somewhere else, I came to the realisation that it’s a great experience for him and he is very happy there. If you’ve got to put your little person into some kind of childcare, formal or by a family member, be very clear with them on the things that you won’t compromise on i.e. nap times, food etc and then try to relax about everything else. It’s all new experiences which will give them, sometimes, a far greater range of interactions than you might have done on your own.
Finally, what do you think about my (controversial) idea… Maternity pay reflecting your working wage. So we scrap the standard £539 per month and you get paid your working wage for a year. It could be £200 it could be £1200, but it would encourage people to be secure before having children and would stop people getting paid in benefits to have children! It’s a dream world idea but it makes sense to me!
I would have taken the whole year off if I had been paid my full wage. No question. It was finances that meant I couldn’t take the last 3 months off.
You can check out more from Catherine on the following networks.