I haven’t posted a lot lately because I have had my first baby in July. She is definitely the best thing that has ever happened to me. However she is also the biggest challenge I have faced. It is more than the challenge of taking care of a tiny little person who is totally dependent on you round the clock. For me the biggest challenge has been adjusting to how I define myself and how I will find a work life balance.
I have always identified myself through my work, especially my work ethic. I pride myself in being able to dedicate 500% of myself to my students. This has meant long hours of work after school and on weekends to create the best learning opportunities and resources for my students. I pride myself in being able to juggle multiple roles. In addition to my roles at school, I also worked with UTS, UNSW and Microsoft. I rarely said no to any opportunities that came before me. Even before the baby arrived other teachers have said I was going to have a nervous breakdown because I was working so much.
And now the baby has arrived, I have realised I can’t continue doing what I did. I now need to say no. So far I have said no to working on the national assessment program for science literacy with UNSW, the summer school program with UTS and presenting in Singapore because I was either physically unable to or doing so will mean I will not be sleeping for months on end. Not saying no will no longer just impact on me, it will now impact on a little person as well. This is something I am really struggling with at the moment. It feels like I’ve lost a part of who I am.
However, the biggest challenge for me will be next year when I return to work full time. Baby will be 6 months. I am already thinking of how I’ll balance work commitments from school, my baby’s needs and my own wellbeing. Some things I have asked myself are:
-When should I do school work? Should I stay at school and finish everything at school? This would mean picking up baby from daycare late and by the time we get home, it will be time to put her to bed. If I pick up baby straight after school, I’ll get more time to spend with her but will I then be doing school work till the early hours of the morning and affecting my own health and wellbeing?
-Will I be able to dedicate myself to my students & my faculty as much as I used to?
I’d like to hear from other teachers who are parents and are already on this journey. What are your advice & tips? How do you balance your passion for teaching with your family’s needs, and your own needs?