Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Work Life Parenting Balance

Just over a year ago I made the big decision to leave my permanent job in order to find something more flexible to allow me to parent little owl.
I had a great first year as a supply teacher although I always seemed to be working on Fridays when my mummy friends were off.  But I did manage to pack in lots to the 3 days Little Owl and I would spend together.

However, the money wasn't great, and because I only worked two days a week, it took me nearly the whole year to do my 12 week probation period and for my money to go up to a more reasonable amount.

September came around and the work didn't. Not until October. So now we were really skint. Finally a job came in. It could be a permanent job too if I want it to be (and I guess if they like me).  But its lots of hours.  The money really is great but my weeks aren't.

For the last 3 weeks I have worked for a couple of hours on a Monday lunchtime, Tuesday afternoons, Wednesday & Thursday all day leaving me with only Fridays off.  By the time I have got to Friday on the first week I was shattered and had had a lazy day with Little Owl.  A whole week gone and we'd done nothing special, no little outings, no friends seen, to trips to the swings, no baking or craft at home.

I felt very much like it on the second week too but I had plans, Little Owl and I had a mammoth 6 hour drive to get to Lancashire for the Friends of Sangam Gathering.  I was tired but it was great to spend some quality time with Little Owl and by the time I was driving home, I made the decision that the Monday lunchtimes had to stop.  Its a rush to get from swimming, drop Little Owl with my mum and then get to work.  At first I thought I would have the afternoons to catch up with friends but if I skipped lunch the earliest I could meet people was 2 o'clock.  It really wasn't going to work.
Little Owl is nearly two and a half.  That's two and a half years of fun we have had together.  This time next year I will be filling in her school applications and the following year she will start school.  Our adventures will be even more limited.  I don't want to loose a year of this precious time together.  I might work longer days on the days I am working, but until Little Owl goes to school, I'm not planning on working more than 3 days a week.

I realise that I am in a very lucky position to have that as an option, it has come at a financial cost, but one that we can cope with.  I'm also pleased that I have had these few weeks of working so much, I think it will make me appreciate what time I get with Little Owl.

So now I have plans to make!  Its time to sign Little Owl up for a playgroup or nursery for the days I work.  I think she will love it - just got to find the right one!  And then I need to find some new groups or activities for us to go to on the other days.  Exciting times ahead!

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