I’ve spoken quite a bit lately about returning to teaching after being home for the past 17 months – a period of illness and then a year’s maternity leave. It’s something that has been worrying away at me for several months – a horrible gnawing in my stomach, my nails chewed to the quick. I have three children and have found the return to work difficult each time, but this time will be the hardest. Because I’ve realised that I’m not able to be superwoman.
And I think that’s the reality for most working mums. It’s a constant sense of guilt. I have to be a good mum, I have to be good at my job. My priority is unquestionably my boys, but I can’t turn up to school unprepared – I have a class full of children relying on me to educate them in the best way possible. So how do I do it? How can I be the best I can be at all of it? And on top of this, I’m a writer (feels a bit strange to say that, I must admit!) How will I find time to write my next book?
I wrote my first book whilst I was working – 12 months of getting up at 5.00 am and cramming in an hour and a half of writing before the real day began. This, I’m sure, is what most writers have to do. At the end of the year, I felt such a sense of accomplishment for having finally written a book, I was overjoyed … and exhausted. It wasn’t the getting up early, I’m a fairly nocturnal person, but added to the stress of teaching and trying so hard to be super-mum … I reached breaking-point. Something had to give. I hated myself for actually telling my son one evening that I didn’t have time to read with him and shooing him off to bed so that I could get the following day’s lessons prepared. I cried myself to sleep that night.
At bedtime the other night my eldest son, teary-eyed, asked if I had to go back to work.
‘You won’t be able to pick us up from school anymore,’ he said. ‘And I thought you were an author now. I thought you could write all day and then be with us.’
Yep, I cried myself to sleep that night too.
I still don’t have an answer, which is why I’m so worried about this week. There is no way in the world that I will ever rush my boys to bed again without attention because I have school work to do. I am first and foremost Mam. My boys are my world. So that leaves me with my writing and teaching. The latter pays my mortgage and bills. The former is me, my passion.
So the point of this blog? I don’t really know. An off-loading? An ask for advice from others in the same situation? For someone to read it and think, ‘That’s exactly how I feel,’ and feel a little comforted by this? I don’t know.
But come Tuesday morning, my alarm clock will ring at 4.30 am. I will write for two hours. I will get the children ready for school then go to work. I will come home and be Mam. I will go to bed. I will dream that somehow I can make all this work.
Hwyl am y tro x