As Adele sings it: 'This is the end. Hold your breath and count to ten.'
When I climbed in to bed last night, and snuggled up to my husband, I couldn't help but shed a few tears. I have just this one precious week of maternity leave left before I return to work - full time - and have to leave my baby boy.
It isn't that he will be at nursery - I am pleased he's going to nursery for a few mornings each week. I know he will enjoy the social interaction, games, singing and fun.
It isn't that he will be with my mum - I am grateful and pleased that he will get to spend more time with one of his grandparents; she loves him and he'll have lots of fun.
It isn't that he will be with Daddy some of the time while I am at work - I'm chuffed that my boys will get time together and bond even more.
Simply, It's that he won't be with me and I won't be with him. I won't be the one who gives him his morning bottle, or who plays with him during the day. I will only see him at bed time, and on the odd day I don't have after school meetings or detentions to run - I might get home before 4:30pm to bath him. It is the feeling that he might think I have abandoned him. He might wonder where I am. I might miss all those milestones - the sitting up, the crawling, the belly laugh, first steps... The list goes on.
I am sure lots of you may have the Daily Mail's opinion of teachers. You'll think we just work 9-3, have loads of time off, get paid over the odds and have gold-plated pensions. Jog on! If that really was what my career looked like, then I wouldn't have to write this post. The reality is a day that starts at 8am, seeing 4/5 different classes of 30 children, working through break time and lunch time, never getting chance to go to the loo or have a hot drink and then staying until 4:30/5pm for meetings or to run detentions for those exam groups who still haven't done their coursework. Then, you get home and you have to start again because you have to mark every class's books every 2 weeks - and you have an average of 7-9 different classes. Then you've also got to plan all of the lessons for the next day - 5 hours worth, and resource them all. You can't get all of this done in the evenings so you drag it over into the weekend and lose your Sunday evenings. And then over half term you mark all 7-9 classes' assessments that you worked up towards over that half term. THAT is the reality of secondary teaching. There are, of course, a few of those golden moments in every week where you make a difference to a child, or see them really click with something you're doing - and that's magical.
So, I have to try and look at the positives:
- I have to work so we can pay the bills (it isn't a choice - we're entitled to no help) and give Jake everything he needs - we won't let him go without
- Jake will be more and more sociable and that will be great for when he starts school
- He'll get lots of interaction and stimulation which is brilliant for early development
- As a teacher I'll get school holidays off with him
- There might be a chance to go part time to 4 days a week from September - more research and conversations needed
I'm going to savour this last week with my baby boy - any tips and advice welcome - especially from other teachers and working mums xx