I’ve been on maternity leave for 13 months now – I’m a teacher and a conveniently timed pregnancy meant I started my maternity leave at the beginning of the summer holidays last year. It was always my intention to return to work after a year but I was only on a temporary contract before my maternity leave and unfortunately, although I was successfully interviewed there were no posts available for Modern Languages teachers in the council where I was working previously. In this council everyone has one interview with the council and then they allocate people to the available jobs, rather than the decisions being made by individual schools.
Staffing requirements can often change over the summer holidays which means a job may come up once the schools start back in a few weeks (and this is what has happened to me every other year I’ve been teaching) but this year, with childcare to organise, just hanging around and hoping something came up wasn’t ideal. I can go on the supply register, but again I wouldn’t be able to make myself available at short notice because of having to arrange someone to look after Toby. We don’t have any family nearby so it’s not like I can just ask my mum to pop up the 250 miles to look after Toby so I can go to work for a day!
Anyway, it was starting to look like I might not be going back to work after all. We told the nursery we wouldn’t be able to take up the place we’d reserved for Toby and after doing some sums we worked out that although we wouldn’t have a lot to spare, we could manage on just one wage. But then I saw jobs advertised in two schools in a different council. They were a bit further away than I’d like ideally but I had to take a chance and apply for them. I was selected for interview for both jobs and had the first one today….and they offered me the post!!
I’m very pleased to be going back to work – I love being at home with Toby but I’ve been surprised just how much I’ve missed my job over the last year. But it’s really scary to think that in two and a half weeks I’ll be back at work full time (Scottish schools go back mid-August). And even scarier is that my little baby boy is going to have to go to nursery full time in a couple of weeks too. Luckily the place was still available at the nursery we had chosen so he’ll be going there. He’ll be doing some settling in sessions very soon and I really hope he manages to get used to it quickly. I know, when I think about it logically, that nursery will be really good for Toby. He’ll get to socialise with other children, he’ll get to do so many more activities than he would if he was at home with me all the time…but but but…..I wish he didn’t have to go. Nobody has ever looked after him apart from me and his dad (apart from a couple of times when we’ve had babysitters while he’s been asleep) and I can’t imagine him spending more time with the nursery workers than he does with us. I feel so sad that someone else might witness his first steps, or his first proper words. I’m so worried that he’ll get upset and I won’t be there to comfort him. I feel like he’s too little to understand what’s going on, and I can’t explain to him why I can’t be there.
Toby woke up from his nap just after I got the call this afternoon to say I had got the job and I went upstairs and gave him a cuddle and I cried for all the cuddles I’m going to miss. I know, really, that I’m doing the right thing, and I’m sure Toby will love nursery soon enough. (And if our plans work out the way we hope it will only be for a year and then, hopefully, I’ll be on maternity leave again…and after that, who knows.) For now though I need to start organising and working out how I’m going to fit in all the chores around a full time job. And I’ve got two and half weeks to fit in as many cuddles as I can!