Today I had my first really serious wobble about returning to paid employment.
It was actually a wobble long in the making, as all serious wobbles are and it started with Parents' Evening. Some bright spark at my school thinks 4 to 6pm is the perfect time to hold Parents' Evening, which it is if you've not got any children or if you don't have any responsibility for sorting out the childcare of your children.
However, it's a total nightmare if you do. 4pm is exactly the wrong time, because kids have to be picked up from school, ferried to clubs and after-school activities, dinner needs putting on the table, homework done... the worst time of my day is between 3 and 7pm, because it's all chasing after one small person or another, breaking up fights, dealing with tantrums, picking up and running around. It's the exact time of day my fight or flight reflex kicks in big time and all I want to do is hit something or run away screaming... I think you get the idea.
So I tried to do the right thing. I asked 5 people to look after my two youngest (the eldest is fine, she can let herself into the house and look after herself for a bit) and not one of them could, because they're all dealing with their own kids and the concomitant issues (see above). Anyone else who could is at work. Naturally.
So the doubt about whether or not I'm doing the right thing starts to creep in. I have to face the probability that I can't attend Parents Evening, one of the key obligations of my job, and that makes me feel like I'm not doing my job properly. If I can't do it properly, what's the point in doing it? The stress built up over a couple of weeks, until I simply had to get it off my chest, so I did the one thing that you know really solves any problem and is the best way to get major wobbles out of your system.
I posted a Facebook status saying: Vanessa Lawrey is starting to doubt whether this whole working mother thing is a)working and b)worth it....
And you know what? I received so much positive reinforcement and encouragement from people I've never even met, it just filled me right to the brim, made me consider what I can do, rather than what I can't. Which is rather ironic because I had a conversation not too long ago with a student about that very thing. This learner is forever saying how rubbish he is at maths, how he can't do this and he can't do that. So I point blank challenged him to list what he can do, and I started him off with two or three things. The small smile on his face as I did so was just such a wonderful reward.
Every now and then, we all need to remind ourselves of what we can do, rather than constantly focussing on what we can't. So, if you feel moved to comment on my humble offering, tell me one thing that you can do.
I'll start. I am good at encouraging others. What about you?
P.S. I did manage to find someone to look after the little ones, so I guess I'm Superwoman after all!!
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