This year I made the decision to go back to work for one day a week. Gideon was 7 months old when I returned. I have blogged previously about the mummy guilt I felt at returning to work. Three terms down the track though and I still feel a little this way. It's not exactly the same feeling as I had before I started but it definitely feels like a real balancing act between my home life and my work life.
My Mum is doing an awesome job looking after the three kids. And I know Gideon is fine without feeds and without me there now. In fact, he probably sleeps better for Mum than he does for me at home! But there has been quite a few times this year that Gideon has been sick and I have had to take time off work (Gideon seems to get a whole lot more respiratory sicknesses than the other kids ever did which we suspect is due to his adenoids - but that's a whole other story ;)) or he's not been 100% and I have still gone to work.
The hard bit is making that call. Do I take time off or do I go to work? How much time off is ok without being excessive? If I do take time off I feel like I am letting work down (and my students - I work at a special school so having a day off means the kids have a replacement teacher or their class split and their routine is disrupted for the day). If I don't take time off I feel like I am letting my kids down. For me, family comes first. It's not even a question. When the kids are obviously sick I take time off. But sometimes they are just not 100% and you have to make decisions about whether you should or shouldn't go to work (and then end up feeling guilty all day if you do decide to go to work!)
My mum has an auto-immune disorder too so if the kids are even a little bit sick it is higher likely that she will get whatever they have. So I feel guilty whenever I send them off with a sniffle or the like that she is going to end up sick as well!
Then there's been times that I have missed things at Jacob's school because I've been working. All the special occasions at Jacob's school this year have been on Fridays. I've had to miss his Autumn Festival and his Spring Festival (for which the kids did a little Eurythmy performancy - I was really sad to miss this!) I know that my mum loves going to these but gee I feel guilty for being the only mummy not there for her son. In my mind I am not performing my 'duties' as a mum (no offence intended for other mums that choose to work - this is just how I feel about things myself!)
Teaching is a pretty child friendly job. I get school holidays off to look after my kids and I don't have to put in extremely long hours in face-to-face time (I say face-to-face time because teachers do actually put in a lot more hours away from the classroom!) But sometimes I wish I could have a job that is more flexible. One that I can work my hours around my children's needs and take time off to see those important performances by my kids.
But then again, I love my job. I love working with kids with special needs and taking delight in every small achievement they make. And I can't really do what I do without being away from home! So where does that leave me? I'm not quite sure! I suspect that this mummy guilt will continue until my kids are all grown up. In the meantime I shall just have to learn to deal with it.
For others that work outside the home how do you find balancing work/family life?