Here we are again. We have been here time and time before. It comes around so quickly and it is always said, how the summer time just disappears.
Teachers are given a hard time when the subject of summer is mentioned. Family, friends and acquaintances have their opinion already made, believing that they have it easier than any other profession. They are disgruntled and envious that teachers get the so called July and August months as rest when they do not have pupils to teach. It is not seen or discussed how many days are spent during these months when teachers are in their classrooms and offices carrying on with their work that goes on behind the scenes when the pupils are not sat in front. Into school for 9am and out the door once the pupils leave around 3pm is another far-fetched notion of many. Misunderstanding lies with the time spent early each morning prior to registration, time spent after at extracurricular clubs and also later on at home carrying out marking, preparation and everything else. Teachers deserve the break, they need time to unwind, relax and get batteries charged to go again.I feel a little bit like a cheat, not perhaps in the true meaning of the word but more so in the breaks that I have had in between my teaching service. I can just hear some of my comedian colleagues right now! Having chosen over the last 5 years to start a family and been blessed in having our children close together, my time away from school being on maternity leave and then returning again in between as felt a little bit like a blur. Working full time five days a week was difficult after my first little one; it was heartbreaking and exhausting to be honest. With a long commute to work and extracurricular activities there were early starts and late returns. It was a little bit like ‘Ground Hog Day’ if you have ever watched that film. Then there was working part time after my second little one arrived. So grateful to my school allowing me this flexibility with my family, so young as they are and my limited childcare available. However, here I am now with our three children in tow about to embark on a career break. Having weighed up childcare costs, travel to work and everything in between this is the best option for our family right now and once again are grateful to my employers for their understanding of young families and the struggles they face today.As much as I feel excited about this year and the quality time I will have with our children I know how it is going to be tough at times. For those who can imagine and have experience of it before me you will understand I will be very busy with three all under 5. Between school runs, strapping children in and out of care seats, nappy changes, housework and meal times I will be kept on my toes. However I am not complaining. We are very fortunate to have our family and I never take that for granted. We are mindful that for many other people, family and friends alike we know there can be difficulties even getting to this stage. I think of you often…..I only wish there could be an answer…..sometimes there are answers…..sometimes the unimaginable becomes a reality. Have hope and keep faith. There sometimes can be a way. Perhaps waiting to find that special person to start a family with is still the obstacle. The frustration lies in finding ‘the one’. Do not give up!There are many other young families in the same scenario, there are many with more children, there are other parents with children having more complex needs who have much tougher challenges. There are parents who are both in full time work juggling all I talk about and there are single parents doing the same all sharing the same life stresses. Showing understanding, respect and consideration to the choices parents have to make regarding their family, lifestyle and work arrangements is necessary. It is a private matter that none of us know what factors and issues have to be addressed with each personal situation. Sometimes knowing that we are not alone and that others are experiencing the same does not necessarily make you feel better but you do get a little comfort and support.So the Sunday night blues will not be affecting me in quite the same way as before but in a different way. I will be running about like a mad hatter getting all prepared for a race against time come that first morning of the week. Getting up, washed and dressed and that is all four of us, father can manage himself right?! Breakfasts eaten, toilet visited, teeth brushed, coats on, school bag and lunch bag lifted, three kids strapped into car and that is all before 8.30am.
If ever I am in need of my Weetabix, it will be now!
I am ready!
I can do this!