So it will be half term soon and this is either fantastic news for you or a nightmare depending on who you are and what you do.
You probably know what I mean but I’ll try and explain anyway with a little bit of background about me.
When I found out I was pregnant I was due to become a partner at a large commercial law firm. I had worked very hard for ten years since leaving university to get to this stage and this was due to be the pinnacle of my career. My boss seemed initially pleased for me, but things changed. An entire blog (read rant) could be written about why I then wasn’t made a partner, but that’s not really the point of this post. Anyway I left for maternity leave feeling dejected and unsure about whether to return to life in the law.
I then had my eldest and my life was turned upside down. Suddenly my world wasn’t all about work. I had thought I would be off for 6 months but when she was born I knew I really wanted at least the 12 months with her. Then! Well then life changed again. When my eldest was 6 months old I got pregnant with identical twin girls and I was still off on maternity leave..
I returned to work for two months, six months pregnant with the twins (much to my boss’s disgust) and then started a second maternity leave all within 12 months of the first. It was all a bit of a whirlwind.
So then came the decisions. Three very young children and a career in law. What to do?? I considered giving it all up then. Staying at home and looking after my three babies full time. That is the right decision for some, but for me it didn’t feel right. I had worked so hard to get to that point, earned good money and wasn’t ready to give it up. So we hired a wonderful nanny (three children means a nanny is cheaper than nursery anyway) and I went back to work 3 days a week when the kids were 6 months old. I lasted 12 months.
I thought mid way through those 12 months that whilst it was hard balancing everything then it would get easier when they went to school. But then my friends children got to school age and I realised that it actually got harder. They actually need you more. There is homework, school clubs, trips. There are school plays, assembly’s and sports days to watch. How do you do all that if you’re working long hours away from home. So I gave it all up. I walked away, and said I was going to be something else.
I tried it all. I tried lecturing, in-house roles, teaching, board membership, trustee roles. I loved the variety, the different experiences and the more time at home, I even set up a travel blog! But I was working hard, just as hard, and I was getting paid a lot less. It was tricky to balance all the competing demands and to know what childcare I needed and when I needed it, so what to do…
Well I have gone back. I have gone back to a job in a large commercial law firm (a different one) and so far I love it. The little minitravellers as I call them in my blog are now 4, 3 and 3. They do some pre-school and have some nanny time. I have them two half days a week, I drop them at pre-school some days, and we all have the weekend. It seems like a fantastic balance and so far, so good.
But and there is the but! What do I do about half term??? I have planned our childcare around pre-school. What on earth do we do when school isn’t on. I’m lucky that our nanny can pick up some of the slack as she still works for us, but what will we do next year when school starts. When there is around 12 weeks of school holidays to cover. What on earth do you do then. There are parents all around me wondering the same.
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