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To feel despondent about being a working mother?

(23 Posts)
Moulesfrites Wed 20-Jul-11 15:54:01

Please bear with me as i explain this as it is a bit complex and i am struggling to work through and articulate my feelings abput it.

I am a teacher in my 4th year of teaching. A couple of years ago I was made a coordinator in my dept, but it was only a temporary post as a cover from mat leave. When my colleague returned from mat leave whose job I had, she was promoted to cover a different mat leave so I kept on the role, but it was never permanent as it was the result of a series of mat covers. Then, I went on maternity (we are a very fertile dept!) and another colleague was appointed for my mat cover.

My head of department is now moving on so a number of changes have been made and the post I was doing before I went on mat leave has been readvertised as a permanent role. It officially starts in sept, but I am not returning to work until Christmas. I didn't really know where I stood applying for it, but I wanted to show that I was still keen and willing to progress and not go backwards so I applied, thinking it was up to them what they would do about the whole sept/dec thing.

Anyway, the interview was this morning and I didn't get it, the person who has been covering for me did. She is a good friend and I am happy for her. But now I feel I am back where I started in terms of my career,a nd that having a baby has actually set me back, which naively, I never thought it would. I have asked for feedback and they just gave me waffly platitudes about how we both performed well and it was a tough decision. They will never admit if the mat leave thing was a factor in the decision, so I feel frustrated that I will never really know why I didn't get the job. I had decided to go back full time as I earn more than dh, and really push myself to earn and provide for my dh and ds, but now I am just an ordinary teacher with no extra responsibilities, and I feel a bit dejected and sad about it.

Thanks if you have got this far, I just wanted to vent really! I cant help thinking if I hadn't had my gorgeous ds the job would have been mine. Now it makes me want to go back to work pg just to spite them!

CMOTdibbler Wed 20-Jul-11 15:58:25

I'd take it as a point that once you have gone back to work and settled into working ft, you could start looking for a new, higher, role for the next academic year.

Promotions are funny things, so I wouldn't take it personally too

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 20-Jul-11 16:04:01

YABU If you're not going back to work until December that's a good enough reason not to employ you for a job starting in September. You appear to be one year behind schedule rather than 'back where you started' and that's easily made up. On a personal level, working and looking after a baby can take some time to get to grips with... so you might find you're grateful just to be an 'ordinary teacher' until you get everything running smoothly. Try not to jump to conclusions.

Moulesfrites Wed 20-Jul-11 16:10:04

Cogito, I see what you are saying but the thing is, they won't tell me whether that is the reason, for fear of being discriminatory, so I feel like I will never k now if that was it or if I was just not as good as the other candidate.

GetOrfMoiLand Wed 20-Jul-11 16:11:02

Oh don't feel despondent sad.

You must be so disappointed that you didn't get the job. I wouldn't think though that the maternity leave is a factor, however you will never know, so there is little point in worrying about it (easier said than done I know).

What you could do, as you have got managerial experience now, is when you go back to work at the end of the year keep a loofk out for roles in other schools which is department head. You would have a good chance of getting it I am sure, as you have demonsyravle experience of managing a department.

I always find that it is far easier to gain a higher role applying externally than waiting for an internal role. perhaps if you can you would be able to possiby apply for assistant head roles (sorry I assume you are secondary). You will then get valuable interview experience anyway, even if you do not get the job anyway.

Try not to be upset, just look at is as you have had a fantastic chance to gain experience. It is just a minor setback, once you are back at work you can really start to plan for the future.

GetOrfMoiLand Wed 20-Jul-11 16:13:16

God apologies for spelling

Moulesfrites Wed 20-Jul-11 16:57:09

Thanks getorf, I do love my current school but I feel a bit humiliated going back having taken a backwards step. I know if promotion is a priority I will have to think about looking elsewhere.

ramade Wed 20-Jul-11 17:07:46

Everyone feels stung when they don't get the promotion/job they want. But new opportunities will come up, either at that school (not necessarily in your subject area) or others ones.

porcamiseria Wed 20-Jul-11 17:18:11

i think you are making a masasive assumption that you missed out on job cos of mat leave, lets face it as teaching is a very dominated profession t happens alot! it may well be that your friend has skills that you might not be aware of

its hard, and it will take you time to get into the swing of it when you go back too, sorry!

But agree you might be better off applying externally, as alot of people in your profession I know dont seem to be able to get on internally

dont ever regret having DS, it DOES affect your career of course it does. if a man had to take 10 months off for sick leave say, he would also struggle to get back in. But thats life and for a working Mum teaching is one of the best careers you can have so hang on in there

focus on mat kleave for now, and eal with career later

OrdinaryJo Wed 20-Jul-11 17:22:50

I really feel for you, the same kind of thing happened when I was on mat leave, someone was acting up and given the job while I wasn't even told it was an official vacancy so didn't get to apply. Found out on my first day that DF had been promoted and when our boss asked if I was pleased for DF I said 'emm, actually wouldn't have minded a shot at the job myself actually.' Boss then said 'oh we didn't think it would work part-time' to which I responded 'as I didn't even get the chance to show you how it would in through an interview process I guess we'll never know, eh?'

Still rankles 6 years on angry

However, what did happen was that I got myself on a secondment within 6 months back and a much bigger promotion within a year. So, try not to let it spoil the rest of your mat leave and get ready to bring the big guns out when you get back, I say.

Moulesfrites Wed 20-Jul-11 17:37:58

I'm not assuming, just will never know if it was a factor, which is the frustrating thing!

noblegiraffe Wed 20-Jul-11 18:05:12

A couple of people (male and female) I know have stood down from being HOD finding it completely incompatible with young children.

I found going back to teaching after maternity leave really hard, and I only went back part time. Perhaps you should take the next year to decide whether promotion is what you really want, then look elsewhere if you still do.

Giggle78 Wed 20-Jul-11 19:45:11

Be glad. Though I know at this moment you are sad.

It means you get paid a really good wage, do a rewarding job and can leave on time each and every day to be with your child. Just do your contracted hours and spend the rest of the time laughing at all the other teachers and their extra responsiblities.

(To do you contracted hours does mean you have to fight 'teacher guilt' but after a while you will relax into it!)

Andrewofgg Wed 20-Jul-11 19:53:08

Of course they won't admit it, it could come expensive if they did. But apart from Cogito's point is this not a risk inherent in any temporary promotion? I had one once when my boss was ill; I banked the modest extra money (half the difference in pay) it brought in so that I wouldn't miss it when it stopped.

And forgive me, but if you have significantly less experience than somebody else (and in four years period of ML is significant) that fact is relevant whatever the reason for it. Including ML.

Moulesfrites Wed 20-Jul-11 19:56:55

I am more experienced than the person who got the job. In fact, I was her mentor when she started as an NQT! She does have more recent experience than me of course, because I have been on ML. I am sad because it just feels like a kick in the teeth. I was good enough to do the job for over a year, and now I am not good enough, and the main thing that seems to have changed is that I have had a baby.

FrankieSandford Wed 20-Jul-11 20:03:48

Do you not think having a baby is quite a major thing? No matter how much you may disagree, your child is your priority now and work a distant second. Your employer is not there for your benefit, believe it or not!

Sorry but this sort of things really pisses me off. No woman can have it all. If you want to make your career your priority, do that. If you want to have children, do that. Do not expect employers to rearrange things around your personal life!

Moulesfrites Wed 20-Jul-11 20:10:11

Yes, of course it was a major thing for me Frankie. But from my employers pov I still have the same qualities I had before, I still have a first class degree and an excellent record of results with my exam classes, I am still enthusiastic about my job and I am still industrious. A man would not be seen to have "relinquished" all of these qualities after having a child.

FrankieSandford Wed 20-Jul-11 20:13:53

I don't think having children affects men in anything like the same way as it does women.

Moulesfrites Wed 20-Jul-11 20:16:21

And how can work be a distant second priority compared to my child when work is how I provide for my child? I do not see the two as conflicting priorities.

CaptainBarnacles Wed 20-Jul-11 20:20:52

Go fly a kite, Frankie. My work is certainly not a distant second to my child, in fact it's more of a priority now than ever before, as I have somebody else to support.

OP, I can imagine how galling this is, esp. as you were the other candidate's mentor. Don't feel despondent though, there will be lots more opportunities, both inside and outside your school. Your life as a working mother has only just begun!

fedupofnamechanging Wed 20-Jul-11 20:23:20

I really feel for you. Must feel awful to have been her mentor and now she has been given a job that you wanted. I'd be gutted too. Tbh, I think it's because you are not due back until December and they want someone who is ready and available now. Of course, they will not tell you that. I think you are right that a man who'd become a father would not be disadvantaged at work.

On the bright side, you have proven that you can step up and take on additional responsibility and that experience will be useful in future interviews.

I also agree that having a baby is a huge event and it might be nice, once the sting has worn off, to not have too much going on work wise for a little while.

In your position, I'd return to work, but start looking for a new job elsewhere, if promotion is what you want. But don't think you have to prove anything to anyone, now you've had a baby. If you want it for yourself, then fine, but don't get sucked into the keeping up thing because it's more important to enjoy your life and not feel pressured.

Lilithmoon Wed 20-Jul-11 20:28:31

biscuit for you FrankieSandford

Tryharder Wed 20-Jul-11 20:29:28

I think you are taking this far too personally. There's probably nothing wrong with your skills. A lot of times, success or failure at interviews comes down to personality or what was said at interview. Perhaps your friend said the right thing at interview and just pipped you to the post.

A similar thing happened to me (not the same career though). I was rejected for a particular posting and some of the successful candidates were far, far junior to me in terms of skills and experience. [shrugs].

I got over it. Now I am a FT working mother of 3 children and TBH, I do my hours and then leave work as quickly as i can....

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