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To feel likea failure- work/life balance

(14 Posts)
monkeysee100 Sat 10-Sep-16 09:40:24

I'm having the morning from hell. I got up at half 7 to get on with some work (I'm a teacher). The moment my four year old came down the stairs, she has tantrummed. Even when doing a nice activity it has ended in screaming and eventually me and H screaming at each other.

I've worked non-stop all week, in at half 8, three meetings, worked until between 6-7, taken work home every night,
And this is after spending the first week of hols in work, and countless days doing paperwork at home (planning, resourcing, getting SEN stuff together, printing labels, etc.)

Of course DD doesn't understand why I have to do this first otherwise it just won't get done.

H does do a lot (mostly cooking and dishes) but weekends always consist of him sitting about unless I prompt that something needs doing and asking what we are going to do (as in a day out). And there are some things that don't even register. For example, every morning I'm the one doing breakfast, tooth brushing, helping to dress, doing hair, checking school lunch, letters, money, books, kit, etc. then picking up coffee cups left about, not to mention running kit, towels, razors, etc.
This weekend I have planning to redraft for week after next as very busy next weekend, an assignment for a qualification to do, 14(!) bloody articles to read by Tuesday for large project I'm part of (only sent last night!), data sets and terms and conditions to look through, IEPs, a handbook to review, resources to complete.

I feel like if I'm doing enough in work then I'm neglecting my home, family and health. If I'm doing lots with family then I'm falling behind with work. So now I can't concentrate on reading, can't see for crying to mark effectively and feel like the world's worst parent/partner. And on here instead of getting something done!!!

LaPharisienne Sat 10-Sep-16 09:44:37

You have my sympathy. Sounds very tough.

What would you like to change about your situation? Would you rather be at home full time? Would you rather your husband were at home full time? Or do you think your situation would be workable with more support from your DH? What would he like? Is he happy?

monkeysee100 Sat 10-Sep-16 09:48:17

I just wish I could manage the workload better but I don't know how. I feel like I'm only doing the bare minimum for all.

I want to spend more time with my little girl without feeling fraught and having one eye on the washing pile.

DH is ok. He has a new job with a little more responsibility so working longer hours too. I think he'd happily be at home but my salary wouldn't support both/all (live with other family too).

monkeysee100 Sat 10-Sep-16 09:48:57

Thank yousmile xx

Munstermonchgirl Sat 10-Sep-16 10:16:01

I'm a teacher so can sympathise. The job is a bloody ridiculous workload during term time, and the holidays don't really make up for it because many teachers would probably prefer fewer holidays but a better all year round balance.

My suggestions are: while your children are very small, reducing work hours may help. I dropped to 3 days when my children were pre school and stepped back up to f/t when youngest was 4. If you have younger children too or are planning more, it might be worth considering.

I know this is going against the grain here, but personally i wouldn't then fall into the trap of always working part time... I have Several colleagues who have remained part time even now their children are teenagers or adults. IME they often end up thinking about work, or doing work, on their days off so are essentially getting part time wages and a shot-to-pieces pension for a full time job. Schools can such you dry, and you need to protect your own interests.

Also, while your children are little, hold off from doing extra courses and qualifications which will add to your work load.

My other suggestion is that you're working long hours but could perhaps redistribute your time to your advantage. Your mornings sound frantic- rushing around dealing with packed lunches and letters. Could your dh do more in the mornings? Could you drop your children earlier at childcare? Half 8 sounds very tight to be getting into school for you, and I find that the early morning is the most productive time to get things done. I aim to be in school by 7.45am and then leave by 5/5.30 and the morning part is definitely most useful. I realise the logistics aren't easy (when my children were small I actually had to pay double rate between 7.30 and 8am because their nursery didn't technically open then shock but it was worth it to me for my sanity.

Finally it does get easier because the longer you are in the job the more you build up ideas and resources and learn to streamline things. But you have my sympathy, particularly as some people think teaching must provide a perfect work life balance. It really doesn't.

Cary2012 Sat 10-Sep-16 10:28:10

Some of the teachers I work with who have small children felt exactly like you, the workload is overwhelming.

They managed to go down to 60%, so that they could plan/mark on their days off, leaving evenings free. Would that be an option?

monkeysee100 Sat 10-Sep-16 10:39:49

Thanks for your sympathy.
I was half expecting to be shot down with the whole holidays entitlement thing!

Mornings aren't too bad really. A little rushed but doable. A little more help would be nice, especially with the things that can be done in advance. I'm reluctant to drop hours. I've got a promotion recently and it wouldn't go down well anyway and I would end up working for free effectively. And with five of us in the house and large bills to pay I don't think we could :|

We are fortunate that we have free childcare through family but of course that means we can't take the mick. I have though about a few hours in the after school club in my school but my DD has selective mutism, which although improving in school, does occur at other times.

My course should be done by Christmas (thank god!!). The irony is my outstanding assignment is 'managing stress and conflict''!!

There is a potential masters in the offing which I will have to decline I think

TheProblemOfSusan Sat 10-Sep-16 10:49:36

I've done a masters, full time, with a small part time job and no children or partner to worry about. It's really rewarding. But from what you've said it would be really, really, really difficult for you right now.

Definitely do it, eventually, but even if your husband would step up and do his share (or more, during term), it would be a huge commitment.

My masters was vocational in a different field and to an extent is a box ticking exercise - once you have it, you can apply for higher jobs that wouldn't be open to you otherwise. But it's still worth excelling for your own personal development.

I don't know if that's how it works in teaching or not, but you get so much more out of it when you can put real time and effort into it. It's expensive and time consuming either way - I would wait till you've got a bit more time and space to let yourself get the real benefits from it.

smokeybandit Sat 10-Sep-16 10:54:12

Not a teacher, but doing ft work with two school age kids. My dh and I have learned to split morning duties so he'll wake them up and do breakfast while I get dressed, then I'll check they're doing teeth/got stuff ready for the day, and we both nag them to get dressed. So we've both got time to do what we need to do for ourselves and one of us isn't rushing about like a headless chicken! Would your dh's work schedule allow for that kind of thing?

And you say there are 5 of you, is anyone else old enough to pick up after themselves? Remember you're mum not maid (though it might feel like it). I did a 9 month course and had to say to family, this is my homework time, you need to put your own dishes away/tidy up your own stuff so I can do this to benefit ALL of us.

smokeybandit Sat 10-Sep-16 11:00:07

And yes you are being unfair to yourself. I've felt, and sometimes still do, exactly the same. It's so hard sometimes and I feel like if I'm doing one thing great I'm neglecting something else. But you can only do one thing at a time so don't be so hard on yourself. There are a lot of us in the same boat.

monkeysee100 Sat 10-Sep-16 11:35:34

Thanks Smokey.

Others are old enough to pick up and do so after themselves and a little for us as well as child care so can't complain.

The reason I'm interested in the masters is that, apart from always wanting one, it would be funded for me. It is more desirable in teaching, with newly qualified encouraged to take it up so being later in my career there aren't many opportunities for me.

I think it is just the workload getting to me. It's just insane.

Normal service has been resumed, apologies and hugs given.

cuckooplusone Sat 10-Sep-16 11:37:10

I am not a teacher, but I have a demanding job which involves catching up on work a lot at home so I know where you are coming from.

Given that you don't want to step back at work really, I would say just carry on scraping it as you are, it will get easier over time.... BUT set aside some time, maybe an evening in the week or a couple of hours at the weekend when you do something selfish and just for yourself. It doesn't matter what, go for a run, read a book, do some gardening, meet a friend. It sounds perverse to add something when you are busy but I think you need to look after yourself!

Munstermonchgirl Sat 10-Sep-16 11:39:57

Pay for some extra childcare morning and / or afternoon. Seriously. I can imagine that if you are relying on free care from family members you feel pressurised into just taking the bare minimum.

Although paying childcare for 3 children hurt our pockets (equivalent to my salary for a few years shock it DOES enable you to do things guilt free on your terms. I can't emphasise enough what a difference that makes. If I'd been dropping my kids and dashing into school at 8.30 i would have felt run ragged all day. Also at the end of the day- because I was paying nursery til 6 pm I would now and again leave work early at say, 4, and go off for coffee and a wind down before picking the kids up. It was invaluable as a recharge, and I know that if Someone was looking after them unpaid I would have felt it was taking the mick to do that

You need to look after yourself or you'll run into the ground

monkeysee100 Sat 10-Sep-16 11:51:30

Thanks all. Think I will look into some extra child care xx

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