Kellie is a teacher and mum to Kiara, nearly seven and Tia, four. Today she’s continuing our series on part time work.
About 3 months after having Kiara, I returned to work as a teacher half time where I worked I worked 3 days one week and 2 the next. I felt out of the loop at work on two days week so increased to three days after about a term.
I then changed schools so went back to full time- and was pregnant again by the end of that year. When Tia was born, I opted for three days a week again, having Mondays and Fridays off.
When I changed schools when Tia was two, I was asked to work four days a week and I was not ‘allowed’ to reduce my fraction of time until 1/2 way through Term 1. I worked four days a week for the next 25 school weeks. And have been working full time since.
Unfortunately my current school principal has grown children interstate and eats, sleeps, drinks, and breathes work and just doesn’t understand the way other principals I have worked with seemed to. I also get dinner time and late night or early morning calls about work. Aargh!!
My employer definitely got ‘free work out of me’ when I was being paid to work four days a week. I would take my Friday load home with me, only to return to post it notes all over my office door, computer, chair, pigeon hole and what seemed like everyone wanting to “just catch up with me for a minute”!! That usually turned out to be a minimum of 7 minutes.
My pay decreased but my load was the same. I was doing my full time job with less pay- which was partly when I made the decision to return to full-time.
In the past I changed my work time and patterns according to how I felt I was going! I think teaching is a perfect career for part-time work, especially when you can share a class with another mum. They understand and don’t mind swapping days when appointments have to be made on work days. It’s truly sharing the load. 🙂
I loved working three days a week. I loved the fact I could be a mum and a professional.
I could do my work at work, my mum and home stuff on my days off and weekends were time for all of us without the thought and stress of washing, ironing, cleaning etc.
Tia particularly loved my days off last year. She said only today, “We don’t have Fridays together anymore do we mum, cos you have to go to work now.” She shook her head “All cos of those naughty kids!”
I often spent my Friday afternoon helping out in Kiara’s classroom. She loved that.
I am sure they will never thank me for going to work, earning money and buying them ‘things’. They have and still do, thank me for the time and things we do together. That is worth way more to me than any pay I have ever received. ❤
Luckily for us mum and dad live close by and are happy to help out with caring for our girls. This enabled me to return to work, knowing my babies were being loved and looked after.. I knew they would be cuddled if they were sad, upset, hurt, sick or just because any of them wanted to. Now Mum and Dad drop Kiara at school and Tia at kindy. And I know the same 🙂
My day off last year did fit with Mum and Dad having a day to themselves, which they spent it volunteering for Meals on Wheels.
I understand why those that have family looking after their kids say they are not they would have gone back if I had to put my kids into childcare centre. This is true for me but I didn’t have to think differently, so I’ll never know!
I have friends who say the same about leaving their kids with family rather than childcare!!
It’s never perfect. I beat myself up mentally for EVERY thing I think I miss- assembly, concert, sports day excursions… Or when they are sick and I can’t stay home. I do the same when Tia is having a ‘mum I just want you day’.
When work creates the pressure, I just get to the work things when I can, prioritize! I am very organised at work, and work hard. I leave home at 7:15am, drop the girls at mum and dad’s place, then drive 45 minutes to work. Sometimes when I get there ‘people’ want to give me a hard time about arriving at 8:30am, which is when I am officially supposed to start. I get the same sort of reaction if I leave at any time between 4:30 and 5:00pm – which is not very often! The Department of Education says we can leave from 4pm onwards except staff meeting night which is 5pm, so this is pretty unreasonable.
Three days a week with Monday and Friday off was ideal. I loved the fact I could be a mum and a professional…. My perfect solution!
Do you think employers get lots of ‘free work’ from mums who work part time?
Have you voted in our poll on part time work yet?
- Part time work. What works? (workingmumsaustralia.com.au)
- Part time work. Juliet’s story (workingmumsaustralia.com.au)
- Part time work. Tamara’s story (workingmumsaustralia.com.au)