Thursday, January 3, 2013

Work/Life balance

I was stooging about on twitter when up into my feed popped @thelizweston with a link to her blog post Work home merge about an article she'd read about how there isn't really a dividing line between work and home - one can spend a lunchtime on Facebook or twitter during the day, and then answer email at night. It sounds like some kind of all encompassing flexi-time.

Liz has then gone on to ask for the opinion of various working mothers, working in various ways. I am throwing in my ten pennorth, because.... I can!

Work life merge has affected us for a long time. AC's dad is RAF. Rich was RAF and served abroad in Afghan, J was RAF and now has a job which is also his hobby. I'm a teacher. My mother was a teacher. It's what I know.

Perhaps it is because it is all I know, that it didn't used to bother me. Work needs doing. Currently, I have the e-safety policy to complete, ICT planning for next half term to write, general planning to do, and a lurking pile of maths books as yet unmarked from last term. Oh, and a new boy with no English starting on the first day back. And a training day presentation on e-safety to prep for Monday. I'd almost forgotten about that one. Thank goodness for Evernote!

However, as we know, this is the school holidays. This is the time I get to spend with my son, my stepson, my partner, my family, my friends. This is the season of goodwill and love to all mankind! So far, I've done no work.


In the past I have worked through the holidays, and played with my son in 15 minute sections. Or I've sat next to my man with my laptop, working through a film. I've bought food rather than making it. I've not written to friends, or my Nanna. This is a bad work life merge! This is all work!

What changed? Rich's death brought me a lot of perspective.
I promised my son I would never tell him I have to work rather than cuddle him, play with him, just be with him. When I got together with J, I made similar promises to him, for the sake of us. I hadn't expected to get that kind of happiness again, I'm not wasting it through work!

Selfishly, it's also because of the pension fiasco that is the teachers pension scheme, the fact I failed my threshold on a technicality, the fact that ICT co-ordinators used to get an afternoon a week to do their work and now they don't, amongst other reasons, so don't think I'm a saint, because I am not!

But then..... I make those decisions, to put family first, and then I get a new child who needs specialist resources. Where will those come from? My hands, my brain, my printer, my laminator, my scissors (and twinkl, Sparklebox, times educational supplement, again, don't think I'm a saint lol!) these days my son helps cut out - its family time doing something together right? It's good motor skills practice. That's what I tell myself.

And then there's the marking. I'm not ashamed to say that my OH has helped with marking tests by reading results for me to put on the computer. That's working together on a project.... right?

So does it work the other way? I do loads of work at home, what happens at school to benefit me? Well, I've printed out the odd letter at school when my home printer was out of ink. I do check twitter at school - I have a professional account as well as a personal one. I can't get Facebook at school because of the firewall. I do check and answer email in lunch and break, if I'm not on duty.

But work, and the fact my son is at my school, enabled us to hold it together during the long dark days after Rich died. Staff knew who he was, knew Rich, knew me. Cared for all of us. Brought me milk and biscuits in the summer holiday (Rich died on the last day of term) and supported that boy in the right way.

One of the people spoken to speaks of keeping her personal life separate. In a way, that's not possible as a teacher who lives in the same town she teaches in. Someone has always seen me in Tesco/town/memorably in Anne Summers..... The place I hate seeing children is when I'm swimming - without my glasses I have no idea who they are! But the upside to that was again the support and love from the wider community after the accident.

So, can I separate work and home so that it does overlap and merge? Not really. Work and home is more like a lump of red and blue plasticine that's been left with an active three year old. It's mushed together, an odd colour, and in the carpet.....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Claire Evans said...

A lovely post. I know what you mean. I also live in the same town as where I taught. I used to have the same problem when swimming too! Now I wear my contacts and goggles!

I always used to mean to do get my work done at the start of the holidays and then enjoy my holidays, but it rarely worked out like that, especially at Christmas!

I'm glad school also helped you get through a difficult time. Good schools do! They look after the teachers as well as the children!

I'm following your blog now!



Mummywhisperer said...

I think that we get really stressed sometimes about worrying about our work-life balance. As long as it works for you, that's all that matters lovely.

So sorry to hear about the tough times in your past, but glad to know that life is looking up.