I write this having just completed a twelve hour shift, my babies are already tucked up in bed after daddy has fed, bathed, played with them and completed the bedtime routine. I saw them briefly in a busy haze this morning as we all frantically prepared for the day, throwing cereal in a bowl for one and helping the other put on his socks, a quick kiss goodbye and that’s it. I wont see them now till morning, or rather they wont see me, I of course will do what all mums do and sneak into their bedrooms and plant a kiss on their foreheads whilst simultaneously ensuring their safe and sound for the night.
I feel rubbish.
I am struggling with the feelings of guilt, that I have allowed my career as a teacher to dominate my day and have only given my children a short snap shot of my time and attention. I know that a twelve hour shift is rare for me, I know that I only work part time and that I usually have a lot of time with my boys but that doesn’t stop the guilt creeping in on a regular basis when I have to go to work and use child care provisions, or when I have to bow out of evening or weekend activities to mark assignments whilst they enjoy time with daddy. Deep down I convince myself that the hours I miss with my boys are for the greater good, for the income that I bring in, for the values and work ethic that I am (hopefully) setting for them and not to mention the feeling of self fulfillment and achievement that it provides for me. But the guilt is still there, it wraps itself around me and makes me doubt every choice I have ever made as a mother. I know I am not alone, a mothers guilt sees no bounds, when I turn down work commitments outside of my contractual hours the guilt returns, I feel like I am in a constant battle between family and work, who gets my time, who gets my attention.
Is it possible to have both a family and a successful career?