Sunday, 5 February 2012

In which a working mum fails to further her career, again.

Well, it was a week with a bombshell; my head of department, who is fantastic in the job, completely on my wavelength, values my ideas and understands what it's like to be a working mum, has, quite deservedly, been promoted to the dizzy heights of Director of Studies. This means that we are advertising for a new head of department.

No, I'm not applying.

Husband is trying to pursuade me to do so, but I know "The Truth about Having it All" - you can't.

I can't take on a job that involves running the largest department in school, being responsible for a department of 13 staff and nearly every child in school (thus liaising with about 1000 sets of parents), whilst being mum to a seven year old. Working full time is hard enough.

I need to be able to leave school at 4.15pm if needs be, to take daughter to choir, Brownies, piano lessons, etc. I need to have time to help her with her homework, listen to her piano practice and generally snuggle up on the sofa to watch "Horrible Histories" together and then do my work after she's gone to bed. I can't be doing 10 hour days at school with work at home as well.

So I won't be applying.

I'll just be crossing my fingers that someone as good as the present incumbent applies.

Or better still, that no one decent does and responsibilities are shared out between current members of the department. I could cope with a bit of responsibility, just not the whole lot.

It's a worrying time.


Polly said...

Its a hard decision to make isn't it. I know I have struggled with exactly how much work load I am prepared to take on. I still can't quite work it out to be honest.

gigi said...

I don't thing you will ever regret it. You chose your baby and family first, that is what is most important!

Lorraine The Party Times said...

Sounds like you have thought it through wisely! Used to want it all and found out it just wasn't possible - something always to give! Fingers crossed you get a great replacement or role gets split for you x

ADDY said...

I'm with you. You can't possibly take on more without something else suffering. Maybe in a few years when when the new Head of Department is ready to move on and Izzy is a little older and more independent you'll get another chance then. Life isn't always about promotion and money, but happiness too.

Kelloggsville said...

Nobody thinks "I wish I'd spent more time at work" on their death bed. Invest in your daughter now and enjoy the privilege of being a parent. Good choice I think. Both parents can't have it all, it makes life stinky hard and sometimes it is hard enough already. Some managers are good and some are bad and we deal with the changes. It is ok to know that you are capable of doing a job, you don't actually have to do it :) I made a similar decision about 18 months ago and don't regret it one jot.

Jen said...

You know that saying about no-one ever saying on their deathbed that they wished they had spent more time at the office?
Sounds to me like you have a good balance for now and it's hard enough to maintain that, when this job next comes around you may feel there's more space to accommodate the demands.
You might make it work, I do have a friend who became head of department when her kids were 8 and 9. But she had a lot of family help.

Mummy Cow said...

Right decision. I wish I didn't have to work the hours I do. I wouldn't have taken on the promotion if Jen's dad hadn't left - money was an issue. Now I have little time for a life and I struggle to be a good mum and a good teacher. Certainly haven't got it all!

libby said...

Going with your gut instinct is the right thing to do......good luck with the new boss.

Sarah said...

I can understand how you feel too. You just can't be in all places at once responding to all the demands on you.

It's a question of priorities. I've prioritised my kids too. I don't regret it one bit (except when they are really pissing me off...). :)

Muddling Along said...

It is hard, balancing what is the right thing to do with ambition that hasn't totally disappeared - I struggle with taking on too much and admire that you can see the hazards and are ready to cope with them

I hope you get a nice new boss and perhaps a little more responsiblity but only enough to not overload

Claire said...

I'm with everyone else, you can't have it all and unless you put Izzy in after school care 5 days a week and got a cleaner and an ironer, it wouldn't be do-able.

Something has to give.

Now that my two boys are in full time school, I'm going to go to Uni!!! 4 year course with time to drop off and pick up from school most days and by the time I've finished and looking for a job they'll be 15 and 10 and everything will be much more do-able!

Hope the new head of dept is as good as the old one x

Working Mum said...

Thank you for all your comments. It's nice to be reassured, especially when the people around me are encouraging me to apply and I don't feel it's right for me.

Claire - that's great news about going to Uni. What are you studying? My only problem with waiting till Izzy is older is that I will be considered "past it"; treading water does you no favours in this job, you just get left behind.

Anonymous said...

Its a hard one, i too am a working mum to two boys and last week got promoted to a director however was fortunate to offset the extra workload with flexible working....its a rock and a hard place!

Nicci said...

I think the right choice for you was made. I am contemplating leaving a job i love but involves shift work to do something M-F days so I have my evenings free to get my kids to their activities and I have three!