Sitting on the sofa at 1:38am with a baby in my arms, who doesn’t want to go to sleep, I am struggling to keep my eyes open. I can usually manage with getting up during the night but I haven’t been able to go to sleep yet as I was marking year 9 books until late and since 11:30pm, two of my children have been awake.
And it is times like this, in the early hours of the morning, when there is nobody to talk to and you are exhausted that you start worrying about how you will make it through the next day. And the next night (if it’s like this one) and so on, with the knowledge that there are no lie-ins or weekends to catch up on some sleep.
And so, as I have been lying awake in bed or (having given up) sat on the sofa, I have been thinking about whether I can manage to juggle work and a family, whilst retaining a bit of sanity. If it was only a matter of going to work 9-5, then it would be far less of a challenge. But as teaching also involves working from home (as do other jobs, such as being self-employed), I do find it difficult sometimes to be able to firstly, do the 8:30-3:30 stint when I am shattered and secondly, to mark books and plan lessons with small people wanting attention day and night.
Obviously, a big bonus of working is getting paid and I have calculated that I am approximately £300 a month better off working than not. So, I work 16 hours a week in school plus an average of 8 hours at home for £75 a week. That is less than the minimum wage. I must be mad. But that £300 is necessary.
But it isn’t all about the money but a sense of contributing, job satisfaction and adult conversation. So, I will stay working because, although I find the juggling exhausting, I know it is the better option for us all.
This time at night (or should I say the morning) is when I also feel the most resentment and anger towards the father of my children. I can’t help but think of him in his bed sleeping all night (and all day if he wishes) with no responsibilities. Tiredness certainly won’t be in his vocabulary as he has no children to get up to and no work to go to. He has no financial worries – his every need is provided for by a range of benefits and resources – and makes no financial commitment to his children.
But, there is no point sitting here wishing that my ex-husband had some morals or would change. He has made his choices and I have made mine. They are just polar opposites.
Being a single mum is hard but being up with little ones in the early hours of the morning can be the worst time as that’s when all those worries, anger and nagging thoughts won’t go away.
In the meantime, I guess I could try and finish that pile of marking as I am awake anyway. And hopefully Alex and I will make it back to bed at some point.