I haven't 'worked' for a while now. Before - I used to be a primary school teacher. A job I really loved and enjoyed. It fulfilled me like I never thought possible. I loved all those kids. I loved the creative side of it. I loved getting those little people through their first year of school and seeing how far they had come, particularly obvious when the next load of poppets would come through and didn't appear to know anything and you'd have to start all over again. One would want to go to the loo and you'd have to take the whole grade!
Darren and I had been together for a while but had only just got married when I started teaching so I was happy to wait a few years before starting our family. I have always been clucky though, and seeing some of those kids made me want for my own. It was not a smooth ride - funny periods, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies all left us feeling a little exhausted. We thought it was never going to happen, so much so we bought a new car. A lovely, bright yellow, 2 door Monaro! With no real backseat for babies! Guess what we found out the day we picked up that car?
I loved being pregnant. Loved that feeling that you could eat for the first time without sucking your tummy in! And boy did I eat. I put on about 30kg! I kept teaching until 4 weeks before my due date and was determined that I would go back to work after 12 months, certain that I would miss it so much that the idea of not going back did not even enter into my frame of reference. Then Oscar was born and everything changed! First babies are such a shock to the system! The sleep deprivation, attempts at breastfeeding, attempting to leave the house, lugging that post-pregnant weight with you. I didn't have time to miss my job, let alone think of returning to work. I was also pretty lucky in that I had a choice - I could stay at home with my baby while my husband went to work. I met other lovely new mothers, joined mother's groups, gymbaroo and mini maestros.
When Oscar was 12 months old I put him into childcare one day a week and did some relief teaching. He hated it! I loved the idea of putting my work clothes back on and having some adult conversation that didn't revolve around poo. On work days though, all I'd think about was what Oscar was doing and whether he was ok without me. It was worse on those days I'd end up with a horrid class (this didn't happen very often but once I was teaching a grade 5/6 class and one of the boys tried to sell me pot!). I kept it up though, thinking it was only 1 day a week, and relief teaching actually pays quite well. Then I got pregnant again. I stopped work once I got too big for my work clothes (no way was I spending money on materity work attire for one day a week!). Isaac was born and a little while later Matilda joined us. Needless to say, I haven't gone back to paid work since those days.
Recently, Matilda started some occasional care and I had forms to fill in. Until now, when they ask what my occupation is I have always written teacher cause that's what I thought I was. Now, I am not so sure. I haven't been in the classroom for almost 5 years (and I dont think parent helper in Oscar's class counts!) but I absolutely hate leaving that box blank or filling it with 'home duties' or 'mother'. On Matilda's form I put both (teacher and home duties) but I felt like I was lying a little bit. I am not sure how I would define myself anymore. I am proud that I am a mother to 3 little people and I feel (most days anyway!) truly lucky that I get the choice to stay home and parent them. Is this my occupation though? Am I still a teacher? Or 'just' a mother?
How do you define yourself on forms?
I do apologise for the insane, rambling length of this post but I just felt the need to get it out!