Last week I received the news I knew was coming but was dreading nevertheless. My exam results. I sat my first professional examination, which is compulsory to progress in my training and……I failed. I worked so hard and felt I neglected my children so much during my exam revision period. I feel even more guilty about it now that I know I have to go through the whole process again in 6 months time.
It made me think that maybe I’m just not cut out for this; should I consider an alternative career or should I even have a career? My boys are definitely my priority but during exam time, they almost come second to my books, which makes me feel like a bad mum. I know I’m not on my own here and many other mums feel the same way. It’s so important to get work-life balance right but with the need and constant pressure to complete work based assessments, do presentations, prepare teaching sessions and sit exams, work definitely comes home with me. And the problem is that when it doesn’t, I feel it gives the impression that I’m unprofessional and unwilling to go the extra mile. The truth is, I’m already going that extra mile to keep my head afloat right now.
I genuinely wasn’t very hopeful about passing this exam but actually seeing those words “I regret to inform you…” made me feel terrible. Luckily I was at home with my boys and watching them play and calling me mummy was what kept me strong at that point in time. I really didn’t want them to see me upset. But as soon as I spoke to my husband, those tears came flooding out. He told me not to worry and tried to reassure me. But it was when I got off the phone to him and my eldest son came over to me and said, “mummy what’s that coming out of your eyes” as he wiped away my tears and gave me kiss after kiss, that I put it into perspective.
The world hasn’t ended, I have two beautiful boys and a wonderful husband, who has supported me since the day I met him 8 years ago. We have overcome massive hurdles along the way and this is a blip, another hurdle I need to overcome. I have worked so hard since being at school to get where I am now in my career and those long, tiresome days on my feet and long commutes even whilst I was heavily pregnant can’t be for nothing.
Of course it is possible to be a mummy and sit professional examinations and pass them! Other people do it, so why can’t I? Forward planning is so important and I need to put a realistic plan together now. I have one day off per week to spend with the boys but now this day will unfortunately have to be another day in nursery for them so I can focus on my revision. It doesn’t make me a bad mum and it doesn’t mean that I’m neglecting them because everything I do is for them. To build a better future and enable them to have the things they need and want in life.
We all go through different struggles but it’s essential to speak up when you need help. Whether it be your partner, parents, friends or even work colleagues, talk to someone because they have probably gone through something similar. Although difficult at times, it is definitely possible to have a career and have babies.