Having a teaching break to work in a supermarket whilst running a creative business

Phwoar! That’s quite the title! I mean it’s a bold one too. But I have decided to write this post because when times were tough when I was teaching and I knew I wanted to start a family I looked to others who had made it work.

I went to uni to study teaching because from the age of 14 I knew that’s all I wanted to do. I was exceptionally passionate about it and did a three year Primary Teaching degree in 5-11 years- I received a 2:1 and went straight into full-time teaching. I threw myself into it with full force.  

Whatever I do, I do with passion, all my heart and with all my love. I am exceptionally enthusiastic about everything. I am what can only be described as a keen bean or a yes woman I suppose. I say yes to everything. Now having passion, heart and being someone who is as keen as mustard to please and strive to do the best, be the bloody best and shine like a beacon means that you end up putting in everything. I put in everything and sacrificed a lot as most teachers do.

When it came to my fertility treatment I was working between 50-70 hours per week, taking on more and more and then my bloods came back fine but my hormones weren’t amazing and weren’t low enough for treatment and I was quite frankly, stressed. I took a break and did supply teaching (full-time!) but although my heart ached for my own class that year and a few months later I went part-time and ended up in that scenario anyway, I needed to put my soul into making a family. When I made that decision I didn’t know what would happen with our treatment and because we received no help at all in the NHS we decided to switch to donoring and went a abroad. It worked first time and during my pregnancy I knew I wasn’t going back to teach. At that point I was desperate to move away from it. I had dabbled in blogging, styling weddings but really I have always wanted to use my creative skills to make things to sell. How hard can it be right when you have worked 70 hour weeks anyway. Bloody annoyed that I didn’t do it earlier I can tell you.

During late pregnancy I had my heart set on what I wanted to sell and started to design my ideas. When Arlo nailed the napping thing to a point I started making and launched my Etsy November ish with no real plan or real goal. 

I realised shit got real when NOTHS emailed me and asked me to join. By this time I had farted around with several products and designs and still didn’t know what my heart was set on. Fast forward to March I started designing ideas for pears. Everyone thought I was mad, I kept telling people these are going to sell like cray cray. I mean to say people thought I was fruity was an understatement. In fact, now they do sell like crazy, my friends and husband say to me- I really didn’t get it but now I do. 

When March rolled round however, it also marked the end of my 9 months Government maternity pay (because the county found a week where I didn’t do supply because they had no work so refused to give me anything) and although SBN was actually making money it was hardly enough to write home about and I needed money to pay for my mortgage. We’d just about managed on the statutory mat pay from the government for the 9 months. When I did some sums I worked out that teaching part-time as I was with childcare meant I would be left with very little at the end. I mean slightly more than the mat pay. So if I could make that money back working evenings and doing SBN then let’s do it. ( Though I had actually handed in my notice at Christmas because of the terms notice requirements and wasn’t sure how things with go until March).

I applied for Waitrose jobs because if one is going to work in a supermarket then that’s the one to aim for right?! Their online application process is really excellent and after being accepted into three interviews in different stores I got offered a position in one at my first interview not close but not far from me starting in May. I was so excited as the hours were perfect. I leave Arlo with Ali in the evening, work into the night and I am here for him in the day. Winning. 

If I had gone back to teaching I would have had to put Arlo in child care 3 days a week (plus work Tuesday evening to do my PPA paid time) and sometimes more if I was asked to do a course. I would have had to put him in from 7.30am ish until Ali finished work after 5 and then I may not be home until 6 or 7. Or I could have left the classroom by 4.30 and bought all my work home. Marking into the night when I really couldn’t be arsed after a full day and then that would be that. For me, there would have been absolutely no way to have a one year old and teach and run a very hands-on, time consuming business. No way at all. Plus the sky is my limit now and if this continues as it has and grows by the time we get some free childcare (if that’s still a thing by the time he is 2) then I will be able to devote more time to SBN and may even be able to make more money working evenings and running the business. 

I mean, if you asked me if I work more hours than I would be if I was teaching then absolutely, of course I do because I make everything by hand, have emails, admin, photos and social media to keep up with. I work around Arlo, I’m tired a lot from evening work and SBN late night/early hours working, but I love every second and it’s all for myself. 

I absolutely did not go through two years of fertility hell to be without my child three days a week but that is a personal preference and I know if he was in child care he would thrive in other aspects. It was just my decision and my opinion that I would feel less stressed not going back to teaching because I put too much into it and found I was getting less and less out of it at this time in my life.

So, if you are thinking of leaving your current profession for a break and have ever said those words- oh I’ve said I’d work at Waitrose over the stress of this right now. It’s not an easy option by any stretch and I miss my classes very much. I don’t get my usual Year 5/6 bants and have to actually ‘bant’ with my husband instead, but for me, personally, for now, it was the best decision I have ever made and actually I really enjoy my evening job and the people I work with. They’re really rather lovely (and the young staff make me realise how old I’m getting!) I aim to do the whole Waitose/ creative business thing for a few years and then can see how things are. 

Naomi x

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