Finding work/life balance with the Impaq Online School

5 min read   •   May 11, 2023
Natasha Maritz

With only 24 hours in a day, how do we do it all, especially as working parents? You must ensure the house is clean, dishes are washed, laundry is done, beds are made, and everyone is fed. The list can go on and on. How does one juggle all these responsibilities at work AND at home?

A full-time job

I always laugh at the comment: “Teachers only work half day”. I simply disagree! Out of the 24 hours, we work 12! There are so many things to do, including:

  • prep-work in the evenings or over weekends,
  • marking books, assignments, tasks, tests, and exams,
  • pre- and post-moderation,
  • replying to emails from parents/guardians, and
  • extramural activities.

This list also seems to go on and on.

Pouring from an empty cup

After a typical working day, my husband comes home tired, and I come home empty. As awful as it might sound, my semi-full cup already ran out after the second break at school. I always felt as if my husband was getting the ‘worst’ part of me at times – tired, emotional, irritated, and empty.

Finding out we were expecting our first baby last year was one of the most magical experiences. My emotions ran from excitement and happiness to anxiety and nervousness. I struggled to accept that within a few months, the same empty ‘self’ would need to show more affection, love, and time to our beautiful baby. And guilt always knocked at my door shouting: “GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE A FULL CUP NOW”.

Missing milestones

Daily on my route to public school, I saw many parents dropping their children off at daycare and only picking them up again in the early evening. Seeing some children still asleep or crying and reaching out to their caregivers made my heart ache (and still does) for parents with no other choice.

At break times, colleagues would share photos and videos of their children at daycare: sleeping, playing, doing activities, singing ‘Happy Birthday’, and achieving their milestones. These parents often hid behind their smiles with tears in their eyes.

In my third trimester, we visited many daycare centres in our surrounding area. No matter how AMAZING all these places were, my heart ached to have my baby with me for a little longer than just the four months during maternity leave. I prayed and prayed and cried and cried.

Joining the Impaq Online School

I thanked the Lord Almighty when I got the AMAZING news that I got the job of being an online Mathematical Literacy educator at the Impaq Online School (IOS). Almost a year later, it is still one of the most rewarding jobs!

This year, Term 1 allowed me to reach many milestones:

  • teaching the first Mathematical Literacy Grade 12 group of IOS learners,
  • growing as an educator and individual, and
  • being part of the most fantastic team that is ALWAYS willing to help and assist.

The flexibility that my free periods provide allows me to integrate work and family life. With firm boundaries in place, I can ensure that the professional standard of my work is always upheld. And, while bumps and mishaps might occur (such as my baby crying from his room when waking up from his nap), these are handled swiftly and efficiently with the help of our housekeeper when I am busy teaching (with little or no impact on my work obligations). This is a small compromise, as I consider my 13-month-old very blessed. I am in a privileged position and deeply grateful for it.

Meeting milestones

While the milestones at work were wonderful, as a mom of a beautiful, healthy baby boy, I have experienced first-hand how he gave his first smile and the sound of his first laugh. I have seen him crawl for the first time, been there with every new tooth, soothed him whenever he felt unwell, and sang him ‘Happy Birthday’ on his first birthday. I have had the opportunity to see our baby grow day by day, right in front of my eyes, in the comfort of our home!

A personal milestone I am also proud of is breastfeeding exclusively without the stress of pumping. Working from home has made this 13-month breastfeeding journey possible and allowed me to donate my excess milk to the South Africa Breastmilk Reserve (SABR).

Work/life balance

I can now enjoy a hot cup of coffee with my husband in the morning while the baby is still asleep in his bed without needing to wake him up to drop him off at daycare. My morning would look a bit different in another life: dropping my baby off at daycare and sitting in traffic on the way to school (probably due to load shedding) while thinking of ways to keep my cup full for the day.

Thank you to the Impaq Online School. I am now connected to colleagues who respect and understand my need to balance work and home life. I am so glad that, for right now, I am where I need and want to be: a part-time career woman and a full-time mom.