Did you know that if you are on maternity leave you may be able work up to ten Keeping In Touch (or KIT) days, which you should be paid for, without it affecting your Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)? These days are optional and must be agreed in advance with your employer. I am fortunate that the council I work for allows KIT days and pays a full day’s salary for each day worked. As a teacher it is important that I keep up to date with what is happening in my profession, and this is even more important this year as new qualifications are introduced into Scottish secondary schools.
I worked one KIT day in November on an in service day. I got to attend some meetings with other languages teachers which was really useful. When I was planning my next KIT days I was keen to have a day in school actually teaching so I arranged to go in on a day when one of the other languages teachers was going to be out of school so I could cover her classes. As it happened this was the day before another in service day so I agreed I would work that day too.
Me going into work for two days meant that the hubby had to take two days off work to look after Toby. My mum has offered to come up and stay and look after Toby but I was a bit worried that she had never looked after him on her own before. Having had two kids of her own I’m sure she is perfectly capable but the trouble with living 250 miles away is that Toby has only actually met his grandparents five or six times, and although he’s always seemed perfectly happy with my mum I’m not sure how he would be on his own with her all day without me or his dad around. The other worry I have is that my mum has a bit of a bad back. Most of the time it’s fine but it’s one of those bad backs that can just ‘go’. Toby isn’t a tiny baby any more and I worry that if my mum had to pick him up all day and her back went she’d be stuck, unable to get him off the floor or out of his cot. So anyway, the hubby booked his two days off work and I got ready to go back to the chalkface.
I don’t know if it makes me a terrible mother but I was actually looking forward to a couple of baby-free days! I would be teaching some of the same kids I had last year and I was keen to make sure I hadn’t forgotten what I was doing. And do you know what, it was as if I’d never been away! I even remembered all the kids’ names. I really enjoyed teaching again and I was glad the kids listened to me and didn’t give me too much bother.
The hubby, on the other hand wasn’t so lucky. My two days at work just happened to coincide with Toby’s first two teeth cutting through, both at the same time, leading to a very grumpy and upset baby. He was ill when I went into school in November too. Maybe he just knows that I’m not going to be there so makes life hard for his dad!
I’ve not planned my next KIT day yet. I don’t think I’ll be doing all ten – although I’d like to, it means the hubby using up a lot of his annual leave just to stay at home looking after Toby. I’d rather he saved them so we can have time together as a whole family. Although I enjoyed my days back at school I’m not sure I’m going to like it quite as much when I have to go back to work full time in August. Leaving Toby with his dad for a couple of days is a very different prospect to leaving him at nursery five days a week. But for now I’m going to make the most of my odd days back at work and remember what it is like to be me and not just Toby’s mum.