Returning to work after maternity leave has meant a lot of change. Although I’ve returned to a familiar world of work – things are undeniably different.

When I returned to work after Katie, I would cry on my way to work each day, feeling irrepressibly guilty that she would be sad or somehow suffer from me not being there. Having seen her come through the nursery system and develop into a boisterous child, brimming with happiness and self-belief, I know that she’s not been damaged by the experience at all.

With Thomas, although I miss him each day and think I would rather be taking them to the park. I don’t feel neglectful. Rather, I think I’m more regretful about things I may be missing and just fervently hoping that I’ve made the right decision to work.

I’ve been thinking a lot about risk taking and the big why questions after looking at the thinker Frederick Copleston with one of my classes.

There is a famous radio debate, in which Copleston debated the existence of God with fellow philosopher, Bertrand Russell. They were examining the question of WHY the universe is here – Russell contended that “I should say that the universe is just there, and that is all.” In short, it has no reason – it’s a brute fact and there’s nothing to debate.

My pupil’s call this the ‘computer says no’ response. It’s dodging the question and refusing to take part. As Copleston answered: “If one refused to even sit down at the chess board and make a move, one cannot, of course, be checkmated.”


Sadly, in my life decisions do have to be made. Sitting and refusing to take part just doesn’t work! It strikes me that rather, one must do the exact opposite and make moves without knowing what the outcome may be.

I don’t know if my children would be missing out if they didn’t attend nursery. I don’t know if our lives would be better if I quit my job. It would certainly be different but whether it would be ‘better’ is a complete unknown.

With the absence of a parallel universe, we may never know if different decisions would result in better results or not. All one can ever do is think about possible consequences and to an extent, take a leap in the dark.

I am of course, not advocating that we do not weigh decisions up. I haven’t made any choices without thinking about probable consequences. There is no way anyone can definitively know the future, but what is fairly certain is that inactivity will not result in much!

Over the last few weeks, I have tried to focus on making my life as full as possible and doing my utmost to make my decisions positive ones. Although I’ve been sad about returning to work, I’ve been sure to do as much work as possible during the days so as to avoid catching up on anything in the evenings. I’ve also tried to think of the positive things that work gives me and the kids rather than pondering on what I’m missing – the glass half full approach!

I might not always get the balance right, I may well make mistakes at some point – but at least I’m playing the game!

Why not pin this one for later:

Dare to live and take chances - Edinburgh Life with Kids

2 thoughts on “Philosophy series: Copleston”

  1. Well thought out Laura. I think you’ve made the right decision, but as I don’t have kids, my choice may well not be everyones. Keep up the good work! love,
    Susan Drader

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