The Working Mom

Staying strong amidst the chaos

living-room-life

As I sit here, I have two toddlers, running and jumping around the house. Their handy, craft time artwork speckles the living room floor. Crayons. Permanent markers. Shredded papers. My oldest child (eight years old) is busy creating Disney masterpieces after getting inspired by watching the PBS American Experience Walt Disney documentary.  Kitchen stools have transformed into sketch tables. My youngest child (one year) enjoys her afternoon nap despite the arguing, screaming, and crashes from the toddlers.

I’m in the middle of a struggle. Despite what you may think, I’m not in a struggle with my child in the terrible twos or my child that’s conquering the fearsome threes.  I’m struggling to find the balance — the balance between work and home. The best employee and the best mother.  No, I don’t really want to be the best employee at my job, but I do want to give my best, especially since I teach 23 little Kindergarten scholars.  No, I don’t want to be the BEST mom EVER.  I DO want to be the best mom I can possibly be to the four amazing children with whom God has blessed me.  Teaching and parenting are my two callings, and I want to give all of my children the best possible lives that I can.

I’m a planner. I’m an organizer.  I like to have everything in its place.  Being a teacher and a mother of four, I feel that those qualities help me strengthen my goals.  Unfortunately I feel like I’m in a constant battle between giving all of myself to my kiddos at work and giving all of myself to my own children.  When I’m at home, I should be spending all of my waking hours loving on and teaching my kids, right? Or maybe even the typical list of anyone who is trying to keep a house clean and together?  Or maybe someone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle?  Work should stay at work, right?

I struggle with the “working mom” syndrome every day.  My work does come home with me.  I’m unable to complete everything that needs to be completed before I leave work on Friday after my 10 hour workday.  That’s the life of a teacher.  Our lists are never ending.  I have yet to find the magical balance between teacher world and home world.  I’ve been told I should try yoga.  I need to organize my life even more: diet, schedules, finances, positive outlook, etc.

Through this blog series, I’m going to attempt to share how I triumph over the “working mom” struggle. My goal is to stay positive as I try various techniques and strategies to conquer the struggle and give my best to both my students, colleagues, children and family members. I plan on sharing what works for me and what doesn’t.

Disclaimer: My goals and what would bring me joy as a mother and wife seems to be different from the “normal” standards in today’s society. I’m more traditional. I’ll save that for another post.

Feel free to follow along in my journey to find a happy balance between work and family.

Jen

Back to School

colored pencils

For the past few years, I have taken this time of year to share a few “words of wisdom” to the students, teachers, and parents preparing for back-to-school. While this is only my personal view, I do hope it offers some comfort to what can be a hectic and emotional time of year.

To all the students, be appreciative of the freedom you have to learn. Some children are not as fortunate. Be proud of who you are and believe in yourself. Be kind to those you meet. Some of your peers may have a hard time making new friends or they may be struggling with their own insecurities. If you see someone being bullied or harassed because he/she may seem a little different, step in and do what you know is right. Say, “Hi,” or smile at that person in the hallway. You never know what they might be facing outside of school or battling with inside. Your small act of kindness may make a BIG difference in someone’s life this school year!

To all the teachers, both new and “seasoned,” know that you have been called to the teaching profession for a reason. The minds and hearts of the students you teach will forever be changed. You have been given the chance to be an influence and an inspiration to your students. As hard as it is to deal with the politics and new policies of school systems, just remember why you are there—to educate and provide a safe environment for the young people you have been given. What you offer them today may have a lifelong impact on the person they become.

To all the parents sending your little ones off to school for the first time, stay strong. I know this can be hard. If you need to cry after you take your child to class, let it out. Your kids will be fine. You know this. The excellent women and men who will be teaching them this year will pour into their little minds and hearts. And your children will grow immensely this year.

For those of you with children starting middle school or high school, stay positive and encourage your child. Build them up and be available when they need you. This is a big step for both of you. This year could be a roller coaster of emotions and new experiences. However, your children will succeed with the support of you, their friends, and their teachers.

To the parents of seniors, this year is critical for your child. The journey to college is exciting and challenging. Enjoy the time you have with your senior and get involved in their lives if you are not already. As much as they may seem like they do not need or want you around, they do. Check in on them and ask about school and their lives. Be present. Be encouraging.

Good luck this year and know that each of you have my thoughts, prayers, and support. Have a great school year, everyone!

I will outlast the Tweedles

Playing the nighttime waiting game while the Tweedles yell back and forth at each other from their rooms.

“Mommy!”
“Daddy at work”
“Poop in my diaper. No, all clean.”

Everything shouted is followed by a series of: Shhh. Shhh. Shhh. Shhh.

We also have random clap offs, growling, knocking, giggles, and whispering.

I will outlast the Tweedles.