Saturday, June 2, 2018

Keeping the Balance: Parenting and Teaching

Keeping the Balance: Parenting and Teaching
Whoa, life has sure been flying by fast! 

It's been a while since our last post.

Guess what? We're still here! We're not dead. At least not yet. 

It's the end of the school year, almost summer, and the weather has warmed up in the Northern Hemisphere. I've been spring cleaning, reorganizing, and trying to catch up on all of the things I've been procrastinating.

I've also been drinking too much coffee, eating too many sweets, and staying up way too late. Can you relate? Anyone?

Parents know how crazy the end of the school year is with kids. Teachers understand how crazy the end of the school year is with wrapping it all up and sending their students off with hopes for success.

But, what happens when you are a teacher and a parent? Well, you pretty much go straight into auto-pilot, pack some seriously crappy lunches the last few weeks of school, eat too many convenience foods, and let your kids stay up a little too late just to avoid the battle. Your kids may or may not take baths on a regular basis.

Your students will never know the crazy you feel.

You go into work each day with a smile on your face, and you say, "Good Morning."  You show patience and love all day long. You respond to calls of "Ms. McKenzie!" as lovingly as possible. You try to cram in a bunch of memories that you want to make before you send these little guys off onto their own into the world of "big kid" classes. You stay late in your classroom because you want it just so for the next day. You send emails to parents late at night because you want them to know you are available and care. You print worksheets out on your own printer because you can't stop thinking about the one student that just needs a little more time.

You drive home, and you are exhausted. You've been patient and kind and loving all day. Your own kids are the ones who get the tired mommy. The "I'm out of patience. Just please, go clean your room" mommy.  The "I can't do another art project or I may poke my eye out with a paintbrush" mommy.

It sucks.

How do you do both and do both well? 
How do I make sure my own kids get the best of me too? 

I'm only in my second year back to work after staying home with my kids. I often miss the days of staying in our pj's and doing art, going for nature walks, holding hands, snuggling, and cooking together. I had to remind myself this weekend that those days are gone whether I work or not. My kids are both in school all day. I can't keep them home to myself any longer. While the days of no where to be are gone, the days of big kids are here. 

Those days are pretty darn cool. 

My kids can now pour themselves a glass of milk, make their own beds, get a snack, turn on the TV, and do a million other things that only big kids can do. They still love to snuggle, read with me, cook with me, and go for walks. Only now, they get it. I can tell them that I'm tired or need a minute and they get it. They don't just take from me anymore, they now give too. They rub my feet for me; my daughter brushes my hair and brings me a glass of water. They're big kids, and they are pretty darn cool. 

Honestly, I've been really emotional this week with the year ending. My daughter starts Kindergarten next year, and my son will be in second grade. 

Wasn't it just yesterday that I was writing about the stress of finding the right Kindergarten?

I also have 24 more little hearts that I love like my own. I have to say goodbye to them in just two short weeks. I worry about them just like I worry about my kids. Did I teach them enough? Did they feel safe and loved today? Did they have enough to eat at lunch? Am I giving them my best and showing them how to give theirs?

Did I do enough?

Is it ever enough? Aren't we always second guessing ourselves? Isn't that a sign of a self reflective parent and teacher? I don't really know. I do know that I love my job as a mommy, and I love my job as a teacher, and I'm doing my best to make sure all of the children in my life know that they are loved and cherished. So, I'm going to say that just may be good enough.

Our pencils are tiny.
Our erasers are flat.
Our glue is all empty.
Our folders are fat.
Our crayons are all broken.
Our rugs are rolled neat.
Memories last forever.
Our year is complete!

Moms who are also teachers can you relate to any of this? Do you have any tips for other working moms on how to feel like you're giving your best to your family and your students?
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