Thursday, February 2, 2012

The kids are alright

Teaching is one of those professions that pans out fairly well when it comes to being a working mommy.  The breaks and time off throughout the school year, in addition to that delightful three month hiatus better known as 'summer' provide me with a chance to have a career that I'm passionate about as well as have a decent amount of time with the kids during those breaks (and the sheer bliss of summer...unmatched). 

However, teaching also comes with many additional stresses.  A teacher's job does not end when the bell rings, and most teachers I know (including me) lug a lot of work back and forth between home and school throughout the week.  Meetings and standards and curriculum and parent communication and trainings and conferences...a teacher wears many hats throughout the day. 

Today, it was that last item on my list that provided an extra layer of stress to my already bogged-down schedule.  Twelve plus hours at school holding parent/teacher conferences...needless to say, my voice is exhausted, my body aches, my face hurts from smiling all day long (moreso than usual), and the worst side effect, my daily dose of my cutie pie munchkins was not fulfilled. 

Fotunately for scheduling purposes, Randys' days off coordinated with my conference day, and the kids all stayed home with him.  I was able to get out the door this morning at an insanely disgusting hour so that I could spend a little extra time getting those last-minute preparations in order for my day.  While I felt pretty pleased crossing a few things off that pesky 'to do' list that graces the margin of my plan book, my early departure from home prevented me from seeing anyone this morning.  As the day progressed, the 'breaks' I had scheduled myself to refuel and refocus became more like shallow 'pockets' of time, in which I could use the restroom, grab another bottled water, and snack on (yet another) chocolate truffle (decadent, delicious, and devastating to my diet and waistline.  But, hey, I burned those calories talking and walking the hall down to the teacher's lounge, right?!). 

My time available to 'check in' was dwindling, as I tried (and failed) to stay on schedule with my conference discussions.  I knew Randy was holding down the fort--keeping the kids entertained, fed, cleaned, and happy.  I had prepped dinner for him the night before so his work to complete the meal was minimal--and not much more challenging than boiling water (literally).  I knew all this.  Yet why, why was I feeling guilty?

One word: mom.  I am a mommy.  I nurture, I feed, I pick up from day care and hug and cuggle and kiss.  I bathe them.  I clean up their dinner, their toys, their faces.  I watch them play, listen to the noise, and tell them to calm down as the evening hours dwindle and bedtime is on the horizon.  But tonight, I didn't.  I arrived home just in time to receive hugs and smooches as they were heading up to bed.  I felt bad that I wasn't there to make them one of their favorites (spaghetti).  I wanted to read with them before bed.  I wanted to be there for them.  But I couldn't.

After putting Raegan in her crib, I scanned through a book I found at the book fair at school entitled, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms.  There is a little chapter about working mommy guilt.  As I scanned the page, I noticed a quote at the end of the chapter that said, 'the kids are alright (really)--and so are you'.  Thank you, amen.  My personal mantra.  Or at least it needs to be.

Raegan, I love watching you clap your little hands together when you're excited or playing pat-a-cake.  Adorableness squared.

Gavin, I love how you include your sister in your games, even if you know she's not the best catcher (or thrrower...)

Brynn, I love how you look up to your brother.  You're learning so many (good) things from him.  Keep watching ;)  Enough said.

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