Everything has changed. It's Sunday morning and I'm getting myself mentally ready for the week. Lessons planned out, papers graded, the continual countdown of days until summer break. But, as I do all this, my baby girl sleeps in my lap. Snoozing on the bed with me on this lazy Sunday. Out of nowhere, five months ago, I became a working mom. For three months I stayed home, nurturing and loving my newborn baby. Someone else took over my classroom (it didn't go well... and I'll leave it at that) and I focused all my love and energy on FAMILY.
Then, in March, I started back in the classroom. It's all the same... but it's all different. I don't have the luxury of long hours any more. And I need them. How do I do what I used to do from 7am to 5:30pm in a time slot of 7:30am to 4pm?
I'm tired. Always. Always. Always. My patience hovers precariously close to nonexistent. Always. My brain moves in and out of focus. Always. I have visions of curling up under my desk and sleeping during lunch time.
I give up 15-30 minutes of my plan time each day so I can pump milk for my daughter. Again, I must find ways to do what I did pre-baby in less time.
I still have to find a way to do it all, because one thing hasn't changed. My devotion to this job. I refuse to be anything less than excellent as an educator. So even with the challenge of finding the balance of work and motherhood, I will find a way to do my job and to do it well. Every day. No excuses. I give my students no free passes- no excuses for late homework because of sports, illness, babysitting, family events. So I don't get one either. They still deserve everything I can give.
So, as always, I look for balance. I leave work at work and come home and let myself be all mom. At school I put up pictures of my daughter and I think of her when things get tough. Because it goes both ways. As much as I will work hard every day for my students, I will give my daughter the best of me as a parent. That will always come first. I guess that's what has changed. I still love my work. I still care about it above almost everything. Almost. That "almost" represents the new part of my life. Because one little girl gets the spot right above my work. From there, I'll find a way to get everything else to fall in to place.