Monday, April 13, 2015

Working Mom

I've been a working mom for eleven years now.  I vividly remember a student's mom asking me at 6 months pregnant with my first child what my plans were once the baby was born.  I told her that I would take my maternity leave and return to the classroom to teach when it was complete.  Looking at me condescendingly, she responded with "Oh, well, I guess that will be nice for MY child."  Well, ok then.

I have an advantage now that I am a teacher again.  Yes, I get more time off with my children.  I no longer travel like I did when I was director of the charity.  That was difficult and took a large toll on my family.  I love my summers with the children when I get to be home with them, but I am always ready to be back to the academic rigor of the school year.  During the year, I work long hours, both at the school and home grading papers after the children go to bed.  Often until late in the night.

I think the struggle is balance.  Most working moms feel like they are doing an inadequate job in one or both areas of their lives.  I can't always be the teacher and employee I want to be because of my commitments as a mom. I can't always be the mom I want to be due to the commitments I have to my job.  I often feel like I am failing one or the other.  I question my abilities and I find comfort in other working moms who have the same issues.

It's a constant juggling act.  

As a teacher, I can't take my kids to the early morning dentist appointment and simply arrive late to work.  I ask for the latest appointment available in the day, explaining with a slight apology to the doctor's receptionist that I am a school teacher.  I have 24 minutes for lunch, so I can't bring my girls lunch from Chick Fil-A and enjoy seeing them with their elementary classmates.  School parties or assemblies?  Forget it.  I have to be in the classroom.  My girls understand, though they do complain on occasion that I can never be there.  Cue the mom guilt!

All in all though, I wouldn't change it.  I love my family and cherish my time with them.  I love my career and feel strongly that I was called to be in the classroom working with students.  My daughters are proud of me for being a teacher.  They love to come up to my school and meet my students during evening activities.  They enjoy hearing stories about the students.  Maggie has even written a prompt about it in class over who she most admires and why.  

I chose this life.  Daily, I continue to choose it.  It's not the easiest and it certainly is not meant for everyone. However, it's my life and I love being a working mom.

8 comments:

One crazed mommy said...

I hear ya! I work fulltime, and it is definitely a juggling act. Although initially I wanted to stay home with my kids, circumstances out of my control made it so that I was unable to choose that option. Now, I've been at my current job for 13 years, and I couldn't imagine not working here. I love it, the company and the people I work with! I work in HR, which is challenging, but nothing as challenging as being mom. I still make sure when I leave at the end of the day, it's time for family. Luckily I don't have to carry work home very often. My kids always come first, and I know I have the support of my boss when things happen that pull me away. But I too love being a working mom.

Mary Anne Whiteley said...

It is tough missing things with my kids because I am working with other people's kids in another school!

Waylon Grimm said...

I'm proud of you for sticking to your principles! Of course, being a working mom is hard, but the real difficulty is having to feel like you have to explain why so to other people. Anyway, I'm glad that you've adjusted well to balancing working and being a mom. Some people aren't as tough as you, Jenny. Thanks for sharing that! Kudos and all the best to you! :)

Waylon Grimm @ All Force Labour Solutions

Nicolas Davis said...

My mom was also a working mother and I'm proud about it. There's nothing wrong about that, I know that get what I mean. :)

I'm so impressed about your blog because here in the Philippines, I'm a children's charity volunteer, so I really love reading your posts.

Thank you so much!

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