*birth story to come, this was more pressing to get out*
Tomorrow – in less than 12 hours I will have about 24 kids staring at me. Full of questions. Excited to see me. Jumping and joyful to finally meet their full time teacher. They’ll be shy too. They’ll want to know all about me. They will all know each other. I will be the newbie. Tomorrow my maternity leave comes to a sad sad end. And I will hand my precious baby boy to a sitter (who I actually really really love – that’s not the problem).
I am not ready.
Sure – there’s the clerical junk – trying to pick up where the sub left off, emails, lessons, letters, IEP’s; and of course the meetings, meetings..and more meetings to talk about why we have more meetings..
But my heart is not ready. My emotions are haywire. I do not want to go. I feel like a toddler kicking and screaming in the store for a toy I can’t have and having a meltdown. I think I have been crying since Friday? I haven’t cried this much since I was even pregnant- the time they say your hormones make you go luny for 9 months? Yea, well it didn’t happen to me, my poor hubby kept waiting for the mood swings everyone warned him about – they never came. I was fine. I think I cried a whole 5 times? -I know weirdo – But truthfully, my transition last year into my new school was no picnic, and I had a rough class. My tears were in relation to that, not crazy raging preggo hormones. But being pregnant I think really helped me last year, surprisingly – it got me through knowing someONE amazing was coming to me in August, and would keep me from teaching a full year.. (silver linings here people).
For those who do not know: teaching is stressful. It never ends. The to-do list grows, there is never enough time, and there is never enough energy to get it all done. You have great days that go super smooth (and then no one ever sees it). You have awful days that make you fall flat on your face or sit breathing deeply in your car before driving (so you don’t have road rage on innocent drivers.) Side note: For some funny reason – those were the days admins would walk into my room.
But most people don’t want to hear it. They think I dance, sing, and color all day with my students.
This is not the case. I plan lessons, make Smartboards, gather resources, and read my notes on my students to help me understand how to teach them better. Did they get it? No? Why not? What can I do differently to help the ones who didn’t understand? (For all subjects). Then there is the meetings. Testing. Interventions. Conferences. After school activities (thankfully not so many of those). It’s not a 9-5 job. It comes home with me. Every waking moment you have nagging things on your to do list hanging over your shoulder. I want to do the best job I can for my students, that’s what they deserve, me very best. I want them to grow and develop in all areas to their fullest potential. I want to give my best.
And I don’t think I can give it to them.
How can I be 100% the mom I need and want to be? And that teacher my students deserve? – I keep getting this verse sent to me – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -but- I can still be sad about it. I still FEEL very sad. Sad that I have to go back to the grind of teaching. The exhaustion of being stressed and overwhelmed until June is a killer. And I do not want that to effect the kind of mom I am to my squish, or the kind of wife I am to my hubby – they deserve my best too. I am sad, I am anxious, and I have to fake happiness most of the day. Sounds exciting right?!
That’s why I titled this survival mode. I’ll do what I can for my students. I will try to juggle it. But I won’t kill myself if it’s not EXACTLY perfect or how I want it to be. I will plaster a smile on my face. I will pretend. I will fake my happiness for them, because they deserve that, to think I want to be there. I will be honest and tell them I miss my baby, and if I cry it is because of that. I have 15 days until Christmas (cough: Winter) break. And one of those mornings I have to take my baby for his 4 month shots. So, technically 14.5 days because I have to take a half day to bring him. (Again, silver linings). I will miss him every waking moment when I am at school. If they ask me if I am happy or excited to be there – sure – I am happy to BE with them. (BUT I would rather be home with my baby.) I can’t really share that part. No parent wants their child to come home from school and say, “So my teacher said she doesn’t want to be there and wants to be at home with her baby instead.” Talk about phone calls to the office and angry emails to me. No thanks.
Confession: I think that’s why I have been staying up so late these past couple nights. To prolong each day? To make this next day seem like it won’t come sooner. If that makes any sense?
Sure sure, I am complaining. What do you want me to say? Yes, please someone else watch my baby for me, so I can go do a job that stresses me out every single day? Not every mom wants this. Some moms need to work or want to work, and that’s ok! I didn’t really ever consider not working. But now that I have tasted what it can be like to be home with my squish, I loved it. I loved seeing him every morning. I loved relaxing with him. I loved walking, reading, talking, changing him, and yes, it also has it’s struggles. But it was no where near the stress teaching brings to me. I loved meeting my new mom group friends and having playdates. I will miss that.
Maternity leave is cruel in this country. (Let’s not open that Pandora’s box now, all jobs are different.) Let’s just say here’s a quick drive by of my experience: I got my 6 weeks paid leave time because I had enough sick days, annual leave days, and personal days accrued to do it (now I will have zero – and go back to earning one a month.) Oh, and I had to pay to use my personal days ($50 a day to pay the sub, YUP, that’s a thing in NC). I was able to stay home the full 12 weeks of FMLA because of a gracious and generous gift. And I am thankful. I am grateful. I am filled to overflowing with gratitude for the extra time I did have and know most do not have the chance or opportunity to get that time with their new baby, but I am still sad it has to end. I would have had to go back October 12th and he would have only been 36 days old. That’s beyond cruel. We just finally got a great rhythm between us with him breastfeeding. And now I will throw him to the sitter with bottles and pray that my milk supply doesn’t diminish. I have been able to solely feed him these 12 weeks and I love it. I love how comforted he is by it. And now, I will nurse him maybe 2-3x a day? The morning feeding, when he comes home from the sitter, and bedtime – and it breaks my heart. It’s a sad reality that mothers have to do this. Some much sooner. I can’t even imagine it. God bless you if you had to go back at 2 weeks. God bless you if you are a single mom, I do not know how you have the strength to do it. I will see him for maybe an hour in the morning, and hopefully 2 in the evening before he goes to bed. So every day I will see him a whopping 3ish hours. That’s cruel. I will see other people’s kids more than my own. I can’t really think about it. Makes me sick.
I am thankful to all my sweet family and friends who have been texting and messaging me today. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated and needed.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
I can do them with His power; but it doesn’t say anywhere that I can’t be sad about it. The first 2 weeks are the hardest I am told. How can it feel or be different after 2 weeks? Guess I will let you know.
Trying to find joy. Trying to be positive. Trying to see silver linings. Will like seeing my team everyday, I do miss them too. They got me through last year! Praying my students help me find joy while with them…
Silver linings: Dec 17 for his appt, 15 days til Christmas break, 2ish months til spring break, 2 months til summer. (Yes- I am fudging a bit with the 2 months part, it’s longer but I can’t think that now).
I leave you now with some of today’s happy memories. Hubby was so good and trying to help me feel happy, trying to savor all our good moments together. We went for a walk at a pretty park. This is one of my dachshunds: Sawyer. The other one Beth is not pictured (she’s afraid of moving docks!)
Night All ~L