Being a parent is hard.
Whether you’re an “organic greens” kind of parent or a “chicken nuggets and fries” kind of parent like yours truly, parenthood is terribly, terribly hard.
Beyond that, being a teacher-mom package deal is quite the undertaking. There are days when my head is so close to exploding that by the time I make it to my pillow, I’m done. I have taken a ton of education classes, and none of them prepared me for this part of the career. Nobody warned me about what it would be like to be a mom and a teacher.
When I’m not arguing with a middle schooler about a missing homework assignment or trying to teach the difference between a noun and a verb, I’m chasing toddlers around and negotiating high-stake dinner deals in hopes that they might lick a vegetable before calling it a quits. If it is a really good night, then I spend my evening playing hide-and-go-seek or “sharks” — an interesting toddler spin on chase that sometimes involves a foot or two to the face.
When I’m not trying to get my class to stop whispering long enough for me to finish my lesson on rhyme in poetry, I’m sitting on the edge of my bathtub with my toddler or I’m folding the sixtieth load of laundry for the week.
When I’m not grading papers or redoing my lesson plans, I’m trying to read my toddlers a bedtime story while answering their every question about why all the letters couldn’t sit at the top of the coconut tree. Once the tiny humans finally doze off for the night, I have an unloaded dishwasher and probably another load of laundry waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs.
When I’m not thinking up a fun way to teach sentence fluency and word choice in writing or rereading the novels I’m teaching in literature currently, I’m teaching my son how to write his name while French braiding my daughter’s hair for the two hundredth time.
I have a ridiculous amount of literature saved up in my brain from pursuing my degree in English literature and don’t even get me started on the Oxford comma or the difference between “your” and “you’re,” but don’t worry, ask me the theme song to Peppa Pig or the lyrics to “Baby Shark” and I got it. Even among all that squeezed up top, I also manage to hold the not-so-secret location of every item in my house, the food contents in the pantry and fridge, my kids’ show-and-tell schedule, my students’ latest test scores, and the ten million things on my to-do list.
There are days when I sit in bed disappointed in myself because I gave so much at school that day that I had nothing left to give my own kids by the time I got home. Alternatively, there are days when I know I’m not teaching to my fullest potential because I spent the night awake with my kids as a thunderstorm rolled through.
There are weekends when I regret not having the energy to take a walk to the park because I’ve drained myself of all my energy teaching my heart out, but there are also weekends when I get nowhere close to my stack of ungraded papers because I chose to snuggle up on the couch and binge watch Nick Junior with my toddlers.
There are evenings when I lose my patience because I’ve been asked “Why” enough times to lose my mind.
Sometimes the tug of war I’ve entered by choosing to both mother and teach is almost enough to break me in half like a frozen tree branch. There are definitely those days where I’m not sure if I’m floating or drowning.
But it doesn’t take long to remind me why I keep pushing and why I’d have my busy life no other way.