Tuesday, February 24, 2015

11 weeks down, 3 days left

On November 18th of last year, I started on a twelve week adventure back into the world of teaching. One of the Pre-K teachers at my kids' school had her first baby, so I was asked to do her maternity leave. After thoughtful consideration, I decided to jump back into full time work for twelve weeks. After teaching 6th grade for eight years, then seven years off of full time work, this would prove to be a challenge. We knew the experience would give us a glimpse into what it would be like to have three kids and two full time working parents. And we knew because it would be a long term sub position, the pay would be better than regular substitute pay, and this could help us meet some financial goals (mainly setting aside money for Leah's much needed orthodontic work and bulking up our savings account).

With that in mind, I set out ready to meet the challenge. My Pre-K class consisted of nineteen 4 and 5 year olds plus a wonderful Teacher's Assistant and me. Across the hall from my room were two other Pre-K classrooms (including Lucas' class). With the wonderful support from the staff and my Pre-K parents, the transition went smoothly. And before you knew it, I was in the groove. My days started to have a much faster pace to them.

Get up.
Put on real clothes (not yoga pants).
Apply a little make-up.
Prepare breakfast.
Help kids get dressed and do their hair (Girl hair. It's a whole thing.)
Pack lunches.
Fill water bottles.
Toss dishes in the sink if I'm lucky.
Fly out the door.


Come home.
Go through backpacks.
Start the girls on homework.
Begin dinner.
Attempt to clean up both breakfast leftovers and dinner dishes.
Go to the gym (two nights a week).
Go to Lucas' soccer game (one night of the week).
Get Hannah to piano lessons (one night a week)
Bathe children (every other day....or two....).
Put children to bed.
Attempt to clean up the house or do a load of laundry.
Hope to get in bed and read.
Read one page and fall asleep.


Gone were the days of leisurely grocery shopping on a Monday morning. We said good-bye to the days of having the laundry under control. We instead found ourselves digging through the dirty clothes, giving the jeans a sniff test, and just wearing them a third time. Trying to find the time to run to Target to buy Valentine's for all the kids to pass out and the assigned party foods for the class parties became a real challenge. Like working an impossible jig saw puzzle, every available second of every day became a precious commodity-- like gold.

To my friends who are working moms not doing a maternity leave and working all day, every day while trying to balance your home life and work life and fit in quality time with spouses and friends and hitting the gym at ungodly hours of the morning.....I salute you.

I give you a full-on, standing ovation with a slow clap.


So, here I sit at home on a snow day (2 inches and our city shuts down). I am looking ahead to three more days of work and then my twelve weeks will be complete. And what did I learn through this experience?

That I am stronger than I thought I was.
That I still enjoy teaching.
That I really, really love being a stay at home mom.
That I can see teaching full time in the not so distant future, but the timing is not right to start now.
That there are awesome teachers giving it their all every. single. day.
That my kids are flexible (most of the time) and can go with the flow.

Three more days. And then my schedule returns to "normal." It's bittersweet. But it's good.

Here's a quick photo recap of the months I've been working and what we have been up too.

 Our niece, River, came down from Tulsa with her friend Vivienne and stayed with us for the Thanksgiving holiday.  My kids had a blast with them, and they came prepared with crafts! Smart girls!

Three weeks later (which also included the girls' tenth birthday!), it was Christmas. 
We celebrated at our church's candlelight service Christmas Eve, then Mike's parents and grandmother arrived and spend the next eight days with us. 

In January, we kicked off the new Winter Session in Body & Soul. I switched from a day class to an evening class and continued to teach when they needed me to fill in. 

On February 3rd I celebrated my 38th birthday. This picture is from a friends' night out the weekend after. My friend Tracy (on the far right) also has a February 3rd birthday, so we try to do something together every year. We went to a place in Choctaw, Oklahoma called Old Germany. Schnitzel and strudel and all things yummy.
This winter Lucas joined a five and six year old indoor soccer team. He has had SO much fun and has discovered a sport that he really excels at. 

Some of my class looking out the window at the accumulating snow yesterday.
I truly will miss these kiddos. And my assistant (She is awesome!), and my supportive families (I've made some new friends!) and fabulous co-workers (I'll miss our lunch room rants and laughs!).

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."
Ecclesiastes 3:1

I've enjoyed my short "season" and look forward to what the next will hold.