I want to take occasional opportunities over this school year to document some of the thoughts and feelings that are emerging as a back-to-work mom. There’s no telling just what I’ll cover here or what will come up.
In case you missed it, I’ve returned to full-time teaching this school year under special and unique circumstances. I decided to start an informal little series about this return after a decade-long absence in the full-time work force. Some of what I’m sharing is serious and spiritual. Some of what I’m sharing is practical or fun.
I think one of the things I have enjoyed about rejoining the workforce is getting to dress up a little three days a week. Whether I continue to work or not, I will most certainly keep in mind the connection between getting dressed for the day in something besides workout clothes or jeans can be up-lifting. In the transition from summer to fall I wore the heck out of some cardigans. This fall, I can tell scarves and blazers have become my new besties.
I don’t always get it right in prioritizing my time. And I’m the first to admit, I have both relished the time out of the house and terribly missed so much time with our children. I tend to have an “all or nothing at all” personality. There have been moments I’ve felt guilt for the time I’m away and the delegating I’ve had to do. At the end of the day (often literally), these three kids are awesome and we find ways to have lots of quality time even if the quantity is less.
Our month has been filled to capacity. The work-week is already bursting with activity and nearly every weekend in October we either entertained guests or we have been traveling. It never fails that once we return home from each trip…I need to go to the grocery store for the BIG GROCERY RUN. Instead of feeling frazzled about this, I have decided to use my grocery trips to practice deep-breathing, moving slowly, taking my time, being un-rushed, and finding gratitude.
“Lord, thank you for a family to feed. Lord, thank you for grocery stores on every corner. Lord thank you for a healthy family who doesn’t require a special diet. Lord, thank you for the resources to shop for the foods we like. Lord, thank you for a Starbucks inside Kroger.”
See? A few deep breaths go a long way; now I don’t view the grocery run as a overwhelming chore but as a time to keep my heart centered on what’s important.
4. Bring in help.
This month, I finally caved and admitted that I couldn’t do it all. We have hired someone to deep clean the house twice a month. I’ve come close to doing this during two other seasons of life, but could never pull the trigger. Denise did in a handful of hours what would have taken me an entire weekend to execute. You can smell the clean from the garage. There is a lot about juggling multiple responsibilities as a homeschooling mom, full-time teacher, homemaker, wife, military spouse that can feel daunting. Having a housekeeper is not one of those things!
5. Back in the classroom.
I see my job as a teacher as not just a job. To me it is another facet of my calling. I know there’s a big difference in mindset when you work because you have to versus when you work because you want to. This job for me feels like a huge blessing. My students and co-workers are awesome. I feel such an energy (that I’ve missed) from sharing my passion via the composition classroom. I adore that I’m getting a chance to influence and build confidence. I feel excitement that I am getting to see lightbulbs come on and ownership develop. For however long this gig may last, I’m grateful.
As of next week, my school semester has only five weeks left. This semester has flown by, it’s true. I’m looking forward to having an almost six week break before the spring semester begins.