before choi boy made me a mom, a lot of people assumed that the transition to mommahood would come easily because i teach young children and have done so for the past nine years. and there are certainly a lot of similarities between teaching and parenting...namely, neither is for the faint of heart. let's just say poopy pants are not limited to just infants and toddlers. ;)
and while there are similarities, there are also many differences between parenting and teaching. the major difference? with teaching, at the end of the day, no matter what kind of day it was, you get to give the child back.
if you had a rough day with a particular kiddo, when 3 o'clock rolls around, you get to send him/her home. perhaps the child will go home with a note to the parents explaining why the day was so rough and asking for the parents' partnership in dealing with the matter, but for the most part, the child leaves and then you leave. you go home, think about something else and recharge knowing that tomorrow is likely to be better and that there are several hours until then.
with parenting, that's not the case. if you're having a bad day, you're having a bad day. there's no one to give the child back to, no one to write a note to, no one picking them up at 3 o'clock to relieve you of your duties. *you* are it. (well, you and your partner, if you have one -- shout out to the hubs who is being an awesome pops!)
when i tell people i teach five and six year-olds, they assume i have the patience of a saint. and i don't. not at all. the trick is, i know i only have to hold it together for 8 hours. that's it. eight hours. a third of the day. and really, there are very few moments that actually truly try one's patience during the school day, so those 8 hours tend to fly by really quickly.
not so with parenting. there is no "off" switch that allows you to throw off your patience hat and exclaim, "phew! i'm done for today!" you're *always* on. 24-7. and those patience reserves? they have to run reeeeeally deep because you never know when a 1:30am wake-up is going to deplete them.
there are no guaranteed breaks for PE, music, or art. there are no custodians to come and clean the child's mess. there is no school nurse to come take care of the boo-boos. there is no principal to deal with the really hairy behavior issues. it's all *you*.
and boy, can it be exhausting! i've been a momma for a smidge over a month and there are times when i marvel that one single solitary 16 month-old can wear me out more than an entire class of 23 kindergartners. it's crazypants, i tell you!
but you know what the best part of parenting is? at the end of the day, i don't have to give him back.
this might sound creepy, especially since i know there are some parents of former students reading this, but there have been little ones i have taught that i would have loved to take home with me. after spending 10 months together, it is really hard to say goodbye to some kiddos knowing i won't get to seem them regularly again. but with choi boy, i'm not limited to just september to june. he is mine. i am the one that he is given back to, no matter what kind of day he is having. i have the joy and honor of being the one he comes home to. i am the one that has the privilege of being there for not only the bad and the ugly,
but also the good. the very, very good.
and that is just amazing.
as much as i love teaching, i am SO loving being a momma. after all, isn't parenting really about being your child's first teacher? mommahood didn't come totally easily, but it is just so much lovlier than i could have ever imagined.
gotta run now...my sweet boy just woke up from his nap. ;) duty calls!