Tuesday, January 25, 2011

mommahood vs. teaching

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,
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but also the good. the very, very good.
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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!

26 comments:

  1. awww...what a great post! And remember there will come a day when you get to give your Choi Boy to the teacher for the day and then you get to get him back. I LOVE pick up time for my kids after school...I'm refreshed after some time to myself and they are excited to see me after a long day of school!

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  2. This post is so true! Teaching is so much different than parenthood. I much prefer the mommy job. Most of the time, anyway! ;)

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  3. As a fellow teacher, I definitely appreciate this post. Although I teach high school, a lot of those same scnearious apply. The one even better thing about high school is that you only have to deal with a difficult student during a 70-minute period!! I have found myself saying, "I can hardly handle two kids here at home, and I used to manage an entire class of teenagers!" It's the 24/7 thing that changes everything! Nevertheless, mommyhood is more rewarding at the end of the day when you get the kisses and the "I love you, Mommy!" *love*

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  4. Love this post. I am sitting here during my planning time, taking a break, and you have expressed both teaching and mommyhood perfectly. I am so glad that my boys are the one I get to keep!

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  5. I love it! He's such a cutie pie. You must be having so much fun with him. I'm really happy for you all. I know I keep saying that, practically every day, but I really am happy for you. :)

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  6. Well, teachers may not exactly be saints, but I am sure appreciative of everything you all do for our kids. I suppose it is VERY different than mothering.

    I have been wondering if you are planning to return to teaching after maternity leave. You seem to love it so much.

    I think it is interesting too, how different some kids act at school vs. home. From what I hear, Isaac acts about the same, but it seems that Matthew has a school persona and a home persona.

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  7. awesome awesome awesome post!!! Seriously, motherhood is definitely something that no one can fully prepare you for. I definitely think that the 100% 24/7 ness of it is the hardest part. It's a LOT of pressure! And constant!

    Ok. That last picture is so awesome. LOVE it. These are the things I love about it:

    - let's start with momma. Your GORGEOUS boots!! Knee high boots without heels tend to look clunky and clumsy, but these are gorgeous.

    - your not-a-diaper-bag Longchamp!! I have it in dark brown, and it's definitely my go-to bag when I don't want to feel like a TOTAL mom. I have one of those pods that hold diapers and wipes, and everything else is just thrown in. Love it.

    - now onto Choiboy... the hat!! I want that exact. same. hat for RJ!! I love the color, the pom poms... everything.

    - The pants. Are those cargo skinny pants?!?

    - The shoes. Way too cool for me. So cool.

    - Finally, the wave and expression. Who can resist that?!? Seriously.


    and the piece de resistance...

    - your expression!! The joy and pride coming from your beaming face... it's literally like you're saying "I'm a little embarrassed, but isn't my son so cute?"

    the answer, my friend, is absolutely YES. He is adorable!!!

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  8. yeah. oh gosh i find that too just with simple babysitting. i get so relieved to return the kid after a couple hours. and they have been good kids! so for me i'm nervous. excited but nervous! haha... will just have to wait and see huh. meanwhile, love the pic of choiboy and mama! what a dream come through for you guys. woopwoop!

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  9. I often have wondered if teachers get kind of sad seeing some kids go at the end of the year. The best part of being a mommy is that it gets easier and easier (until they are teenagers of course) and you still get to be mommy! My boys are 7 and 10 and we have a fabulous time together:) I am so happy for you that mommyhood has been so good to you. Your little one is sure a sweetheart.

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  10. you are such a sweet momma grace!! i LOVE that last picture of you two...so freaking precious!! after taking care of my 2 year old niece for a week, i quickly grew a thick skin of patience. i think it grew after the first huge melt down over a "lankie" aka blankie. i didn't realize that a blankie is also a hankie too. lol. she needed four blankies and a green floral hankie in order to go to sleep. ha!

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  11. Such a great post, Grace! Being in the corporate management world, I always *thought* I had a demanding job. Until.....well, until I became a Mom. Hardest job EVER!!! And I'm with everyone else....I lOVE Choi boy's outfit! So stylish and super cute.

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  12. Great post! And the pictures? Even better. :)

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  13. "...but you know what the best part of parenting is? at the end of the day, i don't have to give him back."

    I have had many students that I missed once they were gone and I agree the best part - some days the hardest part;-) - of parenting is that Kyle is my son and I don't have to send him home to someone else! I LOVE the picture of you and adorable choi boy - so precious!

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  14. Great post! I know you're great at both jobs.
    But that second pic of CB waving to the adoring crowd...love!

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  15. So true! People always say I must have so much patience b/c I taught Special Ed. I don't think I'm the most patient person (especially now, but I think that's a different kind of patience...). Parenthood has really made me grow in this department! ;)

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  16. What a wonderful post! I so agree with you. While being a mom can be difficult, it is even more wonderful than I ever imagined!

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  17. I love it! Btw, was the second picture taken in Seoul? The bldg in the background looks like the bldg I used to work in!

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  18. Oh, how can I relate to the teaching part. There are definitely days where I am thankful I have a break from the kids until the next day. I absolutely love the last picture, Grace. You guys are both exuding joy!

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  19. this is a wonderful post, grace! it's so, so true, too!

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  20. Oh Grace... what a great post! I feel the same way... most days. Not necessarily this week though... so a very good reminder for me. Thank you.

    :-)

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  21. What a great post and a great reminder of all the blessings that can be overlooked on a long day!

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  22. I think you said it beautifully! Nice post...mama & teacher. We are their first teachers...I love that you said that. :-)

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  23. Well, I'm not a teacher myself but I can understand exactly what you're saying. There definitely is a difference! I know you are an awesome teacher, Grace, and an even better mama. Great post!

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  24. Isn't that the truth! Said so beautifuly too. I really do not know how single parents do it! I think the secret is a really good support system. That can make the world of a difference.
    And LOVE that last picture!

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