Saturday, December 06, 2008

Being Gentle

"Be gentle with yourself," wrote one of my assistant principals in an email to me after I had met with her to talk about the balance of being a working mommy--a balance that she seems to be on her way to mastering. It was one of many encouraging remarks made to me upon my return to the working world. I returned to this world not as the AP3, HONORS2 English teacher who had so proudly left her treasured role for a bit, but rather as a MOMMY who also teaches. I choose to work outside the home, and I value my career-- feeling grateful to be able to contribute to my family while also hopefully touching lives and enriching knowledge. But it is crazy how in a matter of 10 weeks my priorities have changed... and how steadily the tears flowed as I left my little girl in the arms of another that first day.

The challenge I am currently faced with is how do I balance my roles. I love all of them: Christian, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, writer, colleague. I don't know if I can do them all well at the same time, and it makes my perfectionist self a little scared. Scared to fail at any of them. I do believe, though, that if I can figure it out--even just a little bit--I will become a better mother for it.

One of my dilemmas has been the decision about whether to continue nursing. After I got over the trauma of having to cut dairy out of my diet, I decided to keep at it for a bit more--making a deal with myself to take the pressure off and just go feeding by feeding, day by day. With the help of my aforementioned assistant principal setting up a curtained area in her office and my hooter hider*, I am figuring out my pumping schedule. I even am able to take bottles down to the nursery and play with my Addy-girl at breaks during the day--her smile keeps my heart soaring through the rest of my classes.

One of the things I am learning is that I WILL become efficient at managing my time. When I am at work, I will work. When I am with Patrick and Addison, I will play, and laugh, and love fully. When I write, I will write. The rest of my roles, I'll just try to figure out as I take each day one at a time.

My first day back to work was last Wednesday. I completed my 3-day week fairly well, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my weekend. I'm ready for Monday--as ready as I will be. I'm just going to be gentle with myself

*Hooter Hider:


Lori said...

what a blessing it is to have such an understanding and supportive assistant principal! sounds like she will help make this difficult transition a little bit smoother.

i've been thinking about you a lot this past week...i cannot imagine the emotions you're feeling going back to work...but it sounds like God is giving you help with the transisiton. i'll be praying for you as you are learning to balance things (and taking notes from the lessons you're sharing). :)

Kimberly said...

I hope that your first few weeks back go well. I know it is so hard, especially in the beginning. I know that you are an amazing mother and teacher and you will do GREAT at managing both roles.

As far as nursing, if your goal is to continue nursing and you ever need encouragement to keep doing it, please give me a call any time you need a pep talk. I LOATHED pumping, but was able to keep doing it at work until Henry was 12months.

Anonymous said...

that's such a pretty and well written post. i feel like it needs to be published. such good advice! i know that you'll be amazing at fulfilling all your duties!

Sarah Armstrong said...

I agree with Amy's comment - that should be published somewhere. I am thinking about printing parts of it and posting it up on my desk. I have thought of you often as you've returned to work. I still don't have the balance down perfectly, but I am getting better each day. I am proud of you for making it work for you!

Supabloggasuprememama said...

hooter hiders are the best. guilt/obsesing over it you well know...totally comes with the job. I've decided its always something different no matter what. You are doing a wonderful job...and I love that gentle with yourself. Its some advide ALL of us can use.

J said...

Great post.
I love this "hooter hider" thing. Like a boobtent! Love ya.

hicksfamilycircus said...

I hope you are all well and enjoying your first holiday season as parents. As a working mother who also shares many roles as you do, just know that the ones that are most important will find their way upward to the top of your list of priorities and the rest will fall into place. Enjoy each day and the ones you love!

Katie said...


You and Lindsay are two of the most organized "have it all together" people I know! I know as soon as you get used to this "life change" you will be a pro. I'm sure you are already a lot better at it than you think. I am struggling just getting used to married and working life, but throw a baby in the mix.... oh my goodness! I loved what you said about time management. I need to be better about focusing on what I'm spending my time on.

Holly said...

Been thinking about you and Addison these past couple of weeks. Hope it's going well.