"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