I love being a mother and I love being a teacher. It’s in my nature to care for others and any mother/teacher will tell you the same thing. We want to do our best, we know we can always be better teachers and we push ourselves to do that. But there are hard days and the guilt is tremendous. It’s crazy that we have to choose, from now on I want no more guilt.
Teachers know that parents give us the most important thing in their lives, their child. Parents have trusted us to care for, listen and ultimately teach their children. The mother/teacher understands this better than anyone; we have given our own child to someone else, so we can teach other people children.
Most days this is wonderful. We get up at 5 am, prep our families to get out the door, drop our child at daycare, rush to school and spend our day dedicated to the well being of other people’s children. Our day is spent teaching these children lessons, grading their work and discussing with our colleagues what more we can do to help them. We laugh with them, care for them, counsel them and sometimes cry with them. We give our whole selves to this job. It isn’t just our job; it is our passion. We truly love what we do.
After a day of teaching, we rush home back to our own children. I still find myself running to the daycare door. The sooner I have my daughter back in my arms, the happier I am. We go home and begin our routine of coloring, playing, going for walks, cooking dinner, tubby time and then bedtime. It is hectic, but we make it work. My husband is great, he does most of the daycare pick ups and LOTS of playing. I don’t know how many times a grown man and a 2 year old can race across the living room. These are great days. I can help children, laugh a little and love deeply. I couldn’t ask for more.
But there are hard days. Days when I am forced to walk away from my crying child so I can go to work. Every fiber of my being aches as I turn away from her. I hate it! It ruins my day and I rarely recover from it. Thank God for the mother/teachers I work with. They help talk me through it and remind me she is okay, that it’s just a phase, but mostly they commiserate about how much it sucks.
But there are days even harder, when you know your students really need you, but your own child needs you more. When you have to call into work for the 8th, 9th or 10th time. There is so much guilt that comes from not doing your job to the best of your ability. We truly care for the children we teach. Teachers take the responsibility parents have given us more seriously than they could imagine. We want to share knowledge and the joy of learning with them.
But when our children are sick, no one can care for them like mommy. Our own children need us more than other people’s children. We have to learn to how to stop beating ourselves up for putting our own children first. My awesome friend Michelle often reminds me that kids can’t watch themselves. It’s true! Someone has to be home with them. And for many of us, mommy is the only option.
Why should we feel guilty for caring for our children? It is part of our make up as mothers. If they need us, we should, without any guilt, be able to hold them, love them and stay home with them. My job is my passion, but it is also a necessity. My household needs the income from both my husband and I to run. And I truly understand how great of a responsibility it is to be a teacher.. I put my entire mind, body and soul into my job. But from this point on, I want to let go of the guilt that comes with choosing my daughter first. The most important job I have is being a mother. Putting my daughter first doesn’t mean I’m a bad teacher, it just means that I am a mother. From now on I will say with no more guilt.