Saturday, September 1, 2012

How it was hard

[This week I went back to work as a teacher. We didn't have students yet, but I worked four days part time, and here are my thoughts so far.]
The photo I'm using at the lactation station to help me pump
It was hard in ways different than I expected. I thought it would just be hard to leave O and be away from him. That too, was difficult. The vulnerability of pumping at work and the minor but humorous (in retrospect) challenges I've encountered so far might be a whole different blog post. But more than that, it has been hard to adjust to all the things it means to be a teacher. At least, all the things it used to mean to me. I am enjoying reconnecting with colleagues, feeling professional, getting some intellectual stimulation. But as a teacher, I put my all and my heart into the work. Not just extra time beyond what I was paid, but extra energy and presence.  Working part time, I think I'll be able to cut back on the time I spend, and cut out unnecessary tasks, but do I cut back on the energy I give my students and my job? Or do I increase the energy I put out to have enough for both my baby and my job (and my husband, and myself)?

Getting prepared in the morning is a good metaphor for what I feel about the whole process. There are too many things for my brain to remember, too many items to pack. I have to get the breast pump, the pump materials, the milk, the milk carrier, the diaper bag and all its contents, the extra items that don't fit into the diaper bag, the pacifier, then any work items like my laptop, books or paperwork, my lunch, water, oh, and the baby. It's too much for my little brain to keep track of.

And my heart. My friend Kristy says that having a kid is like having your heart on the outside. She says it's like "there goes my heart, toddling away from me". And my heart has definitely expanded since O has been born. So now, the question is, is there room in my heart for both O and my students/job? Will my heart expand, or will I need to make choices about what to allow in and what to keep out? Obviously, I will keep my baby closest to my heart.

Still, I know that being a parent will make me a better teacher, in the ways that count. I will fully know that each of my students is somebody's baby, that somebody loved and loves him as much as I love this child. Parenting choices made after that are another story, though I'll probably be more empathetic about the difficulty of making these choices.

So, if you have any wisdom on how to make this adjustment easier, please send it my way. Otherwise, I'm wading through.

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