Monday, February 17, 2014

Problems of a Teacher Mom

There's a saying:  "Little kids, little problems.  Big kids, big problems."  Little problems I get, like the logistics of having a baby:  getting packed up, making sure you have like 3 outfit changes, running on very little sleep and so on and so forth.  It's not easy, but it's manageable, especially with all hands on deck.  That's where we're at with the baby.

But there are other problems creeping up with Isabella that I wasn't really prepared for.  She's in full day pre-school now.  She has show-and-tell, circle time, and some sort of show/performance/celebration seemingly every other week.  The only issue is that I'm a teacher.

I can't go to her Christmas show because I have to be with my students for their show.  I can't go to her Thanksgiving feast because I'm hosting one of my own.  I can't go to her Valentines Day party because I can't take off the day before a break.  I can't pick her up from school because I'm dismissing my own students.  I also can't take a day off for every Olympics/book fair/Bazaar because I lost a lot of days on my maternity leave and I need to build back up my sick days for when one (or all) of us actually gets sick.  I've also had to use 2 personal days for snow since NYC Public Schools never, and I mean never, close.

It makes me sad that I have to miss out on all that.  My mom gets to go.  Andy can go half the time.  I hardly ever get to go.  None of the other mothers even know who I am when I take her to birthday parties for classmates.  She'll ask me why I never pick her up from school.  I'm sure I'm not the only working mother, but it still stings.

If I had an office job it might not be such a big deal to leave early or take a vacation day, but as a teacher I don't really have that opportunity.  I have an obligation to be there for my students as well.  I know I wouldn't like it if Isabella's teacher wasn't there for her holiday party.

As she gets older it's getting more difficult to explain to her that "mommy has to work" or that "mommy has to put on a show with her students."  She kind of gets it, but not really.

In one sense being a teacher allows me to spend a ton of time with her since, for the most part, we have all the same breaks and the entire summer together.  But on the other had there is a lot of school related things that I miss out on.  I guess it's just a catch 22 that we'll have to live with.

12 comments:

Karen Greenberg said...

I completely relate. This past Christmas my 7th grader had a guitar concert on the same day my students had their music concert. I was crushed that I would miss my daughter's performance, which frankly, meant a whole lot more to me. To top it off, our concert was broken into TWO nights, one for the first half of the alphabet, one for the second. Thank goodness my teammate took both classes one night, and I took them both the next. We both got to go to the events we didn't want to miss, but it certainly doesn't work out that nicely most of the time. We do sacrifice a lot as parents to teach.

Melissa G. said...

Exactly. We have to sacrifice so much. I'd much rather be present for my daughter but I can't always take a day off. I'm glad it worked out so well for you this time!

Jo said...

Oh that sucks!

I can tell you that even when you have an office job it doesn't always work. A couple of years ago Cat was very annoyed that I couldn't make some event at school (luckily her dad is self-employed so he always gets to go and knows everyone). She told me: 'you know mommy, if you didn't want to have kids you could have just told daddy!' Boy did that sting.

Cassandra Schmigotzki said...

I would say it's better to work at a different school than your child attends just so you would have more of a chance to go to these things.

Melissa G. said...

I work at a separate school. It's not as easy as you would think to just change where you work. Loss of time, loss of money, loss of tenure and practically zero teaching positions.

Melissa G. said...

I haven't had a typical office job since before I got married! You're right though I can assume it must not be easy to take time off in general from any job.

Karen Greenberg said...

Until this week, I was at a different campus than my girls. I moved my youngest daughter to my campus three weeks ago, and my older daughter starts with me tomorrow. It didn't seem that I was any more likely to attend events when they were not on my campus, since all the schools in the area run on pretty much the same schedule. :-(

EstheticGoddess said...

Oh wow, this is a very good post as I had never heard it from the teachers point of view. The great thing is you do get to be with her during her breaks but I totally get the heartbreak of not being able to go to her events.

healthyactivist said...

Stopping by from SITS....I can relate to this post. I had an office job when my kids were little, and it was hard to take all the time off to go to their events. Not as hard as a teacher but still hard. You are lucky, though, that you have your mom to go to them, so she has someone there.

Madonna said...

I will be honest, I've never thought about it in that perspective before. I typically am just jealous when you have breaks and can spend the time off with your kids (and eliminate the hassle of finding daycare).

I work in an office and thankfully have a flexible schedule so thus far, I can make it to her events. While it is still a sacrifice because I need to make up the time, it's nice knowing I can be there for her. Even though you can't make it, at least someone else can. At this age, I think it must be harder for classmates to see their friends' parents there when theirs can't make it for various reasons.

Being a working parent is tough - no matter what!

Nicole Nenninger said...

I lost my mom at age 7. She had been working towards her Master's degree and wasn't home until supper time usually. What I remember is the quality of time I spent with her--not that she was gone. She took me to museums, parks, gardens--tons of stuff, tons of great memories. I think kids pick up on the guilt moms have. I say focus on the positives and make the time you have with her memorable--even if it's just snuggling on the couch. I think kids need to see that their moms have lives, too. It doesn't make them love their children any less--it just means you love yourself enough to honor your dreams too.

Jenna Brussee said...

Thanks for sharing this, I loved reading your perspective!

Post a Comment

Have at it...and I will respond to all comments here so check back often to stay in the conversation.