I can remember playing “school” with a friend during my childhood years. I wanted to be a teacher from a young age. Today, that friend and I are both elementary teachers. I graduated from Luther College in 2008 with a degree in elementary education. It took me four years of short-term and long-term sub jobs and a few bumps in the road but I finally earned my very own classroom in 2012. Today I am a third grade teacher at Lisbon Elementary. I love teaching young, eager learners, and the challenge of those not-so-eager learners. I adore my job. There is no other career path I would have rather chosen. I am proud to call myself a teacher.
However, I can remember playing “house” at an even earlier age. I would walk my baby dolls around in their strollers and put them to sleep in their cribs in my bedroom. I have always wanted to be a mom. When I finally became a mother just a short time ago, my dream was fulfilled. My son, Micah, was born on September 12, 2014. My childhood dramatic play could have never lived up to what being a mama is really like. As any mother knows, it is pure bliss.
I was fortunate enough to be granted full baby paradise for eight weeks and three days. Then, on November 12, I returned to a classroom full of nineteen ambitious students. I had mixed feelings. I was ready to see my students again and see all that they had learned since I’d been gone. But I was not ready to leave my baby boy for an entire school day. Micah’s daycare provider only lives a couple of minutes away from the school. She told me I was welcome during any of my breaks during the day to come see him. In my teacher mind, I thought, “How will I find the time with all my planning, grading, prepping for lessons, etc.?” But when my students left the room for their first recess, I was out the door to see my son. My mind as a mother thought, “How did I think I was going to make it through a whole day?”
Ever since, I have been making it a part of my day to nurse, pump, and snuggle Micah during my students’ recess/lunch time. It has really helped me to make it through the day. I realize that many moms are not lucky enough to be granted this luxury so I am thankful that it works with my schedule.
Returning to work full time has been a lot more difficult than I was picturing in my mind. Just a week before I returned I remember telling someone that I was ready…that I loved my job and that I couldn’t wait to return to teaching. While it is true that I love my job, I have found something else that I now love even more….being a mom. During my maternity leave, I enjoyed being the sole provider for Micah. I liked it when my husband came home at the end of the day and I told him all about Micah’s day. When I returned to work, I wasn’t the one who could tell my husband about Micah’s day anymore. That was (and still is) hard for me. I want to be the one who knows all about his sleep schedule, his signs of hunger, and even all about his poopy diapers. As a working mom, I need to realize that I will still know my baby when I pick him up at the end of the day. And yes, he will know his mommy too. Micah smiles at me right when I get to daycare to take him home and that just melts my heart.
The first two days of leaving Micah were the hardest days of my life (which tells me I’ve had a pretty blessed life so far). It’s tough leaving your little one, even after those first days and weeks have passed. A wise friend once told me, “That which causes us great sorrow is only because the same has caused us great joy. We are blessed to experience the heartache that comes with motherhood.”
Yes, I am blessed. And yes, right now, it is heartache. But in a few years, maybe I can get a smile and a wave in the hallway at school from my little man. I hope to instill in Micah how I am honored to be an elementary teacher who gets to love, teach, and impact so many young lives at school and then go home and be his mommy who loves and teaches him. I look forward to the day when Micah, too, will be proud to call his mom a teacher.
*Special thanks to our Guest Blogger, Kelly Robertson, for sharing her story with us!