Going back to school is usually pretty easy for parents. They go to the store, check the school supply list, and happily send their child off on the first day of school. Their lives have probably been filled with kids around the house 24/7 for the months of June and July. Perhaps their child has attended daycare or summer camps since parents still work while the kids are off of school. Most people are excited to send the kids off to school again and get back to a routine. But it’s a bit different when you’re going back to school, too…
Let’s first begin with one fact: I am a teacher. When the kids go back to school, I go back to school. There’s no more sleeping in, being lazy, long summer days at pools or zoos or whatever we feel like doing when we feel like doing it. It’s back to the grind for all of us. So how do you balance all of this?
Balancing school and your own kids:
One of the key things for me to balance my own classroom and my kids/home life is to make sure I’m prepared. For the classroom, I plan ahead two weeks or more. For home, I map out the week ahead on Sundays. What days are soccer, what days are church? Can I pick up kids or do I need back up for when I have an after-school meeting?
It takes a village:
Wherever you are: school or home, it takes a village to help you keep things running smoothly. At school: I make sure I have back up plans for the unexpected days my children get sick. I have a few people who can print off plans in the morning for me, know how to run my SmartBoard, and where my sub binder is so they can prepare my class for a sub. At home: I have people who live or work close to our area that I know I can call or text on a moments notice and be there to pick up my kids if something happens at school.
Dealing with the stress of each:
It is difficult for anyone to have a bad day at work and not transfer that over to home life. It’s even more difficult to do that when you’re working with 200 kids, parents, staff, and administrators during any given day and come home to your children. Don’t get me wrong. I love my job and my kids, but sometimes the stress of everything can be a bit overwhelming. I have a few key things that I try my best to do between work and home to help me process the day and be ready for my own kids.
First: I relax for a few minutes on the drive to pick up the kids. I listen to some loud music the kids probably can’t listen to or that doesn’t interest them. I also try to reflect. What went well today? What didn’t? How can I make this lesson more successful? Reflection is key to a productive and fulfilling life.
Second: I try to find time for myself in the evenings after they go to bed or on the weekends. Sometimes I need to escape to a new world via a book. Other times, I need the mind-numbing ecstasy of my favorite T.V. show. And lastly, I have a circle of friend teachers I can call and vent to if needed on those particularly challenging days. They help me process the situation and problem solve since they also understand the teaching world.
I’m sure every working mother out there would agree with me:
The bottom line is finding a balance between work and home. Balancing all the things that come at you and building a strong village to support you should you fall down. We all fall down a few times, but it’s the getting back up the next day and trying again that makes us great.