In the months since I had my daughter, I have come to truly love and appreciate my job.
I teach preservice teachers at our local university, whose campus is only 15 minutes away from our house…if you include a stop at Starbucks.
I teach three classes: a 3-credit hour course that meets on Monday mornings, and a 1-hour and 2-hour course that meet on alternating Friday mornings.
Every morning, when I pack Ruthie’s diaper bag to take her to a friend’s house for the morning, I am filled with happiness. I never dread getting up when my alarm goes off, never dread creating my lesson plans for the day, never dread seeing my students’ bright, optimistic faces.
This morning I spent a wonderful three hours with 19- and 20-year-olds on the cusp of teaching, their faces furrowed in concern as we grappled with issues, grinning at me when I dropped some truth about real public school teaching, or blank with concentration as they read and wrote and thought. I had so much fun.
I don’t think I love it because “it’s my dream job,” because there are problems, and things I don’t like (cough cough, grading), just like any other job. But it is, in this season of my life, a way for me to stay connected to all things teaching and learning, when I don’t have time to work in a high school full time.
I’m thinking about this because so many of my friends have written Facebook posts lately lamenting that their jobs take them away from their babies. “My first day back at work and I’m missing my baby so much!!” “Two hours ’til my work trip ends and I see my baby again! Longest five days of my life!”
I don’t think I’m abnormal because I don’t fit the dominant narrative of doting mother–I think there are plenty of moms like me. I just wish more moms like me would speak up and put their real feelings out there. I wasted a good bit of new motherhood worrying that I wasn’t feeling/thinking/doing “what I was supposed to,” and it made me miserable. It damaged my relationship with my daughter, husband, and family.
I wish I felt the devotion to my daughter that other moms profess, but I can’t help but remember that I am a person too, and I was a person for 28 years before she was, and I just can’t throw that person away to only focus on this little brand new one in my home. I feel that when I nurture that self, I can nurture the newer part of my identity–the mom part.
Am I alone in this feeling? Are all moms like me, looking forward to the convention or work trip or part-time job that gets them out of their house and into adult company, not every hour of every day, but at least weekly?
Or is it just me, and I really do love my job that much?!