If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know that I went back to work this year. I'm a teacher and after being out for two years with our little bundle of joy, we decided it was time for me to return to the classroom. It was not an easy decision, nor an easy transition. However, it did get better and it continues to get better. I'm not sure if it's ever easier, but it gets better. Several people, considering returning to work themselves, have asked for my opinion about things. How has it been? Was it hard? How much time do you really get to spend with MK during the week? The same sort of questions I was asking myself last summer. I, by no means, pretend to be some sort of expert, for I am by no means an expert. But, I thought I would give some of my tips to help those who are considering it or who have already made the gut-wrenching decision.
1. Make sure the decision is a family decision. It can't be a decision that you make alone or one that your husband makes for you. It has to sound good and feasible for both of you. When we started talking about my return to the classroom, we talked about it together and we shared many of the same feelings and thoughts. It was something that we both agreed upon. I will say that Travis kept saying, "We can do this, you can do this, we will be fine." And most days I agreed, but others I kept saying, "It's going to be hard, I don't know if I can do this, I will not be fine."
2. If you are having to leave a child or children, as I was, then make sure you feel 110%+ comfortable with the person in which you will be leaving your heart with. If you are not 110%+ comfortable then it will make the transition infinitely more difficult. Leaving Morgan Kate with Roddey has been so good for my heart and I have not worried one single day about her. And that my friends, has made the biggest difference in all of this. The hardest part about leaving MK was actually dropping her off and driving away. But, Roddey always made that easy as well. Each morning when we pulled up, she would come outside to get MK. It made MK feel special and it made my heart hurt less.
3. Make sure you have a good support system. I don't necessarily mean people who can help you physically, although that would be terrific, but people who are willing to listen and build you up and encourage you and even share a glass of wine or two. If you are anything like me, then you are going to need those go-to people who will listen to you moan and groan and even cry. And believe me, there are going to be days of tears or at least there were for me. People that are going to reassure you that your feelings are normal and to remind you that people have been leaving their children and returning to work for thousands of years and they have all come out on the other side okay.
4. It's also pretty helpful if you like the people you work with. This too, can be a huge deal maker or breaker. I was blessed. I got this awesome fifth grade team, with uniquely different personalities and each person contributed to my success in some way this year. I think what I love most about my team is that we are all quite different in some way or another, but we all get along, we make each other laugh and at the end of the day, regardless of our philosophies of education or our teaching methods, we all want what's best for our kiddos. They make me laugh and they push my thinking about school and children and learning. And, I need that. Each one of them has been patient and kind and has listened or pretended to listen to all of my MK stories. We laugh together, moan and groan together and eat together. Sharing a love for eating is vital in any school setting.
5. Realize that there are going to be good days and bad days. Days where your heart feels good about the decision you made and then days where it feels like your heart is being ripped out. Days where you do get the dishes done and the laundry put away and days where you feel like you are drowning in dirty dishes and you can't see the floor because of all the dirty clothes. Days where your heart is content with the amount of time you got to spend with your children and then days where your heart is broken because you barely saw them at all. Accept that in the beginning and it will make things so much easier. Accept that you aren't supermom - maybe some of you are and I applaud you, but I am not, nor will I ever be.
6. And finally, it may be a good idea to check into your vacation/sick/personal time. Having a good bit of that is always helpful, too. Hee, hee!
I have had really hard days and I know that I will have more of them, but overall, I think it's been a great decision for my family and I'm thankful for that.