I’ve always been a working mom. I was one of those women who thought that I could do it all – full time teaching, ever present spouse and greet my kids after school with a tray of freshly baked cookies.
Life didn’t exactly turn out that way.
When my daughter was born, I was sure I could return to my 7thgrade English teaching job. It only would require a 60-minute round trip commute and leaving her home with her dad all day. And, I could still breast feed.
Luckily, the sleep deprivation got to me, and I realized not all that was going to happen.
After six months home with her it was time to return to the classroom. I settled on a 5thgrade position that would allow me to work closer to home and have fewer papers to grade. I could zip home on my lunch hour to feed the baby, zip back for the afternoon and be home in time to bake cookies for my husband.
Life didn’t exactly turn out that way, either.
Trying to time a feeding for the 10-minute window I had available didn’t sit well with my stubborn daughter. The tears when I left didn’t sit well with my husband. Fifth graders were sucking all my patience – they were so clingy. And the cookies? That was just a fantasy.
The following school year I tried something else – a 7thgrade position in a town about 10 minutes away. The plus side was the curriculum-my comfort zone-and my schedule-8-12. The down side was the commute-15 minutes each way might have well been crossing the state line. But she was growing up, and didn’t depend on me quite as much. My husband mastered the art of the long walk to tire her out, and she adjusted.
Then life presented baby #2.
This time I gave in. Stay at home mom I would be. The pendulum swung, my husband took a second job, and I spent every waking moment with both kids. I baked cookies-but he was too tired to eat them when he got home. Baby #2 didn’t seem to know who this man was that stumbled into the house every night, too exhausted to play, laugh or go to the park.
Going back to work was at least familiar, if not exciting. Teacherwolfe went into full gear. I decided that the commute could be a time for myself, and found that by the time I got home mamawolfe had reappeared and was excited to re-enter the home. My husband left his second job, balance slowly reappeared, and so did the cookies.
Life never tasted so sweet.