Two Identities

The Mom

Me and the kids at the Monkey Business Preschool Graduation

Being a Mom is quite rewarding. I love watching my kids grow, develop, and become their own little people! I love getting hugs and kisses at any random time… Not every lesson I teach them is perfect… not every response I have to different situations is even close to what’s best. I love them with all my heart, but yes, like any other person, I get frustrated with them at times. I even need a break once in a while!

I know people who put their entire life on hold for the sake of their children. Their entire identity is as “so and so’s parent.” As soon as their children come along, all the things that were once important to them, suddenly go away. They say goodbye to their social lives, and goodbye to adult-type fun. I wonder if these people realize the lesson they are unknowingly teaching their children – that you should live your life for someone else… There are many times and situations where saying no is not only appropriate, but sometimes necessary. We do need to think of our children first, but we also need to take some time to do what we have always enjoyed. As a parent, it can be hard to find the line of when to sacrifice our own desires for our children, and when to take care of ourselves.

I think of my daughter… what kind of woman do I want her to grow to be? I want her to be independent (though, I wasn’t prepared for her to be quite so independent at age 9). I want her to be able to think for herself. I want her to end up with a man who treats her right, someone she can truly be an equal with. I want her to be the kind of Mom that raises her children with strong values and a sense of respect! I want her to be able to balance taking care of her family with taking care of herself… I don’t know how to “create” this strong, sensible woman I want her to be, but I can try to be a role model for her.

The Teacher

Hangin' out on the playground!

One of my favorite things about being a teacher, is the love and affection I get from my kids in my class! This summer, I have been spending a lot of time in the 2-3 year old classrooms. That is such a fun age for so many reasons! #1 – they give so much love and affection… ALL the time!!! What a great way to start the day – a little girl running up for big giant hugs, a “Miss Sarah”, and kisses on my cheek!! It just melts me into a puddle!! Those hugs and kisses go a long way, especially on those tough days!!!

As a teacher, we are role models for children, but in a different way. Young children really seem to think we LIVE at school. This is apparent the first time I see one of the kids from our Center at the store or other random places. They truly wonder what we are doing out in public! I think it is good for them to see us outside of school. That said, it also points out that we need to behave in a way that is acceptable. As teachers, we are role models ALL the time. We never know when we may run into someone who is watching our behavior. Those moments when my kids and I are at the store, they are completely out of control, I am past the point of frustration, and I am yelling at them? I hope to GOD none of the families from the Child Care Center are there. It’s embarrassing. I always think the parents are going to see my kids acting like that, and think, “OMG, and SHE takes care of my children???” On the other hand, they might think, “Phew, even her kids have a hard time being in control sometimes!” No one is perfect. We don’t need to pretend to be, but we do need to be aware that people might be watching!

Another way we as teachers have to think about how we are modeling to children, is in our adult interactions. Working with many women (and a few men) over many years, I can tell you, some people are going to gossip, some people are going to complain, and some people just bring sunshine to every moment! Children watch those things… Do we have children in our class who are complainers? Then, we should look at how we are talking around them! Maybe we are role modeling complaining behavior! Are there children who think it’s fun to get other people in trouble? How about the kids who are ALWAYS mean?? …we can’t control what is being modeled to them at home, but we can model how we are talking around the children in our care. We need to think about what we say, before we say it! Wouldn’t it be so much better to be that person that brings sunshine to every moment, in turn, influencing children to follow our lead???

Both of my roles, as Mom and as Teacher, are very important to me! I strive to be the best I can be at both – EVERY day! I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. Heck, some days, it seems like that’s all I do! But, trying, is what counts!

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