All things considered Friday was a great day in my classroom- most of the kids are making awesome progress. Things are clicking and I'm excited to watch them soak in knowledge. Of course, no day can be exceptionally perfect and one of my little friends was having a rather difficult go of it. She only had two rough incidents but they took it all out of me.I went home exhausted and overwhelmed.
It wasn't until today that I realized so much of my exhaustion is from my new priorities of being a working mom. If Friday afternoon's incidents had happened last year I would have spent Friday after school laughing about it, calling parents, making a list of everything I needed to do, reflecting and developing a plan for Monday. This year, as a mom, all I could think of was "Day care is closing early today- I somehow have to get out of here as soon as possible."
Being torn between the two worlds is physically painful. I knew the situation needed more of my time. I love those kids to death and I want to do my job the way I know it should be done. I want to re-read books on bevavior, I want to examine what happened, write about it, look for ways I could handle it better, and reflect, reflect, reflect. I need to do that to be able to come in ready for Monday. Yet all I wanted to do was get to my daughter, not upset my daycare provider by being late, and get my daughter on the floor because oh my goodness she is going to crawl any day now. I ran out of school and sure enough showed up at day care to see only my daughter. The other parents had been on time. The guilt I felt while my beautiful baby gave me her huge "Thanks for coming mommy!" smile killed me. Yet even as I sat with her Friday afternoon, cuddling and encouraging her new skills all I could think about was my kids at school and the irruption that had occured.I feel like I can never just be anymore. Guilt is seems to sneak around after me, mocking my desire to do any one thing really well.
But even if I was a stay at home mom I'm sure the guilt would still haunt me- guilt for not doing laundry or cleaning the dishes on time- guilt for missing my job. Is being a mom just one large guilt study abroad? Forget guilt trip- this is an intensive, long-term experience. And of course sitting in church today I could think of nothing but my baby at home and my babies at school- which one should I focus on when I should really be listening to the sermon? Forget feeling guilty about zoning out in church- now I feel guilty for not day dreaming about the right things.
The thing is, most of the time I love my job and I love being a mom, and really, I love doing both things. It kills me to have to drop her off at daycare when she's in a great mood knowing that by the time I see her in the afternoon she'll be tired and fussy. I am missing the best times of her day and that is too painful to even think about. But I know she is in good hands and I love getting to work with my students. I think I just have to swallow the fact that right now guilt is a reality, welcome it into my life and then tell it that while it can visit it needs to be a good house guest and clean up after itself and stay in the guest room so that it does not take over my life.