Long before I was a mom, I was a second grade teacher. I remember being pregnant and excited to organize my baby’s home library by genre. I was going to use all my education and experience to be a good teacher mommy. I would use my teacher voice to be kind and encouraging at all times. My baby’s food intake and diaper changes would be documented on Excel according to state standards. We would use cheerios to practice our math! Well, seven years into being a stay-at-home mom, not one thing from teacher world has translated to Mama world. Let me explain:
1. Morning Meeting
Teacher World: One of my favorite parts of teaching, gathering on the carpet to start our day. We greet each other with a smile, maybe sing a song or play a quick fun game, and then read an encouraging message about how fun our day is going to be. And look we have “P.E.” today! Everyone loves P.E.!
Mama World: “Ain’t nobody got time” for a morning meeting…GET OUT OF BED NOW! We are going to be late. Eat your waffle faster. Where is your homework folder? Do you need sneakers? Is it library day? Hurry up, we have to make the bus! Dammit, we missed the bus! I have to drive you to school in my “shouldn’t be seen in public” sweatpants. I forgot my coffee mug! Not a good start to my day.
Teacher World: Every second grader knows that unless you are bleeding or there is a fire…. you do not interrupt reading group. Students generally adhere to this rule for fear of “firm teacher glance” if they were to approach the reading table to ask to sharpen a pencil or tattle on a classmate.
Mama World: This rule is blatantly disregarded at home and my “teacher glance” does not work whether Mama is in the shower or on the phone with a doctor. God forbid I try to pee with the door closed, that seems like a great time to barge in to tell me that your brother pulled your hair, you want a snack, or that today is Tuesday.
Teacher World: Ahhh…my favorite subject! I miss those glorious lunch breaks where I could speak real sentences with other adults, refill my coffee and get a good laugh…all in 15 minutes. Nevermind when it was potluck Friday and Mrs. Goodwin brought in her homemade guacamole! Delicioso!
Mama World: Lunch “break” at home – I am a short order cook for the most high maintenance customers on the planet. “I want my grilled cheese cut in fourths.” “I want my juice in the red cup only.” “Why does Kylie get the Elsa spoon?” “There is still a little crust on my hummus sandwich.”
4. Love Notes
Teacher World: Seven year old second graders love to write a good love note. Such teacher pleasers, they see us as so beautiful in our Ann Taylor dress pants and school appropriate shoes. If you were to wear your hair down one day instead of in the usual pony tail, be prepared for an onslaught of compliments from, “Wow, you look so fancy!” to a love note that says you look so “Buttifull.” (Need to work on that kid’s spelling.)
Mama World: Love notes from my seven year old at home consist of a “Do Not Disturb” sign she tapes to her door that says “No little brothers or Moms allowed.” Wearing your hair down at home also garners the question, “Why do you look different?” Thanks kid.
Teacher World: Reading is great! In my best teacher voice, “Boys and girls, reading is so exciting! We are going to take adventures inside of books!” The kids will then immerse themselves for the 45 minute reading block without complaint.
Mama World: Reading sucks. In my stressed out mama voice, “Set the timer, you have to read for 20 minutes.” 3 minutes later. “Why are you playing with your American Girl Dolls?” “But Mom…reading is so boring!”
6. Math and Manners
Teacher World: Math Lesson – I will introduce this concept, we will work on it, we will practice it, you will master it and get a super awesome 100 on your math test!
Mama World: Manners Lesson – I will introduce this concept, we will work on it, we will practice it, I will incessantly remind you to be polite. You will go out into public to test this new skill and say, “Give me ice cream!” to Henry’s mommy instead of “May I please have some ice cream?” You have failed me.
Teacher World: Ah, magnificent recess. Time to take five and run amok outside while I catch up with my teacher friends on the playground. No one fall and break your arm on the monkey bars please.
Mama World: Mommy recess…not as fun. I just spent $75 dollars at a pottery studio, used half a tank of gas to get there and needed a second latte just to cope with the permanent paint spill on Chase’s new shirt and the three tantrums I endured while there. What a break!
8. Picture Day
Teacher World: Everyone looks sharp all dressed up in their Sunday best! Even I have my hair all “did.” We are going to stand on our little tape spots, tallest in the back, look directly at the camera and voila…a perfect little memory of their toothless smiles is preserved.
Mama World: Ok, let’s try this for the 37th time. “Kylie, stop crying.” “Chase, open your eyes.” “Stop doing bunny ears behind your sister.” “What did you spill on your shirt?” Okay, now mommy has to suck it in as best she can and voila…a tear filled, expletive ridden family memory will be created.
Ok, so maybe my teacher training did not prepare me to be a Mom at all. But at least I can still use my “World’s Best Teacher” coffee mug… only now it has Bailey’s in it.