Tag Archives: teacher

Give me a poop-stained tee shirt any day.

7 Apr

Know how they say “the grass is always greener on the other side?

Sometimes, it really is.

I’m back to work now. My brief tenure as a stay-at-home-mother has ended, and I’m once again a government drone. Instead of cleaning the crap that comes out of my daughter’s diaper, I have to clean the crap that comes out of students’ mouths.

I know, I know: I signed up for this job. I went to school to do this, not once, but twice. I took four different certification exams for the privilege of teaching other people’s children. In this economy, I should be grateful I even have a job.

But here’s what I’ve learned from my experiences as a Working Mother and a Stay at Home Mom: the “SAHMs,” as we’ll now refer to them, have it better.

Wait! Wait! Before you condemn me and leave venomous comments on the post, read on.

Both sides of The Great Motherhood Divide have their benefits and struggles. I know this. I’m not diluted, and I lost my rose-tinted world in the pool at Frankenfurter’s house.

Mothers who stay at home have zero breaks and no days off. It is a literal 24/7 job. SAHMs exist in a veritable “Groundhog’s Day” of cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, fighting for naps, more cooking, more cleaning, erranding, routines, discipline, and then more cleaning. Staying at home often means making financial and material sacrifices. Fewer vacations, one-car families, fewer luxuries, and thinner bank accounts are realities for many SAHMs. People disparage the job and assume you just sit at home with your feet in Epsom salt. Stay at Home Mothers get little to no credit for their hard work.

Working mothers have to say goodbye to their child(ren) for the bulk of the day. They often miss milestones. They have to trust relatives or strangers at a day care to watch their kids and hope these other people don’t fuck them up. Even if they’re in a meeting where their attention is required, their minds are still on their kid’s diaper rash or slight fever, and they cannot give the same 110% to the job they were once able to.

But here’s where SAHMs win; here’s why, regardless of your personal feelings or the argument you may present, SAHMs have it better: they do for love.

As someone who spends her days serving people she does not love, I can honestly say I preferred the headaches of full-time motherhood to those of the working adult. I love my child. No matter how frustrating her nap schedule became, or how frequently I found Cheerios cemented to the ceiling, I was caring for the most important person in the world. Scrubbing the crap out of a watermelon-stained shirt may have been more difficult than explaining the nuances of Oedipus Rex to a teenager, but the results benefitted the love of my life. The vomit in my hair was lovingly placed there by my baby. The run-away poop on my arm from a diaper blow out was deposited by my favorite person. Most of the dishes I washed until my cuticles bled were a result of feeding my child. To me, that is significantly more rewarding than helping a teenager apply to college any day.

There are aspects of my job I like. When 20 year old, 200-pound young men cry upon learning I’ve returned to teach them, I melt a little. Creating that “spark;” that “epiphany” moment when the student finally understands a concept that previously eluded him is as professionally rewarding as it gets. The reality of my situation is that I’m going to be in the workforce for quite some time. I have spent a lot of money and energy on advancing my credentials, and I have to continue using them. Our financial situation requires that I remain employed. Because of my teaching assignment, I’m among the highest-paid teachers in my area; if I were to leave, there’s no way I’d be able to find another job elsewhere (or at a different time) that could match my current salary. I’m going to continue donning high heels and liquid eyeliner for quite some time. I’m at peace with this.

My only wish is for those of you who have the privilege of staying home with your children to know how truly “good” you have it.

Where did my “Give a Fuck” go?

31 Mar

Fuck. My brain hurts from all this homework.

I’m finishing up my Master’s degree in Administration. Literally, finishing up. I graduate in six weeks, and you bet your ass I’m counting down every second, every class session, every assignment until the end.

Why the fuck am I doing this? I don’t even want to be an administrator one day! That job sucks. How did I get here?

A few years ago, my dear friend and mentor, Super Teacher, encouraged me to apply for a Master’s program. At the time, I was a fledgling first-year teacher. I had no kids. I rented a home, didn’t own. I really had nothing else going on in my life aside from my easy, carefree marriage. I thought, “Why the hell not? I can do this. I’ll sure as fuck take the pay raise!” I researched different graduate programs, and determined that a) I’d make a kick-ass administrator, as I’m a Take-No-Shit kind of gal, and b)  the Administration degree looked easiest; it has a final portfolio in lieu of a Master’s Thesis. So I applied for the program (even though the requirements stipulated that I had to be IN my third year of teaching), and I was accepted.

I charged ahead. I took a heavier-than-average load. I rocked straight A’s for the first time in my life. I was kicking grad school’s ass and making it my bitch.

And then I got pregnant.

We weren’t deliberately trying to have a baby, but it happened none-the-less. My trimesters and semesters aligned a little too perfectly. My first trimester, which was a fall semester, I was useless. I was tired and cranky and über hormonal. Staying awake through evening classes after teaching a full day was nearly impossible. I received my first A- that semester; bye bye, 4.0 GPA!

My second and third trimesters were during the following Spring. I was large, I was hungry, and I was still a cranky bitch. I was finding it impossible to schedule my ever-increasing OB appointments around work and school. My blood pressure was skyrocketing from the stresses of teaching and being a grad student. And let’s be honest: even as a pregnant mother, my priorities were shifting. My “Give a Fuck” was almost nil. I earned my first “B” that semester. Bye bye, Magna Cum Laude.

After the baby was born, I took the summer semester off to be with her and recuperate. Once the next fall arrived, I was back in the swing of things: teacher by day, student by night, and Mommy whenever the hell I found a spare moment. With my “Give a Fuck” completely gone, I wondered why the hell I was still working toward my Master’s. I definitely didn’t want to be an administrator now. I barely even wanted to work. I just wanted to stay at home with my Pterodactyl and be a full-time Mommy.

Then Daisy reminded me of something: I had spent an ass-load of money on tuition and books, not to mention thousands of hours studying and in class. I had dedicated too much of my life to this program to back out now. I looked objectively at what I had accomplished and what I had left to do. I was one semester away from graduating. I decided right then, come Hell or high water, that I was going to finish this fucking degree and graduate.

So here we are. I’m six weeks away from graduation. My internship is almost over. I have two classes left to attend. There are about 5 or 6 assignments, collectively, left to submit. My cap, gown, and hood have been ordered. Shit, I even got to order an honors medallion, something that undergraduate Violet only dreamed of. (That’s right, Friends: I’m graduating Summa Cum Laude!) I’m writing this post as a way to procrastinate from doing some research for a paper I’m writing, and guess what? I don’t Give a Fuck. What I’d rather be doing is visiting the local pool with my little one, taking her swimming in the infant pool, which is only 6 inches deep. THAT’S how I want to spend my Saturday; not cooped up in front of my computer, but experiencing life with my kid. Every instinct in me is telling me to close the laptop and play with Pterodactyl, but then I have Daisy’s nagging voice in my head: “You’re so close! Buck up and finish, already!”

Thank you, Daisy, for keeping my lazy ass on track.

Thank you, Super Teacher, for inspiring me to start my Master’s degree in the first place.

And fuck you both for not letting me quit.

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