Working Mom Feelings. Just A Day in the Life.

This morning started for me at 3:35 A.M., when I heard my dog getting ready to barf. On the plus side, he’s really good at giving us a 10-second warning so we can move him if needed. So he got sick, I cleaned it up, and I began to fight sleep a bit. Then I started thinking. And then a flood of guilt hit me.

This type of guilt hits me often, not in the flood size sense but in little ways that nag at me daily. I began to think about the amazing night I had with my husband and kids last night, how I looked in my daughter’s eyes as I put her to bed, how she laughed a huge belly laugh when I tickled her. Five minutes before that, we all read a story about the sun and the moon together in her bed. Both of my kids listened intently for the first half of the book, then began tickling each other and laughing hysterically. So I was only trying to get in on the fun. But soon I saw Johanna’s eyes grow tired, and I told her, like I always do, that she is my “best girlie,” kissed her goodnight, and left her room.

Why the guilt this morning? Because I wanted to relive those moments today. The biggest part of me wanted to spend the entire day with them. I replayed in my mind how last week Jackson asked me, “Why do we have to go to daycare every day?” But I have a job to do, and so I gave them each a hug and a kiss and left them in great hands at daycare.

I am writing right now with tears behind my eyes that are fiercely threatening to make an appearance. I am actually (gingerly) tapping/stomping my foot right now so they don’t come out and ruin my eyeliner. The lump in my throat is huge.

The other day, I was teaching my freshmen about Shakespeare, and I told them about one of my favorite lines from Hamlet: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” I explained to them that hundreds of years earlier, Shakespeare was touching upon the fact that life is all about perspective. So tears, go back to your original place. I want to live Shakespeare’s idea out today.

On my drive to work, which is about 25-ish minutes, I usually listen to Joel Osteen sermons. But today was a “Joel Osteen Live” day, which I really honestly can’t connect to, so I played the songs on my iPhone through the speakers. Oh my. Hilarity ensues when you shuffle through the songs you downloaded literally ten years ago.


“I Can See Clearly Now” came on this morning.

I can see clearly now the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for.

It has been almost a year since I landed another teaching job, this one in Iowa. And a year before that, I thought I was leaving education for good. Out of respect for myself and my profession, I will not go into specifics as to why. Though it may feel really good to tell you anything and everything about my anger, frustration, and disenchanted feelings at this time in my professional life, that good feeling will only be temporary.

It is only through my struggles to find peace in my role as a stay-at-home mom that I realized I wasn’t done in education. One actual teaching job within driving distance was open when I decided to open my heart to teaching again last year, and I was lucky enough to land the job. I say lucky, but I don’t really think it was luck at all, actually. I tend to believe it was God-orchestrated.

But I can’t in all honestly say that all of the dark clouds from my life are gone. Getting a teaching job has not guaranteed smooth sailing. Finding balance as a working mom is and always will be impossible. But I am, by leaps and bounds, much happier working in a profession I was called to.

Another song came on…

Finally, it’s happened to me.
Finally, you’ve come along; the way I feel about you just can’t be wrong.
But now you’ve come along, and brightened up my world…

Yes, I have “Finally” on my shuffle. Hashtag embarrassing. Hashtag child of the 90s. And while these lyrics are about a romantic relationship, I took them out of context on my drive to work today. I feel the same way about finding peace in a professional setting.

So while that guilt flood hit me hard this morning and made me feel remorseful that I would not spend Thursday with my kids, I am choosing to think about the good. To say I am thankful for this job I have now is probably the understatement of the century. One, it has made Iowa feel like my place, too, not a place where I am simply Jordan’s tagalong. I feel like I am needed here and belong here now, for however long we together decide that will be. Two, this job reinvigorated and essentially reaffirmed one of my purposes in life: to teach kids. And those are just two of the reasons, though there are probably ten more I could mention.

Today I left my kids at daycare. Today I teared up thinking about leaving them. But today I will also (hopefully!) impact the lives of others doing something I love to do.

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