Balancing Life: The Teacher-Mom Juggling Act


For as long as I can remember, I always loved working with children.  I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a teacher, but when I was in college trying to decide on a major, teaching was the choice that came most naturally to me.  

As a teacher, I do my best to treat my students like the mini humans that they are.  I often reflect back on my own experiences as a student and think about some of the teachers that I enjoyed the most.  They were a great balance of work and play and rather than presenting themselves as a dictator/authoritarian (as some did), my favorites were the ones that really got to know me as an individual.  In my classroom, relationships with my students are one of my top priorities because I know that by building that foundation of trust, they are much more likely to listen to me when it comes to academics.  

Juggling my “Mom” hat and my “Teacher” hat

I never really considered NOT having children; I just always assumed that I would have kids one day as if it were already laid out in my life plan.  Babysitting at 12 years old prepared me from even the youngest age and I was always told what a great mom I would be one day.  Fast forward to the past three years and after some infertility issues and heartache, I finally became a mom last fall.  That is when my two worlds, the past and the present, totally collided and quickly, I had to figure out how to merge the two together.  My biggest fear: being a great mom would make me a lesser of a teacher and being a great teacher would make me a mediocre mom.

Before I had my son, I would bring work home with me often.  Sometimes, it would sit in my bag all weekend and never be touched.  Other times, I would crank out a “power grading” session and update all of my grades in one afternoon.  I guess I didn’t think about how that would change once I had kids of my own but my first few weeks back at work, I decided I would have to change my ways.  Initially, I just put it off completely.  Then, I brought home a few assignments to grade and realized that my priorities had shifted and even when my son finally went to sleep, I was entirely too tired to look at any papers, let alone enter them into my grade book. Next, I tried to use my prep time at school to get as much done as I could and then just leave the rest for…well, I wasn’t totally sure when. 

I talked with my teaching partner, who is also a new mom, and she suggested coming up with a system that worked for me. So I decided that I would stay late at school one designated day a week to get caught up on my grades and refused to take any work home with me. Was that fair to my students?  If I worked productively, then I was really hoping this home-work shuffle would help me balance my time appropriately. Since I started this system in late January, it seems to be working for us at the moment. I had to compartmentalize my two lives to be sure I was giving adequate energy to both sides of my life, which is not an easy task.  But if I can learn to juggle my school life and my mom life with balance and grace, I will chalk that up as a win in my book.