Driving to and from school I have lots of time to think. It’s 35 glorious minutes all to myself. These days, my commute and my running time can be the only alone time I get all day.
Look, Ma! No traffic!
At some point this week, my mind must have wandered during some report on NPR. You know the kind I mean. “Sea squirts slime the Puget Sound. A slug-like creature is damaging the ecosystem of Puget Sound. The so-called “sea squirts” are multiplying like little underwater rabbits, starving out or smothering other sea life.”
So…I began thinking about the age-old “Stay-at-home Mom” vs. “Working Mom” debate. Maybe sea squirts are more interesting to you. By all means, check out the NPR report. I’m certain it’s quite informative.
Here are some of my observations about home vs. work.
Even while I was off of work and enjoying my time with Island Boy, I was thinking about my job. My number one concern was that the students and teachers might like my sub more than they liked me. I heard he was good. Everyone liked him. Luckily for me, I also heard that one particular class asked their classroom teacher every single time if I was going to be there to teach music. Whew! They missed me!
Once I knew I was missed, my mind was somewhat at ease. As my return to work began to approach, I worried that once I went back to work I might miss being at home. It was pretty sweet to be a stay-at-home mom for 7 months. Here are a few of the perks:
- It was nice to roll over and go back to sleep when the alarm went off at 6 am.
- I could go running whenever I wanted. I didn’t have to pray over the weather page that the gods of the sky would cooperate around 4:30 pm.
- I was afraid I was going to miss the days of eating breakfast at 11 and lunch at 3:30.
- I scheduled doctors’ appointments willy nilly.
- I even delivered The Fashionista’s homework to her one day when she forgot it.
- And work clothes? Really? Try pj’s or running clothes all day long.
- Island Boy was able to sleep until he woke up. His record was 10:30 am. I had to check on him a few times that morning.
On the other hand, it sometimes felt isolating being a stay-at-home mom. During this time, I was literally a “stay-at-home” mom. What I mean by that is, The Major and I followed the sage advice we were given about making a smooth transition for Island Boy — we kept our world “as small as possible, for as long as possible.” We didn’t go out much. We bonded at home. Played at home. Ate at home. Rarely entertained.
This isn't my house, but it sure looks like my clutter.
Weekdays, IB and I would play, play, play. He liked to help clean and cook. I enjoyed his company with these chores except for laundry. He loved to toss freshly folded clothes all over the bedroom. I became fairly adept at keeping the laundry folding top secret.
Finally, the stars would align and salvation would approach. The older ones would come home! For those who have stayed home with your kids, you know exactly what I mean.
Time to watch and listen for the school bus. At our house we experienced a bit of a build up:
- Subway Guy would arrive. His arrival was greeted by IB in a lukewarm manner.
- A mere half hour later, The Fashionista would scurry off of the bus. IB would go fairly crazy, screaming, “FASHIONISTA!” and leap into her arms.
- By the time The Major got home, IB was in his glory: tormenting his older siblings. Maybe TM would like to tell you how many times he came home to a certain someone’s high pitched wailing, screaming or taunting of the cat. Mama was nearly crawling the walls. “What’s new with you?????” Pretty much all I could come up with was who the newest guest was on “Sesame Street” that day. It was pretty pathetic by the end of my “maternity leave”.
Contrast that with being back to work. I’ve noticed some folks aren’t as perky about being back to school after a summer off. At my school, we’ve got teachers who talk about winning the lottery so they won’t have to work anymore. Others obsess about retirement and how many more years they have until they don’t have to get up in the morning.
My friend, Mary, makes paper chains to count off the days until vacation. I am NOT talking about her. She's cool.
We just started the school year and many of my colleagues are already counting how many days until vacation; how many months until summer.
I feel fortunate. I know I have the perfect job for me. I enjoy going to work every single day. I look forward to seeing my students. Not only that, but I actually enjoy talking about academics. I like some of the meetings we have to go to. I like hearing about how the students are doing in their classrooms. I’m interested in their reading and math scores even though I’m “just” a special area teacher.
It feels good to be back in the work force. Back to school. Out of pajamas. Back to the commute…until it rains for the first time. Then you have to drive reeeeeeally slowly. Driving in the rain can be very dangerous. That’s why people should stay home when it rains. Not me though. I had enough time at home, thank you very much.
A day at home alone? Now that’s another story.