To celebrate the different expressions of how moms work, the KCMB series “The Way Moms Work” follows the many ways we work in a single day. We hope this series will champion all of the work moms do, both in and out of the home, and encourage our readers to find meaning in their own work as well.
My alarm goes off at 5 a.m.. And again at 5:15 a.m.. And again at 5:30 a.m.. I didn’t used to be like this… a snoozer. But after kids, it became inevitable. At 5:30, I untangle myself from the two kids and one 65 pound dog that snuck into my bed at some point in the night, and I head downstairs to get coffee. MUST.HAVE.COFFEE.
Enjoying my first cup of the day, I pack two lunch boxes. A star-shaped PBJ with strawberry jam for this one, peanut butter crackers for that one. Oranges for this one, kiwi for that one.
Lunches packed, daily folders signed, backpacks packed… it’s time to get ready for work. A quick glance at the clock tells me I have exactly 20 minutes until I need to leave the house. Guess I’ll have to skip washing my hair again today.
6:30 a.m., our Kelsey arrives. If I’m lucky, my boys are still snoozing soundly as I kiss their sweaty cheeks and head out the door, cup of coffee #2 in hand. (In case you were wondering, our Kelsey is our WONDERFUL sitter who shows up every morning at 6:30 a.m. on the dot, and endures the morning ritual of getting my two sleepy-heads fed, dressed and dropped off at school.)
I arrive at work (school) by 6:45 a.m. and get ready for the day to come. At 7 a.m., the doors are open, and the halls are filled with sleepy, yet surprisingly noisy, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. I go in search of my third cup of coffee.
When I tell people I teach middle school, I usually get one of two reactions: 1. I don’t know how you do it. or 2. You must be crazy. While I may be a little crazy, teaching middle school kids isn’t terribly difficult. You just have to get on their level. Think like a 13 year old. I spend my days carefully avoiding saying things that make middle schoolers giggle. Things like: balls. Thank goodness I don’t teach PE. I’d never make it.
In reality, my job is a lot of fun. We laugh. A lot. My students are bright, and funny, and insightful, and genuine. Most days, I really love my job.
First hour is easily my favorite class of the day (no offense 2-8th hours). These are my 8th graders, and I have been their English teacher for three years now. We know each other well, and if we aren’t careful, the hour can easily get away from us, and we don’t accomplish much. They talk of who is “dating” whom, the recent split of One Direction member Zayn, what classes they will take in high school, which historical figure they’d want on their fantasy dodge ball team, and most days, I’m positive I learn more from them than they do from me.
Second hour is my sixth grade class. The babies of my brood. They are so completely different than my 8th graders. They talk of Pokemon, video games and Disney shows. They will come back next year and suddenly be “grown up.” It’s shocking how much they change in a summer.
Third, fifth, sixth and eighth hours are spent with my 7th graders. These guys put the middle in middle school. Some of them are still playing with action figures and digging in the dirt… some of them are ready to shave and wearing cologne. (Actually, a lot of them wear cologne. A LOT of cologne. Sometimes in place of deodorant. This is never a good idea, I assure you.) Seventh graders are funny creatures. Moody, but mostly funny.
The 2:20 bell rings, and the halls are once again full of noisy students heading home for the day. If I don’t have a meeting, I gather my things and head out the door to grab my guys from their school.
I love my work schedule. Being done by 3 p.m. most days, and having so much time to spend with my guys makes getting up so early totally worth it!
Our after-school is pretty standard. We may run a quick errand or two after I pick the boys up from school. They love the grocery store for the free cookies, and Target for the toy aisle. Or we may just head home. The boys grab a quick snack and play or watch TV while I clean out lunch boxes, start dinner, throw in a load of laundry, and feed the dog. Most of the time, I am summoned to settle an argument, coach an imaginary soccer game or just play. All of which I’m happy to do.
Dinner, baths, laundry, dishes, stories, more laundry, prayers, and wrangling two toddlers into bed consume the rest of my evening. If I’m lucky, all is quiet and I can finally sit down around 8:30. I am not usually lucky.
Another load of laundry, a few more trips to tuck in boys who fight sleep, maybe a glass of wine before bed by 9:30 p.m.
Sometimes, I really wish I were a night owl. I’d get so much more accomplished in my life. Alas, I am not. You know what they say…”Early to bed, early to rise…”
Check to be sure the doors are locked, turn off the lights, climb the stairs, cover up two sweet boys, and kiss two sweaty heads. Fall into bed, and I’m usually sleeping before my head hits the pillow. Tomorrow, I will happily do it all over again…