Saturday: Mom Musings about being “on”

Vegan Goodness:

Today we ate:

  • Breakfast: Smoothies and oatmeal for Mom and LP.  Dad had some juice and cereal after waking up.
  • Lunch: Sushi filled with tempeh, avocado and our last CSA cucumber.
  • Dinner: Dad made his delicious bok choy noodle stir-fry
  • Mom and Dad also had the last of the chocolate mousse and strawberries while we finished watching our movie from the night before!

Money Matters:

Today we spent the following:

  • $20.00 on a garage sale deal – we got LP a Melissa and Doug easel, a couple books, a CD and a plastic wading pool!
  • $6.00 at Whole Foods for some ginger and a special treat – grapes!  (The organic ones were on sale and LP loves grapes – I couldn’t pass it up!)

Mom Musings:

The school year started this week, and for the first time in 8 years, I wasn’t in a school as students showed up for the first time.  I didn’t need to do any classroom preparation.  There were no lessons to plan.  Instead I coordinated baby feedings with park trips and meal preparation, and basked in the glory of a couple of four-hour stretches of sleep.

However, I can’t stay away completely.  Two weeks ago I went into to work for two short days.  One day was for a meeting with fellow PD facilitators and the second day was to facilitate the first small-group PD session.  It was great to be back, see friends, and feel some of that “back-to-school” excitement.  It was also a very clear reminder of the contrasts between my work as a teacher and my work as a mom.

On the second day I went into work I had no children with me.  This was the longest I had been away from IP since she was born and the first time I had been out somewhere with no children for more than thirty minutes.  There were aspects that felt positively liberating: listening to my radio station instead of “music together,” just carrying a backpack with my stuff in it, and having extended adult conversations not punctuated by crying or a loud “‘Scuse me!!”  But what struck me most was the switch my brain had to make when I was facilitating my small group.

When I’m with my kids – either one – I am “on” at all times.  There is always something I need to pay attention to: who needs a fresh diaper, who has eaten recently and needs to eat again, making sure LP doesn’t injure himself (or anyone else), thinking about what I can get ready for dinner, etc.  I remember this feeling of being “on” all the time from when LP was a baby.  One of the best parts of him going on a regular nap and sleep schedule was that it gave us time where we didn’t have to be “on” and constantly vigilant.  Since IP isn’t there yet, I got thrust back into that constantly “on” phase, where I’m on alert 24/7.  I’ve been residing here for 7 weeks – except for the time I was at work.

But as I was facilitating I wasn’t chillin’.  I was engaged in a whole other kind of “on.”  I was paying attention to what each participant was saying, what they were doing when they weren’t speaking, thinking ahead to the next parts of our agenda, considering the goals of the session, etc.  These are very normal things for a facilitator to do, and I’m used to doing them in meetings and in my classroom during the school year.  In this meeting I enjoyed the fact that my focus was on protocols instead of poop, but it was a serious switch for my brain.  I felt like I had been working out my upper-body exclusively, but then suddenly switched to a lower-body routine.  I was still “on” and still constantly vigilant, but I was focusing on very different things.  Like a change in a workout, it was tiring, but it still felt like a nice change of pace.

I was super glad to get back to my family at home, and even to have a whole weekend with my kids while the G-man was away.  Now that school has started I’m happy that taking care of my family is really my first priority at a time when my students and my teaching often takes precedent.  But I’m also happy that once a month I’m going into work to exercise those other brain muscles a bit.  And, really, any break from diapers is a good one!

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