Welcome to Mommy Mondays! For the background on this series, take a quick glance back through this post before you dive into our first mommy's story here today.
My connection with Amy stems back to my graduate school days when she served as my cooperating teacher in both my practicum and student teaching placements. We spent the better part of a whole school year hashing out lessons plans and navigating SOL's of high school English together. Whew, let's just say she was my life raft at times! Now, she has been so kind to let us glimpse into her day-to-day life as a mommy of one with one on the way (congrats!!).
Here's Amy's story:
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
Simon, age 5 Liam, due August 29th
What is your job? Are you full-time/part-time/whenever-you-get-time/or other!?
I'm currently a Middle School Language Arts teacher. I work full-time, and for the last 5 years I've also been in a graduate program part-time. I graduated in December with my Master's degree in Information Science and I hope to switch to a public library job in the future.
What factors influenced the decision about your working lifestyle?
First, I do like to teach, for the most part, and I always pictured myself as a career person of some sort. Also, I do like that we can enjoy a certain lifestyle if I do work-- we don't have to eke out a living, counting every penny, and we have a financial cushion to fall back on should times get tough. Could we make it on my husband's income alone? Yes, probably; however, the prospect of living hand-to-mouth doesn't appeal to me.
How does/do your spouse or other family members play a role in your work lifestyle choices?
Huge! My husband is a commercial airline pilot, and we don't live near family, so I take on a lot of responsibility for coordinating schedules and making things work without a spouse around much of the time. It's not easy all of the time, but it's the life we've made for ourselves, and it works for us. I'm very fortunate that when my husband is home, he's a very hands-on, capable spouse and father who did whatever it took to ease the burden on me when he was home. We plan family events for when he's home, and my son and I move on with life when he's not. I think that's important-- moving on and doing things. Do we miss my husband when he's traveling? Sure. But we have fun too. After all-- to be a bit morbid-- he's working, not dead.
What are some challenges (if any) you face with other moms?
I don't have any direct challenges with other moms, but I do find myself comparing myself with other moms, particularly ones in my church community. I struggle to find a spiritual balance in my own home, and so when it seems so easy for other moms, and their children seem to have the whole church thing down, and the moms are just so proud of their little budding altar servers who lead family prayer time (thank you Facebook), sometimes it makes me feel pretty bad. I have chosen to distance myself on social media from moms who do post stuff like this, and focus instead on the relationships with mothers that I can relate to a little more. I've found that the more I know a mom, the more I see their own struggles, and I can also see my own strengths.
What do you feel you have to sacrifice, if anything, in order to have the working lifestyle you do?
Time! Time with my child. Never was it more clear to me than when I was in school on top of working. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to say no to playing and spending time with Simon because of homework and other obligations. It was a huge relief to be able to say to him that Mommy no longer had homework or class at night, and I could spend more time with him.
What do you do to relax / for fun?
Read. I used to scrapbook and I still dabble in some crafting, but much of it takes up hours of time that I don't feel like I have.
What do you “splurge” on?
My favorite splurges are cooking items. My most recent purchase was a Nespresso espresso maker and milk frother for my birthday. We also have a regular coffee pot, so it feels redundant sometimes, but it makes me happy to be able to get up in the morning and make myself something that feels indulgent without leaving the house.
What do you like most about your work lifestyle decision and how if affects your family?
As a teacher,I love being able to do fun things all summer long, making memories and cultivating new experiences together. I also love that my son and I have the same schedule, so I'm not going to work when he's coming home for the day from school.
What do you like most about being a mom?
Watching my little guy grow up! It's been five years, and though I hate how big he's gotten, I'm so proud of his every milestone, every accomplishment. He's smart, respectful, and capable, and I'm glad I've gotten to be a part of that. I don't feel I can take credit for any of it, but if he's thriving, then I know that the life we live is beneficial to him. I also love the relationship we have cultivated-- moms and their boys!-- and I love that he's my little sidekick. We make a good team. In August or September, all of that is going to change with the addition of our new little one. I'm looking forward to watching another life grow and change, and it will be a adventure, navigating our world with another child. Yes, let's call it an adventure.
Be sure to leave some love for Amy and weigh in on the working mommy debate by sharing your thoughts in the comments box below.
Also, if you or someone you know is interested in participating in the Monday's Moms series, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know! Let's keep the conversation going!