First, all moms are superheroes. It doesn’t matter how you became a mom; adoption, fostering, natural birth, C-section, planned, or unplanned. You are a superhero. It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom, working mom, homeschooling mom, or room mom. You are a superhero.
This is a letter to working moms, specifically, teacher moms.
For three years, I secretly assumed and judged things I didn’t understand. My heart was hardened toward coworkers I thought weren’t giving their all to their job. I didn’t understand their lives and where their hearts were. “I’ll never be like that,” I thought, “I’ll be able to do it all when it comes time”. WELP. Here I am y’all; I’m on my knees begging you to forgive the judgments I’d placed on you. I was fifty shades of WRONG.
I thought coming back to work would be easy. I believed that I could compartmentalize my heart and mind to be the best teacher I could be, then pick up my baby and be “mommy does it all”. LOL. Like my life would be the exact same with a tiny human in it?
I didn’t understand how a heart can be torn so completely in two. I didn’t understand that as soon as a little life is in your world, everything else comes second without you even thinking about it. Here is my “I’m sorry”.
I’m sorry I didn’t understand. Lots of moms are late to work. I used to think “Oh my goodness, just wake up 10 minutes earlier”. Now I know, it doesn’t matter how early you wake up. When your kid takes 30 minutes to finish her bottle or has a major blowout on your way out the door, your timeline is screwed. You weren’t lazy, you were being a mom. So much of motherhood is out of our control, and I’m sorry I didn’t understand that.
I’m sorry I questioned your commitments. When the fall festival or Christmas carnival came around and you didn’t jump at the opportunity to volunteer your time or money, I would wonder why these events weren’t more important to you. I didn’t know that these events fell at bedtime and having a routine is super important for a family, especially when you have to be functional the next day. I didn’t realize how much diapers, clothes, and baby things cost. No wonder your forehead wrinkled every time it came time to donate money to another staff member’s birthday or event. The most important thing was providing for your family, not buying donuts or balloons for another event.
I’m sorry I didn’t think that you had room in your heart for students and your kids. Before I had Winifred, my students were my whole life. I thought they were “my kids” and I couldn’t imagine what would happen when I had a kid of my own. How could I love my students AND my baby as much as I wanted to? Teacher moms, you do it every day. Your heart was twice as big as mine. You learned to love you students and give them what they needed, then go home and love your own children with a fierceness I never knew of. That takes the most gentle and brave of women, to show nothing but compassion and love all day long. To “deal” with children during the school day and go home to MORE children was something I didn’t think I could handle. You guys showed me how to do that with such grace. Thank you.
I’m sorry I didn’t know how valuable your weekends were!! When you didn’t want to take work home or didn’t answer our teacher texts on the weekends, I was confused. “Your baby naps right?”, “Don’t you want your lessons to be cute and engaging”. These are the thoughts that would go through my mind. I didn’t understand that every moment of the weekend is precious with your baby on the weekends. You want to soak in each second you can spend with your child while you aren’t at work. Bringing work home is something you just don’t want to do when you have a beautiful baby to stare at! Your lessons are just as engaging with or without the cutesy-ness. Also naps, what are those?? LOL.
I didn’t understand how incredibly hardworking and strong you are. I didn’t understand that you were SO tired and overwhelmed, but you came to work anyway, ready to rock and roll. I didn’t understand how easy it was to put your baby first and to follow your mother’s intuition. I didn’t understand how huge your heart had to be and how stretched thin you must have been.
I have learned my lesson in the most humbling of ways. You have NO clue what another mother is going through or what she is doing to take care of her baby. We are all moms and we’re all just trying to do our best. I pinky promise, I will never again judge another mother in a situation I know nothing about.
So, to all the moms I’ve judged before: thank you for showing me what being a superhero looks like.