Back-to-School: Part 3 -The reality

Mom guilt. It’s a real problem of mine. The sense of impending doom of having to go back to work in a week along with the guilt of not being able to be there 100% for my kids has really got me in a slump lately.  Don’t get me wrong, I do actually really like my job (most days), I love teaching (in between anecdotes) and I love my students (well, most of them). I also happen to think it is really important for moms to have another purpose to identify with other than “mom”. BUT with my son starting kindergarten, I can’t help but think about all the field trips and volunteer opportunities I’ll miss out on because I have to be at my own school every day, committed to my students. And then there’s my daughter. She just turned two and will be spending her days with my Mom while I’m at work. I am soooo thankful that my mom is able to take care of my kids while I work. The bond my son has with her now because of their days together is one I know he will always cherish and depend on as he grows up. I know my daughter will develop the same special bond with my mom this year. My mom has signed her up for all kinds of play groups, I know she is going to have so much fun (my daughter too haha).

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Like most things in life, the key is to find balance and I’m not sure anyone has ever really figured out the perfect formula for working moms because well, it’s complicated. Some days you’re a rock star teacher, other days you’re mom-of-the-year; it will very rarely – if not ever happen that you will ace both jobs on the same day. And if you do then please, celebrate that with a glass of champagne, dinner out, a trip to the spa, shopping spree, sleeping in on Sunday, whatever way you can, just celebrate that ’cause that is a HUGE victory.

I’m no expert but I think the key to a work/life balance is to adopt a “don’t sweat the small stuff” attitude. If you can do this then I’d say you’re half-way there. When your kids’ school Halloween party happens to be the same week that you have a big deadline at work, know that his class will not be getting fancy homemade decorated cupcakes that look like creepy monsters. It is OK to just grab a bag of peanut-free Halloween treats from the grocery store and call it a day. They’re kids after-all, they’re not going to look at the Skittles in their hand and say “awww man, I wish this was a double-chocolate cupcake with buttercream frosting dyed green with candy eye balls and a licorice smile.” And if a kid did dare say such a thing, then just know his/her own mother clearly has far too much time on her hands (or maybe she just has a cleaning lady).

To help me cope with having to go back to school and leaving my kids for the day again I have been trying my best to make the most of the last of our summer holidays. The other day my husband took our son and his neighbour friends to our camper for a boys day/night. They had so much fun swimming and playing on the beach all day and telling funny stories around the bonfire at night. Meanwhile, my daughter and I decided to have a little girls night at home. We had a picnic dinner in the family room with mini PB&J sandwiches, popcorn, apple  and cucumber slices with a few other goodies while we watched Disney princess movies. Between movies we treated ourselves to pedicures (by yours truly) and now have matching red toes, though she will tell you they’re “purple”. (…still working on our colours)

There’s a few more activities I would like to do with the kids over the next week but also have to remind myself that we need to start getting back into a routine with things like lunch time, baths and bed time. I predict September to be a loooong month of struggling back into a routine, not just for the kids, mostly for myself haha!

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