Transitions…No, Not the Lenses
Yesterday I wrote about my work putting together classroom libraries. And many of you wrote saying things such as, “Seriously, woman, what the heck are you doing these days??” Perhaps not in those words, but I hear you loud and clear. I have been a bit vague on that front.
I’m vague because it’s hard.
I find change to be difficult. Overwhelming. Holy-shit-I-have-to-make-a-list-right-now-before-I-have-a-full-blown-panic-attack hard. Okay, maybe not change itself, but the transition part that comes in between. That is what sends me into a tizzy. (Can you tell I’m desperately trying to clean up my language? A resolution I may soon abandon.)
I wrote about leaving the classroom and how devastating it was to realize that I wouldn’t have a group of friends smiling at me every morning and really, without that, a huge chunk of who I am felt like it was just gone. (And for what it’s worth, I received an overwhelming amount of support from all of you that I can never thank you enough for.)
Last year I threw myself into finishing my dissertation, writing, staying up to date on education news and ripping it to shreds on the blog, thinking about what the heck I was going to do next and, oh right. And having a baby.
So. Many. Transitions.
Right before Mini Mimi came along, I was given the fabulous opportunity to work with an amazing group of people as a literacy consultant. I get to think about curriculum, see a million different classrooms, build relationships with teachers who are excited about growing, work with children who are excited about their learning and think with a group of women who I have grown to admire and aspire to.
Pretty sweet, right?
But, oh! The transitioning! Learning how to balance being a mommy, figuring out a new job, finishing up the old dissertation (yes, it is still lurking), finding time to blog, and every once in a while have time for myself or Mr. Mimi has rocked my high heeled wearing self to my very core.
So much re-prioritizing, so much transitioning, so much list making.
I am feeling much more like myself these days. (Um, only took me what? FIVE MONTHS to get my shit together?) But there are always days when I feel so scattered and pulled in a million directions that I’d like to take Mini Mimi and just lay down.
Now it’s less about transitioning into a set of new roles and more about transitioning from role to role during the course of a week. Leaving Mini Mimi to go to a school makes me feel physically ill. Like someone cut my leg off or something. I spend the entire drive trying to talk myself off the ledge and psych myself up for the day – because if I’m going to be away from her, I’ve got to make it count, right?
Then I get to the school, jump in and find myself actively thinking how lucky I am. I love my work. It’s challenging, yes (Cut to me putting Band Aids on my ten ho-jillion paper cuts after endlessly dotting book after book after book…I know, I’m still trying to get over it). But I am so engaged in my work that when it’s time to go, I find the transition just as difficult. I spend the drive home with my mind racing about next steps, what I need to get done after bedtime and trying to transition back into being mommy.
And yesterday, I realized. It’s not all the change. It’s the transition that’s hard. The in between time when I have to leave one thing I leave to dive in with something else that I love but feels so very different and comes with a whole new set of demands and challenges.
Are all you parents out there just shaking your heads and thinking, “We told you this would happen?”
Anyway, thanks for letting me vent. Time to take off my Mrs. Mimi hat and put on my mommy hat.
(Again, what’s with me and the hat references?)
Let’s try this – off to take off Mrs. Mimi’s fabulous heels and rock my mommy flats. (Yea, I said flats. I know, change is hard.)
I'm glad that you're loving what you're doing, even if you're being pulled in a million different directions. I'm jealous of the staff that gets you as a consultant!
I love you Mrs. Mimi and I know it's hard and totally get the transition issues. I think every mom does. SMOOCHES to you. xoxo
PS- flats can totally rock 😉
I think what you're feeling is completely normal. You'll just have to find rituals that help you make that transition. For example, the ritual of changing from work clothes to home clothes puts me in a different frame of mind. In the car on the way to work I begin thinking about my school day. It is hard, I know. But it does get a little easier. Take it one day at a time.
Oh. My. Goodness. I'm the same as you. I take the longest time to transition to new things, and it's always very emotional. For example- Christmas break. Not a huge transition. But I cry. Evey time. When I get home for break, when I leave from break, when I get back to my apartment in the city. I cry.
This year has been tough. The getting engaged, the graduating school, the looking for a job. Ugh.
Just remember- this'll be normal for you in no time! Keep loving what you're doing, and give yourself time, when you need it, to just go and take Mini and lay down in bed.
Transitions are always hard…we know that by watching our students struggle with them. Why would it be anything different for us.
Change is inevitable.
It's hard to run in a million different directions with fabulous heels, so flats are the obvious choice. You are figuring it out, and it that's what counts. I worked part-time for 20 years (who knew it would last that long?), but I did it so I was the one who raised my son – not a babysitter. Family first, but don't forget to take time for you, otherwise you're no good to anyone. Do I sound OLD?! Whatever….you know what I mean.
Do you think you'll ever go back into the classroom? Your blog totally still rocks, but I miss your funny stories. 🙁 I'm also always sad for the world when we lose good teachers.
I'm still in the classroom and have two kids. They have a wonderful woman watching them while I'm at work, but it breaks my heart each and every day. When they are sick- I feel so torn. I should make that phone call, stay home, and know they always come first. But PSSA, early dismissals for snow, 4Sight testing, or any of a million others things race through my mind and cause me to feel torn. I go to work thinking of my kids and hoping for the minute I can rush home. I am home thinking of the million things I need to do for work. I feel like both jobs are too hard to do at the same time. I fail as mommy. I fail as teacher. I fail as wife. Most of the time I just feel like I fail.
Oh, Mrs. Mimi, you are a perfectly normal, FABULOUS mom who's transitioning just fine – even if it feels all wonky. I spent the first several years of teaching feeling like I didn't belong in heels, flats, slippers, or even flip flops. I just couldn't shake the feeling that I was in the wrong place no matter where I was. But when I IN these places, they felt right. It was during the drive between them that I had to turn up the Rolling Stones or NPR to forget that I don't know what shoes I'm supposed to put on.
It'll come, really. (Not that I'm an expert, but with a 7 and 11 year old, plus a geriatric beagle/shepherd mix, and a husband (who is not geriatric, nor a shepherd), I feel like I'm finally living happily in my loafers — at school. My slippers at home. My flip flops on summer vacation. Barefoot at taekwondo. Just keep on. Mini Mimi will appreciate you for being a mommy, a teacher consultant, and a writer far more than she'll settle for you NOT following your calling.
Helen's Book Blog
You're right, transitions are difficult, especially when one of those is an adorable baby. I hope that as mini Mimi gets older it will get easier on you. Try to take the time in the car (is that where the transitions happen?) to consciously transition. Half the drive to think about what you are leaving, then the rest to think about life and where you're going. Sounds anal? Yep, it is. But, it might help 🙂
In addition to Mrs. Mimi's post, I really appreciate all the comments. I often wonder about starting a "teachers who are trying to rock as teachers AND moms" support group so we can all feel "completely normal," as someone said. Sometimes I feel wimpy admitting I'm overwhelmed by it all (and so in fear of failing everywhere, as Pam said.) So, thanks to all who've replied! 🙂
Challenging? Always. Rewarding? Also always…
I love this job, too.
In regard to what you wrote here:"Now it's less about transitioning into a set of new roles and more about transitioning from role to role during the course of a week. Leaving Mini Mimi to go to a school makes me feel physically ill. Like someone cut my leg off or something. I spend the entire drive trying to talk myself off the ledge and psych myself up for the day – because if I'm going to be away from her, I've got to make it count, right?" It is probably very similar to how our kiddos feel each day in the classroom as we shift from one task/activity/subject to another. No wonder transitions are one of the most difficult pieces of management we experience each school day!
In regard to this part that you wrote "Now it's less about transitioning into a set of new roles and more about transitioning from role to role during the course of a week. Leaving Mini Mimi to go to a school makes me feel physically ill. Like someone cut my leg off or something. I spend the entire drive trying to talk myself off the ledge and psych myself up for the day – because if I'm going to be away from her, I've got to make it count, right? ? I;m thinking,m probably not much differetn than our classroom kiddos feel as we transist from one task. activity/subject to another each day in the classroom. No wonder transisitons are one of the most difficult mangement pieces we all deal with every day!
I just found your blog! Thanks for sharing your heart.
This year, I am back in the kindergarten classroom (LOVE!), but I found the first few months exhausting; 4 children, a husband, laundry/cooking/shopping/etc, are always waiting for my attention!
Listening to books on CD, for the drive home, as helped me make a smooth transition between school and home. 🙂