My Worries as a “Teacher Mom”

My biggest kid is starting school next year.  (Here in Mexico kids start around age three in preschool.)   I have been a little concerned about something, and tonight I decided to write about it:

What if my kid is worse than I think?  What if she isn’t always the person I see her be, and she morphs into a school monster?  (Some kids are totally different in the privacy of their own home…) What if I can’t see how she really is through my mom-blindness?

This is seriously worries me.

I think mom-blindness is a real thing.  It doesn’t matter how big your kid gets; once they engage in an altercation with someone, the mama bear emerges with claws blazing.  Sometimes we think bears only attack when provoked.  That’s where the expression comes from, right?  It’s the don’t-pick-on-my-baby response that every mom has.  

That’s all fine and dandy, but guess what?  This morning I read about a guy who was attacked in his tent while he was asleep.  When they recovered his possessions, everything was chewed to bits.  With no true cause, the bear attacked a man and all the inanimate objects in his tent.

What if I am a mama bear when I shouldn’t be?  Like, maybe MY kid is at fault and not the other person sometimes.  

I have tried to explain to daycare some of Ale’s “quirks.”  She doesn’t talk until she’s comfortable.  She is fully potty-trained, so I can’t explain why she doesn’t tell you she needs to go.  She didn’t have a sibling until three months past, so maybe that is why she doesn’t share.  But what if all of these are just excuses, and my kid is just that kid with a crazy teacher mom.

What if I make too many excuses for my child’s behavior because of mom-blindness?

I am making it my purpose to be less subjective.  I will try to take a step back and consider my kid’s potential for misbehavior when analyzing what other people say.  I will try to see the situation through their eyes.  I will try to see past my innate love for my child, to see the real her (faults and all).  Then, I will love her anyway.

An ex’s mom told me that once: “We don’t always like what our kids do, but we still love them.”  I understand that better now than ever before.

So, I will love her.  But I don’t want my love to ever enable her misbehavior to continue.  I want to be able to correct my child and love her at the same time.  And I want eyes that see clearly through it all.

  

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Until You Have Your Own…

i love you

When I was a young teacher starting out in education, I heard something that struck a nerve.  One teacher commented on how having her own children changed her as a teacher.  “Until you have your own children, you won’t understand what it is like.”  Around the same time, a friend said having her own kids made her a better teacher.  What? Unthinkable.

In student teaching, my mentor in kindergarten told me to always treat the children like they were my own.  She told me this after a little boy came up crying at recess.  She gave him a little hug, some encouragement, and sent him back to play more.  I thought I did a pretty good job treating the kids like they were my own: I was tough and fussed a lot, but I always loved on them when they walked in the door too.  Once I had my own classroom, I remember some parents being concerned, because I was a young teacher.  They questioned me often on decisions I would make regarding discipline, and I didn’t understand then, but I do now.

The thing is, no matter how much someone loves your kid, they will never love her the same or as much as you!  Parents get this.  And once you have kids, you will be able to understand why parents are as crazy as they are.

Last week Ale started daycare across the street from my school.  She was excited to ride the bus and go to school.  She was excited to have new friends.  She was excited to get treats at the end of the day before heading by home.   But the tears upon pick-up about did me in.  In five days of school, three of them she had accidents. The other two days she didn’t use the bathroom.  All day.  For seven hours.

I started thinking about how it feels as a mom.  When we see that someone else is spending the whole day with our babies, and they are unhappy, it makes us hurt inside.  It makes us suspicious.  It makes us question what happens when we aren’t watching.  And more than anything, it makes us wish for a change for our children that would bring happiness back around.  I have sat in conferences when moms have said their children didn’t want to come to school, and while it is somewhat concerning, I always felt that it was more their problem than my own.  Until having children.  After Ale was born, my perspective changed; why were they unhappy? What happened? What did I do? What could I do differently?

We (parents) just need reassurance that someone will love our kids as much as we do.  Yes, we know that is impossible.  But that’s what we look for when we turn over our most precious cargo into your hands.  Just love them.  Hold them when they cry.  Assure them that all will be okay.  Kiss their boo-boos.  Hold their hands.  Let them tell you about their days without shushing them.  Don’t lose patience when they don’t understand or speak a different language.  Allow them to ask questions and explore.  Make them feel safe–safe enough to tell you what they tell us.  Safe enough to tell you about bullies.  Safe enough to tell you they don’t like the book you’re reading.  Safe enough to interrupt.  Safe enough to receive your correction when they do without getting scared.

Just love our babies.

And when someone tells you that having your own children will change you as a teacher, don’t get offended.  It’s the truth.