Dear Teacher Mom in December
How are ya holdin’ up, Momma?
It’s December. Mid December.
Which means that you might have glitter and flour in your hair right now.
But that shower will have to wait because you have 37 items on your to do list for tonight alone. And I’m willing to bet that ZERO of those items involve taking care of yourself.
I see you. And I feel you.
I mean, if Teacher Moms (and Teacher Dads, of course) wear invisible super hero capes during the rest of the year, during December, those capes should pretty much have blinking lights and a button that plays “I Will Survive” every time you put it on.
I see you in a panic, writing sub plans in the wee hours of the morning so that you can care for your sick daughter the next day.
I see you dropping your son at daycare, fighting back tears as you listen to him cry, “no go to work today, Momma.”
I see you staying extra late after school to hang lights in your classroom and make final touches to student gifts, maybe even wrapping each one or writing a heartfelt message to each child.
I see you stopping by Walmart on your way home with your cranky toddler in tow, picking up Christmas crafting supplies for your students to make gifts for their parents and baking supplies for a class project. (Hence the inevitable glitter and flour in your hair.)
I see you picking up an extra winter coat for a child in your class who doesn’t have one to bring home over the cold winter break.
I see you wide awake late at night, worrying about that same student and praying he got home safe that day.
I see you scrambling to throw together dinner for your family because you forgot to switch on the crock pot that morning.
I see you resorting to go out to a “nice family dinner” instead, resulting in your son behaving like this:
I see you taking a deep breath, trying not to lose your patience with your own children after being oh-so-patient with your 23 little ones all day long.
I see you rewashing that load of laundry in the washer from two days ago.
I see you reading the fourth bedtime book with your kids in your lap, yawning as you sing their favorite lullabies.
I see you with that giant stack of ungraded papers on your lap, wondering if you’ll ever find the bottom.
I see you finally laying in bed, so exhausted that you can barely move, closing your eyes and dozing off, then cursing under your breath when you remember that you still need to hide the Elf on the Shelf.
I see you regretting to your core, that you even started doing Elf on the Shelf in the first place.
I see you spending your winter break desperately trying to catch up on grades and finish averaging report cards.
Late night shopping for stocking stuffers and furiously wrapping gifts.
Busy, Busy, Busy.
Stressed, Stressed, Stressed.
I feel you, Momma. I’m right there with you.
And I’m not gonna tell you to stop trying to do it all, because I know we don’t know how to do this whole Teacher Mom life any other way.
I just have a few reminders for you.
I’ve mentioned before that both Teaching and Parenting are just a “tad” important in the grand scheme of life.
On some days, I’m convinced that the world might actually stop turning if I took a day “off,” even though I know that’s far from the truth.
The difference you make in the world is immeasurable, and that’s exactly why it’s so exhausting and all-consuming.
For the rest of their lives, your students will remember you. And your babies at home (whether they’re still babies or not) will always cherish those sick days, late night stories and lullabies.
If it weren’t so difficult, everyone could do it.
You are NEEDED. You are APPRECIATED. You are BLESSED.
Just when you feel yourself imploding with stress and exhaustion and holiday “drama,” take a deep breath and put things in perspective.
Pray for your childhood friend whose mother is fighting cancer.
Pray for your former teaching teammate who just tragically lost her husband with two little ones at home.
Pray for your friend who has premature newborn twins and a toddler to juggle at Christmastime.
Pray for your friend who longs so badly to be a momma and is struggling to adopt a baby of her own.
Pray for other families who are fighting far bigger battles than your own.
And a final reminder, as we get wrapped up in the boxes and bows and gingerbread houses and Elf on the Shelf shenanigans.
Focus on what really matters.
Yes, all the holiday stuff can be fun and magical and even memorable for your kiddos.
But the true blessing is being surrounded by those we love, and those who love us.
Merry Christmas, Teacher Mommas. Winter Break is almost here. We’ve got this.