Thursday, September 12, 2013

Domestic Enemies of the Teacher Mom

I love, love, love teachers and all they do for my kids. So I was super excited when Annie sent me this post. What's it like to be a teacher *and* a mom? Let her tell you all about it:


I think of myself as Annie, but only about six people in my life call me that.  The rest call me “Mrs. G” or “Mamamamamamamamamama!  Help!”  I spend my days raising one two-year-old and approximately 80 12-year-olds, and I spend my nights fighting crime grading papers drinking really crappy pink wine.  

Double the school germs, double the funk
It’s hard to find nannies (without criminal records) who are willing to work for $4 an hour and all the secondhand apple-themed kitsch they can carry, so most of us teachers put our kids in daycare.  And there’s always the crusty-nosed daycare kid who’s been “fever free for twenty four hours” thanks to hourly doses of Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and voodoo chicken bones/exorcism. And when your two-year-old is convinced that he’s a puppy and likes to explore interesting new colors, textures, and friends by licking them, you know that little plague monkey has just spread the love to your whole family.

Meanwhile, at “big school,” it is a mathematical fact (I teach English, btw) that at some point a kid will come up to you and say, “I don’t feel good.  I threw up in Social Studies.”  And it is a scientific surety that she will tell you this at the end of class.  After you high-fived her for her awesome test grade.  And made her spit her disease-laced Bubblicious into the palm of your hand.  Spoiler alert – she also has pinkeye.

Field Trips
I know.  Other people travel for work, too.  Like, real travel.  To hotels with bars, where you don’t have to share a roomful of bunk beds with fourteen seventh grade girls.  Believe me, Real Work Travelers, my heart bleeds for you.  But here’s the thing about field trips.  Say there’s an emergency at daycare and the thing-that-turned-out-not-to-be-a-raisin that your kid ate off the floor makes a sudden reappearance.  You can’t leave the Waste Processing Plant or whatever educational adventure because you’re on a flippin’ school bus!  Also, if other people leave a business trip early, chances are their colleagues/clients won’t take advantage of their absence by having unprotected sex and then setting things on fire.  That’s not the case here.  

Kids’ Names
In my lighter (drunker) moments, I like to think about having another kid someday, but I’m not sure that’s an option.  And not because somehow I make less money with every passing year (although that’s true, too.)  It’s because after eight years teaching, there are no good names left.  I always liked the name Katie.  Unfortunately, I can no longer think of that name without recalling the butt crack of the girl in the front row third period who insisted on wearing super low rise jeans.  Every.  Single.  Day.  I don’t want to look at my beautiful newborn baby and have to visualize Katie’s coin slot every time I lovingly whisper her name.

Parents who lack boundaries
Really, Mrs. Davis?  After I tell you I’m reading my sick two-year-old a bedtime story, you still want to discuss Kaylee’s essay grade?  Tell ya what; you look on Wikipedia, find the paper she printed out word for word (with the links still in blue) and read over it.  I’ll get back to Goodnight Moon, ‘kay?

Personal lack of boundaries
I know there are teachers who have never stayed up at night worrying about Karina’s body image or how to sensitively, caringly, suggest to Kyle that he might be at an age where deodorant is worth considering.  But I don’t think I work with any of those people.  It’s constant and it’s exhausting, and it makes you feel guilty as hell on one hand for neglecting your own kid, and on the other for being able to give him a life that some of your students can only dream of.  Wine helps.  But you have to drive across county lines to buy it so none of your students will see you strolling down the booze aisle.  (I once went to the store for beer and tampons and came home with Spanish rice and a personal-sized watermelon.  And don’t even think about looking for a bra at Target!)

The Fear
Shootings.  Tornadoes.  Schmidt happens.  And when it does, you are responsible for twenty children, and not a one of them shares your DNA.  Given the amount of work I need to get done every day, it’s truly impressive how much time I devote to planning what I’ll do if someone bombs the CDC while I’m at school.  At the end of the day, I’m responsible for the safety and well-being of other people’s children.  My own kid will have to fend for himself.  We spend our summers working on ninja skills, just in case.  And speaking of summers…

“At least you get the summer off!”
Well, yes.  Sort of.  When I’m not tutoring or nannying or teaching summer school.  And yes, all that time with my kid is awesome.  For, like, twenty minutes a day.  Then it’s got all the struggles of being a stay-at-home mom, plus constant reminders that you’re bad at it and you’re completely unfamiliar with your child’s schedule.  If you’re lucky enough to have a verbal child, he will also remind you that you suck by whining every morning that he wants to go to daycare.  Because DAYCARE is better than Mommy.

Political crossfire
Education’s kind of a charged topic, which sucks.  For the record, I don’t make six figures.  Unions aren’t recognized in my state, so I’m not in one.  I can totally be fired without cause (although, let’s face it, with cause is way more likely).  I’m not the demon teacher some people seem to think.
I’m not a saint, either.  I don’t just teach “because I care.”  I mean, yes, I care.  But I’ve also gotten attached to having nice things.  Like food.  And shoes for my kid.  And a base model Toyota Corolla.  Basically, I’ve never cheated on a standardized test or embezzled any taxpayer money.  But I’m pretty sure I said “bullshit” in front of a student last year, and a time or two I’ve pulled the, “Oh, no, Johan, I can’t find your paper!” when really I spilled wine on it.

Teaching and parenting are fun.  They’re exhausting, especially when attempted concurrently.  Some of us would say they’re holy work.  All I’m saying is, after you’ve given birth to a ten-pound baby, sometimes you dream about jobs where you don’t have to wait until 5th period planning to go pee.  That’s all.

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013


  1. This. is. awesome.
    "Spoiler alert-she also has pink eye" you made me laugh/snort so hard it HURT. I hold you accountable for any medical injury that occurred during said snort riddled laughter.

  2. Thanks for a morning giggle, before I send my kids off to school:) PS. We ❤ Teacher's!

  3. As the child of teachers, and the sister (and sister-in-law) of teachers, this was both hilarious and spot-on.

    Tho' am I the only one who noticed that all but one of the classroom kid names started with a K? :D

  4. YES YES YES! I am also a mom and teacher, although a substitute teacher on maternity leave right now. I am not cut out to be a stay at home mom, so more power to those of you who are.

    I'd also like to add "I may have nodded off during the staff meeting, but when you ask about it, I'll claim to have heard it all, because I was up 6 times last night with my teething 16 month old who also has a cold"

  5. I'm a teacher and a mom of a two year old, also. I could not possibly agree with you more.

  6. I once had to return some essays to my college students with blood from my 3 year old's late night nosebleed dripped on them. "Losing" them would have totally showed up in my evaluations, but NO one wanted to talk about the blood...

  7. My husband is currently going to school to become a teacher. I am showing him this when he gets home...and I'm going to have that next baby before he starts teaching, lol.

  8. Every time I read something like this, I am intensely grateful that I left the Education track at college after the first semester when I realized just how much BS I'd have to deal with. I'm a good teacher, but I am NOT cut out for the school system in this country. Or for struggling to make a living in one of the most important (and strangely least appreciated) careers in the US.

  9. Love! And absolutely true! I have so many names that I can't use for my own kids, and I have to try really hard not to prejudge my friends' kids just because they have been given names that I associate with unpleasant things.

  10. Thanks for the reminder. I try not to be Mrs. Davis, calling at bedtime - or calling at all, but it's nice to be reminded that it's not all about me/my kid.

  11. And she's not even a Kindergarten teacher parenting a 5yo. Leaving K to go home to K is like the inner realm of inner peace hell.

  12. This is one of the greatest, funniest things I've ever read. And she's equally as funny in real life- I know because she's my sister. I get to hear this hilarity on a daily basis! Jealous? Yeah, you should be, she's awesome.

    1. She sounds awesome! And I'm jealous that she has a sweet sister like you!

  13. i was thinking the same exact thing today!! i wonder what its like to have a job where you can go pee whenever you want. must be nice!!

  14. My parents are both teachers and somehow managed to name seven of us...I personally think that might have been more of an act of God than our arrival, since yeah, they totally have the "nope, that name is done forever" problem :D.

  15. I loved this! True story--every single word!!

  16. Ha, ha, ha, ha!!! I am a mom of two middle schoolers and a teacher (recently switched to part-time) and own a home business. My worlds are overlapping a bit heavily right now. Thanks for bringing the humor into it -- you hit on so many truths! :)

  17. My favorite irritation is mom wanting to know Why precious Johnny isn't passing class. Although the answer SHOULD be "Well Mrs Smith, if john wouldn't come to school baked out of his mind, he might be able to do his math." It sounds more like "if johnny only applied himself...of course I'm not blaming him, I think he's a bright boy. As long a he applies no no Mr.s Smith, I don't think you're a bad mom. As I was saying, as long as he...yes, I do realize your sister's son's baseball coach's dad is on the school board...Mrs Smith, I will engage your son more often. He will do better."
    Why cave? Because there are 70 other parents waiting to talk about their child and I need to get on to the next meeting. Just maybe this next parent believes in personal responsibility because I might lose my Schmidt at the next Mrs. Smith!

  18. I am a high school teacher, single mom of an amazing 5 year old who just started Kindergarten! Thank you for telling the world what I have known everyday for the last 5 years- we are amazing! You did forget the part about giving up your prep everyday to take said 5 year old to and from daycare to kindergarten because the buses won't pick up and drop off without a parent present...ya that's fun...

  19. I so live this everyday....and it's a miracle we could come up with 3 boys' names that didn't make me think of someone else.

  20. As a fellow teacher and mom, I think you hit it spot on. My latest favorite challenge is that my twins are currently only one year younger than the students I teach. So I spend all day trying to remain calm in a class of first graders, only to walk out of my classroom and down the hall to pick-up my 2 kindergartners, who attend the school that I teach at. It is lovely to be able to steal quick hugs at recess, but it also means that I literally get 60 seconds to decompress from work before dealing with my own two kids. Yikes!

  21. Hilarious and so true!

  22. Loved the part about naming your kids. Luckily mine are older. As I approach two decades I don't think I could have a kid simply because there are no names left. And Amanda - me too... because of the pick up bell I occasionally have my own kids in my room before the students that ride the bus leave my room.

  23. Yep. Yep. Yep.
    You nailed it. I'm a kindergarten teacher in a low income school. I work my butt off to provide fun after school opportunities for kids who won't get that otherwise because their parents can't pay. Then after that I go home to my 6 year old and my 2 year old. Exhausted doesn't even begin to explain it. But - I love it. I feel crazy guilty that I put so much effort into other people's kids though. I feel like whatever I give someone else's kid I should do that plus more for my own. Don't think that's ever really going to happen. But once I get all of my lesson plans done, grading done, all of the meetings attended, my masters degree finished, and all of the bills paid, I'll get right on that!

  24. We absolutely went on a field trip to a Waste Processing Plant. It was as gross as it sounds.

  25. Someone should write a 'Domestic Enemies of the Daycare Lady Mom'. Because that life is crazy! ;)

  26. I was a teacher for 13 years before having children. I taught high school, so I estimate the number of students I taught during that time was well over 1500. So, yeah, I totally get the name problem. My husband would bring up a name and I'd say, "Honey, have you ever KNOWN a [fill in the blank]?" I just now realized that I never had a student with any of my children's names. Coincidence? I think not. Actually, I would have named my daughter Katie, as it was my favorite name from the time I was a child. I even had Katies as students, but they were okay kids so I was still for it. Unfortunately, my husband had a Great-Aunt Kate who meowed like a cat at the dinner table when she got old, so that nixed that name.

  27. Enjoyed it very much. Thanks. Sadly, it's all too true.

  28. Thank you for the laughs. I do love my job and am blessed with a great school in a great district. But I so understand the feelings stated. There is never any down time and I feel that my own children suffer at times. Both of my children bear no names that I have actually taught....until this year. Here he came-trouble on the move and of course has the same name as my son. We plan-God laughs. I will seek the lesson given and know that it will be okay in the end.

  29. Loved this so much! I've recently become a teacher-stepmom, and I know it's not quite the same, but this rings so true in many ways. I had to share on my Monday Mash-Up:

  30. I am a special ed teacher and when i was pregnant I dealt with highly aggressive and very involved kiddos, so yes you can imagine all of the names I had to cross off of my list! Almost a year ago I switched to preschool special ed, 2 x a week and one Friday a month. I no longer get my full summers off, but some nice breaks. Let me tell you that this summer was one of the better ones I have had with my 2 kiddos in awhile. Getting that break from them was fine. I am not cut out to be a full time Mom! I am bow down to those Moms that can do it
    full time and those of you that homeschool, oh my goodness you are amazing.




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