Thursday, July 14, 2011

A balancing act

Just a warning - I'm just back from a long walk in which I've had a lot of time to think about what I want to say in this blog post.  Therefore you are about to read words that are straight from my heart and you are about to see the inter-workings of my mind over the past 4 months.  It may be long, so just bare with me.

Moving on..

I was a cheerleader in high school.  I was the one that they threw up in the air and held me in obscure positions high off the ground for way too long.  Being a flyer meant you had to have good balance.  Let's just say, I did not.  I got better with practice but still, as a senior, I struggled.  Everything had to be perfectly in order for me to stay up in a pyramid for a mere 10 seconds.  I mean hands had to be placed on my foot/feet perfectly or all you know what would break loose.  The one time something was out of place, that was it, I came flailing to the ground and prayed that my bases would catch me and that I would not break another back spot's nose (which really happened...more than once...woops). 

Throughout my life I have noticed that this cheerleading story is kind of like an ever present representation of my ability to balance things, people, or tasks in my life.  If too many tasks are at hand I struggle to find a way to balance them.  If too many people are needing my attention or help I get overwhelmed at the thought of distributing my time evenly (which is kind of ironic considering I'm a teacher and this is a MAJOR part of my job).  I can multitask, but I find it hard to balance my attention when doing so.  Balancing and I just aren't friends.  Never have been.  When I was in elementary school my teachers would always check the box on my report card that said "uses time wisely".  And by check, it means I didn't do case there's any confusion.  Ha!  I think my lack of time management was due to my constant need to socialize instead of focusing on school work.  I couldn't balance both things and therefore, I get the check and the ever dreaded parent lecture.  Side-note: I'm sure Kason is looking forward to those lectures. :)

So you might understand my great anxiety when I think about going back to teaching and balancing my career with being a mom and a wife and a daughter and a sister and a friend...the list goes on.  But my main fear is balancing being a mommy with being a teacher.  Why is this so hard to grasp?  Well because I'm new at both of these things.  I've only been a mom for 4 months and a teacher for 1.5 years.  Insert stress here.  So over the past few months I've been praying and thinking about what this balance would look like.

When I got pregnant one of the main reasons that I was so upset about the timing was the fact that I would most likely not be able to stay home with my baby.  This was a dream crusher at the time and I really struggled with it.  My mom stayed home until I was a sophomore in high school and I loved the experiences I had with her and my sisters.  Because of this I always wanted to stay home when I had kids.  I never really gave it a second thought, I just thought it would work out.  When I got pregnant (almost a year ago to date) I realized my dream might be flying out the window, and that was hard.  Financially, it would be hard for me to stay home since Kason was going to arrive a bit earlier than we had planned.  I kind of put the thought of what August 2011 would look like on the back burner and tried to enjoy my pregnancy.  I continued in this state of "not facing my feelings" up until about 2 months ago.

August was only a couple of months away and I had a decision to make.  Would I leave a job I love and stay home or would I continue to teach and somehow find a way to balance it all.  I prayed and prayed about this.  And when I say I prayed I mean you can page thru my prayer journal and I mention this decision in about every entry.  God slowly showed me what I was supposed to do, in the most subtle ways of course.  I decided I would continue teaching.  It would be hard, probably one of the hardest things I've done, but it's what I want to do.

After I made this decision I of course went into a mindset that I would be missing out on Kason's life.  What if I miss his first words?  What if I miss his first steps?  Next, there were the thoughts about my job. What if I'm not a good teacher because I'm worried about how Kason is at home?  What if I'm crabby towards my students because I'm so exhausted from working and being a mom.  I could go on and on.  There will always be the what ifs.  But I have decided is that I will stop thinking what if, and start learning how to balance being the best mom AND the best teacher I can be.  I honestly think this will teach me more discipline and organization.  It will teach me to use every ounce of my prep to prepare for the next school day, so that I can go home to my baby and leave thoughts of school at school.  It will teach me to truly cherish the hours in a day I have with Kason.  It will teach me to be more organized and to use my time wisely (this would make all my elementary school teachers proud:))  I will give both jobs my all.

I still struggle daily with the thought of going back to work.  The first day back will be rough and I'm sure I'll shed a few tears.  That being said, I am looking forward to going back to teaching.  I'm excited to meet my new class for next year and to meet the 25-30 students I have prayed for this summer.  I absolutely love teaching and would miss it greatly if I left.  I know there will be days when I wish I was with Kason, but that's okay.  I'm doing what's best for my family and that is what I keep saying over and over again in my head.  This is what I want to do right now and it's what works for us.  I'm at peace with this because it is a decision I made (with the help of my wonderful husband and of course, God).  I will always be a mommy first and a teacher second, that will never change.

I want to end this post by saying how grateful I am for my job.  I have such a supportive staff (including another new mom/teacher) that will be 100% supportive towards me.  I love the students I work with and work hard at being a positive adult influence in their lives.  I have family and friends who will (and already have been) be supportive and for that I am so thankful.  Teaching really is the best job for a mom.  The school I teach at is on a really great schedule where we go for 9 weeks and then have 2 weeks off.  This will give me lots of breaks with Kason as well as 2 months in the summer.  I've never been a teacher for the time off, but I do love this schedule! :)  Duane's mom was a teacher while he was growing up and he told me the other day that he has so many memories of spending time with his mom in the summer.  He doesn't remember her working while he was at his grandparents, he remembers the fun memories he had with her while she was home.  That is what I hope and pray Kason remembers.

Thanks for listening.  I would appreciate any prayers come July 28 (first teacher day).  

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)


  1. You CAN do it!! You CAN balance it :) I promise and later you will have hundreds of students who will always remember Mrs. Gibbs, who loved them the way their mama did!! And you will have a son (and maybe more children later) who will always remember a mom who did a great job balancing work and home!! Seriously praying for you.... I have been there/am there every day, every August, and coming back from every break! Being a teacher is a wonderful job for a mommy :) (I am kind of biased.... just a bit!!)

  2. Oh sweetie, I WILL pray for you! I love that you've exposed your heart and your thoughts through this 'journey' on your blog! An isn't, though... a JOURNEY? I have no doubt, especially because I know you'll be conscious of it constantly, that you'll be a wonderful wife, mom AND teacher at the same time. You will. Kel, it's okay if the pendulum swings one direction one day, and the other direction the next... Wayne Cordeiro (pastor in Hawaii) and Andy Stanley (pastor in Atlanta) have written excellent books on managing job and family... email me if you want more info. Meanwhile, your friend in Maryland will be praying for you! Love you girl!