I had a meeting today with a family who I feel very connected to. I can’t always say that about all of my families but I feel very connected to this one in particular. There’s a lot of pushback because of the nature of circumstances, but I feel like they get me and I get them. But importantly we get their son and we love him with every ounce of us. As a special education teacher, there are so many kids going in and out of your life and you often think if you’re even making a difference. You give, give, give all day long. And I’m not talking about academic lessons, lesson plans etc. I’m talking about pouring your heart and soul out to these kids who need love the most. Teaching about how to cope in real life, how to deal with conflict resolution, etc. These are the kind of kids that don’t have a lot of confidence. They don’t know how to make friends, they don’t know how to advocate for themselves, they don’t know how to love themselves or others, they don’t know how to communicate their needs appropriately, and they don’t know how to make mistakes. These are the kids that connect to you if they feel safe and they feel like they can trust you. These are the kids that take every ounce out of you. So when you go home to your two babies that love you and need you the most you, especially after you’ve been gone all day, you feel like your tank is completely empty. I feel guilty and tired and done. And when you have a husband who is not in the same field , It’s difficult for him to grasp the concept of how much you actually give of yourself to these kids. And if you know me, I don’t do this for the money or because it’s my job. I feel connected to these kids at a different level. It’s like we have the same energy’s and they understand that I am there for them. I might get hit or kicked or bit- even get a chair thrown at me, but at the end of the day ( kind of like motherhood), you’re it. You’re there school mom. I will never ever ever forget this mother looking at me right through my soul asking me to love her son as if he was my own. Those words pierced me so hard. I knew that I already did but as a teacher you tend to get burnt out. You tend to read files that say red flag red flag red flag. You tend to judge the kids that are coming up to the next grade because their files are 100 pages long. You start to dread the year because you don’t know what to expect, because you see that there’s aggression and work refusal daily. Then there’s escalation of behaviors because they don’t know who you are and you’re trying to establish a relationship. All while you are trying to juggle parenthood. Not only are you trying to establish a relationship with the student but also the parents. And with my personality and my sensitivity as my superpower, I tend to get very attached to both the kids and the parents. I was meant to be a teacher. I was meant to be a mom. I didn’t feel like I was ever meant to have to choose. So yes at the end of the day I am exhausted, but I am trying to find the balance. I feel like I have no more mom friends in my tribe because we are all so busy and get wrapped up in the chaos of our own lives. Not all my friends are teachers. Not all my friends are moms. And that’s okay.
I am that teacher that never gets a gift. And the teacher who never truly gets recognized because I’m just the teacher in a self contained room with behaviors. But I will tell you I love them wholeheartedly and sometimes they use my whole gas tank and I feel so bad for my own kids because I tend to be such a bad mom at the end of the day. I know I’m not. I’m human.
I see you. I love you. I got you. And just like I teach you all, it’s okay to have bad moments. It’s okay to step away and breathe. It’s okay to lose your cool for a minute. We are human. We are built off love. I’m sorry if I snap and my gas tank is empty. I’m sorry I gave my students more of me than you. I’m sorry I took 7 sick days in one month. My kids needed me. Don’t ever give up on your dreams. You got this. You can and you will. You have made me a better mom.
Dear Juliana and Hudson,
Bear with me. I see you. I always see you and I always got you. I’m sorry if mommy yells at you right after daycare because I haven’t had a second to even sit down and eat without anyone asking for me. I am working for you. I’m sorry I gave you spaghettios a few nights in a row. I’m sorry if I shrugged you off. I love you and you have made me a better teacher and a better mom- even through my faults. I am a different teacher because of you- I have different eyes because of you… better eyes. You guys are my hero’s. Please don’t give up on me and please don’t stop saying mama 50 times in a row. I hear you and I am your mama. I will be better. I promise. These are are trenches right now and I secretly want to be in them forever. Juggling all of this is overwhelming and I know you see that, but it won’t last forever. Juggling all these feelings will because I love hard.
I have learned more this year- being a teacher and a mom of 2 than any masters degree or bachelors degree than I thought possible. This right here is life- and I’m head over heels with it. I’m tired, exhausted and burnt out- but you all keep me going every single day. I was meant to be here in this moment.
So I’m sorry if sometimes I’m a better teacher than a better mom, but I hope someday you will have the same heart and soul- where you love hard. I hope you can always look up to me. I know I need to be mom at home and teacher at work and I am learning, just like you.