Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Mommy Track - Working Moms

One of the great delights in my life is having my daughter-in-law teaching with me at Chets Creek. Like so many of our young teacher moms at the Creek, she has just taken maternity leave with her second child. She returned to teaching TODAY! Today - in the pouring down rain she walked into school with her three year old on one arm and her three month old in a carrier on her other arm. Hanging off every spare space on her body was "stuff" - extra diapers, wet ones, a packed diaper bag, the three year olds' lunch, a large black pack with an electric pump, her own handbag and who knows what else. She looked drenched and exhausted just getting everything in and then out of the car and then driving in the traffic across town with two little ones in the pouring down rain!

She met her sitter at school under the grayest sky and drenching rain. She put both her car seats in the sitter's car - all of that before her day even started! Her husband, my son, like so many dads, is unavailable. Wes plays AAA baseball with the Atlanta Braves so he left for Spring training in February. Randi has basically been a single mom since then. Working full time and all the responsibilities of being a mom fall squarely on her shoulders.

As the day ended - after meeting with her new second grade team all day - my grandchildren were delivered back to school by the sitter. With the rain storming and the wind whipping Randi put both kids in the car with all their "stuff." She had asked me to bring the extra car seat base for the infant carrier, but of course, I had forgotten, so while she waited in the car with the kids, I drove home to get the base. We hadn't really gotten all the car seats down for the new baby, but I pulled the first base I saw from a high shelf and drove back to school. As I watched the rain run down Randi's face and drip drop off the ends of her hair, she put the base in her car and then the infant carrier - didn't fit - wrong base! So back home again to find the right base but there wasn't another one, so I brought back an infant carrier from the garage - surely it would fit the new base. No such luck! So while the baby cried and I tried to sing away the stress with the three year old - Rain, Rain, go away Come again another day - Randi went inside the school to get the base from the sitter - once again in the rain. I watched as she moved infant carriers and bases and made room for the new ones, holding onto the baby and soothing the three year old all at once. I noticed how the rain was fogging up the windows or was it from all our hot air inside? As Randi FINALLY got the right carrier in the right base, she realized she would have to stop to get gas before she could get on the road. What next? All this and she still had to go across town in the traffic - did I say it was raining?

I guess I'm writing this because I so admire the young women at my school, especially my daughter-in-law, who teach the children of this generation while trying to make sure that they offer quality to their own families. It is a difficult struggle - a constant juggling act - to work full time and to try to be supermom - or at least not to be cranky mom. I'm sure Randi was EXHAUSTED when she finally got home today with her hungry and very tried children, but she, like all the rest, will come back tomorrow. She will stand at the door after dropping her own children with the sitter and give each child in her class a smile and hug and be truly glad to see them. I think she realizes that the children she teaches, as well as the children she gave birth to, are her legacy. I stand with great respect and in sheer admiration.


Suzanne said...

Like you, I admire the working moms--both those that teach in our building and the working moms of our students. Just think, a few years from now when Randi gets home, gets the kids out of the car, cooks dinner, feeds them, and gives them their bath, she'll also have to sit with each of them to do their homework! (Sorry, couldn't help that one...seems like a suiting post after the homework post.) :)

Mrs. Lauren Skipper said...

Welcome back Randi!! Know that you are not alone:)

Mrs. Cheryl Dillard said...

I am sure Randi never stopped smiling through it all. There are many mornings when we (working moms) have a full day before we even get to school and begin our work day. Your kind and uplifting words make me proud to be a working mom. I think I can now make it through the next 11 days.

Anonymous said...

That post made me cry. You and Randi both are wonderful moms; and the support you and your husband give to your son's family is what I aspire to give Breon's family when he has one. I love reading your blog - keep writing, cause I'll be reading!

H. Alvarado said...

I think Randi is the person who is closest to my situation with two children, almost the same ages and a traveling husband. I always worried when I was pregnant with my first child if I would be an okay mom and a great teacher or an okay teacher and a great mom! Well.. I would hope that people would say that I was both a great teacher and a great mom! I think it is very comparable to having enough love for two or three children, you always have enough love to go around. For me, I look at it as having one set of patience and energy for my kids at school and a completely different set for my own children. That... and surrounding yourself with positive people and treasuring each day---It's all worth it!!!! I think that Randi takes on that same perspective and that makes her an amazing mom and teacher!

Anonymous said...

I too have great admiration for working moms. But don't forget the working fathers who often fulfill the same roles. My wife travels with her job and I have a 7 year old and a 2 year old. I say that not for sympathy, but for 2 reasons. 1, I admire and respect the effort that working moms put forward (especially single moms). 2, There are a few dads who do some of the same things. We're just not as good at juggling as mothers are. :-)