Today’s interview is from Erica – a 5th grade teacher near Winchester, VA. Her husband, Todd, works at the same school, and together they are raising Thomas (who will be three in November) and expecting a baby girl in December. Welcome Erica!
1. What is your typical day like?
I try to wake up between 5:30 and 5:45 so I can get a workout in before Thomas wakes up. I try to do a 20-30 minute workout. Sometime Thomas wakes up before I am done, so he watches Netflix on the ipad while I finish up. Then it’s a quick breakfast, shower, etc. and out the door by 7:15. We typically all drive together. Thomas gets dropped off at daycare in the town we work in, so we get most of the car ride together to talk and sing. I teach all subjects throughout the day and after school lets out at 3, I stay for about another hour-hour and a half grading, lesson planning, etc. I try really hard to be out of there by 4:30, which gets us home, after picking Thomas up, at around 5. We usually then get dinner together and pack lunches for the next day. Thomas loves to help me in the kitchen, so he enjoys doing things like mixing stuff for dinner, putting things in our lunch boxes and emptying the dishwasher… that is a great help! Dinner is usually between5:30 and 6. After dinner it’s play time until around 7 or 7:15. We do bath every other night, so that helps us have more play time. We do Bible story, books and hugs and kisses and Thomas is in bed between 7:30 and 7:45. Then Todd and I usually do some housework or watch TV until it’s our bedtime at about 9:30 or 10.
2. Why do you work?
I work because financially we can’t afford for me not to. However, I also generally like my work and enjoy teaching. I was one of the rare people who found maternity leave to be hard because I missed the social interaction I was so used to. If I could stay home, I probably would, but at the same time, there are days during the summer or on weekends/breaks, when I can NOT imagine staying home full time. I really always wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom, but I find that being a teacher helps me have both experiences.
3. What is the best/hardest thing about being a working mom?
Best – Getting out of the house and having social interaction every day. Also, feeling like I am making an impact on lives other than just my own child’s. I spend more time with my students than their parents spend with them, or than I spend with my child, and I like to think that I am helping to shape them into adults just like I would do with my own child. (Absolutely! Such good perspective.)
Worst – Missing the time with my own child. I wish I had more time with Thomas because I know his childhood is going to pass by very quickly. However, he is in a daycare where I know the staff loves him and he loves them, too, so that helps a lot.
4. What advice do I have to help “make it work?”
1. I don’t know how women do it without a supportive mate! My husband is a TREMENDOUS help in every aspect. We split chores and work around the house and he is so wonderful about making sure I still get “me” time by going out with friends or doing church things every once in awhile.
2. Freezer meals and crockpot! We plan out our menu a month at a time and do one day of mega freezer meal prep. This makes it SO much easier when we get home from work. We don’t have to figure out what is for dinner… At most, we just have to make some side dishes or veggies to go with whatever is in the crockpot or a casserole that we’ll bake. (I WISH I was better at meal prep and having things in the freezer, but I don’t know what I would do without the crockpot!)
3. Even though I stay at school later than I am required, I bring almost NOTHING home with me. This makes it a lot easier to turn off the teacher switch and go into mom/wife/home mode. I put in my hours at work so that when I am home, I can really just enjoy it! (This has always been key for me too!)
5. What encouragement, scripture, etc. has been important in your life and might be meaningful to another working mom?
I think it is so important to not let guilt get to you, whether you’re stay-at-home or working mom! It isn’t healthy or productive AT ALL. Neither is playing the comparison game. I try really hard to just be content at the season of life God has placed me. Does this always mean I am happy and never feel frustrated/stressed? Heck no! But I know that I have the support of my God and my family and friends to get me through whatever life throws at me! I also try to remember that 1 Corinthians 31 says to do “ALL things for the glory of God.” That means in my working life and my mommy life! (Great verse! Thanks for sharing!)