I am a preschool teacher getting ready to go back to work full time after a blissful seven months of maternity leave. I love teaching, but at the same time wish I had more time to be at home. I am struggling with all of the feelings that go along with this, anticipating how much I will miss my baby, and being so sad that our special time together is coming to an end.
At several points during my leave, people have asked me, “How will you feel taking care of other people’s children when you’d rather be taking care of your own?” My answer has always been, “Of course I will be sad and miss my baby, but teaching and mothering are not the same thing. My students don’t need me to be their mama, they need me to be their teacher.”
I don’t know if this mindset will feel true or help at all once I am actually back, but it’s been one of the ways I’ve been trying to grapple with this transition. My questions are for the mamas who are also early childhood educators. How did you feel going back to the classroom — what was it like to go from caring for your baby full time to giving your attention to other children? How do you balance these two parts of yourself? — Amy