Posted in Motherhood, Random Thoughts, Teaching, Uncategorized

On Being a Mother and a Teacher

Sorry about being away for so long…not that it was super noticeable. Such is the life of a mother, I suppose. I came down with a pretty bad cold, and then ended up on Spring Break…and that meant taking care of the Goober. Now I’m back on track and ready to write more about stuff and things!

Today’s thoughts come from a conversation that my students were having yesterday. They are often times some of the most insightful people I have in my life, surprising me at the most interesting moments. Yesterday was no exception.

So, I had given my students an assignment to simply write about their Spring Break. I know it wasn’t particularly interesting, but when you’re coming back from a long break, often times a simple, “Hey, we’re back here and we have work to do” assignment works best. My students were in various phases of their work. Some of them had thrown themselves into the writing, and others, per usual, were spending their time talking with someone next to them. They’re Juniors, I get it.

All of a sudden, one of my students pipes up with some random commentary. I’ll try to do her justice in my recollection of what she said.

“Mrs. A? Can I just talk for a minute? As I was writing, I had a thought. I’m almost an adult. I’m 16 years old. Soon, I’m going to be out of my house, going to be away from my family. Mrs. A…I’m scared. I don’t want to leave my mother! I just want to spend time with her. I think I realized that over spring break…I just wanted to be with her and spend time with her. And it makes me sad and scared to think that soon, I won’t be able to do that.”

Now, my students don’t normally talk a lot about their families, and when they do, I almost never get thoughts like these. Most of the time, it’s “Ugh, my mother is so annoying. She got mad at me over nothing!” But this…this conversation left me with a lot of thoughts. I listened to the rest of the class talk with her about their own thoughts on the matter, and it made my eyes tear up.

I think that part of it is again my newfound motherhood. That and my own connection with my own mother. It’s amazing how in hindsight we see things with such clarity. And it’s amazing how this one student sees with clarity right now how her relationship with her own mother is going to change.

While not everyone has a great relationship with their parents, seeing that they still exist makes my heart warm. We all go through growing pains with our parents, but knowing that time with them is precious is a valuable lesson to learn. Hearing that some of my students appreciate their parents gives me hope.

Do any of you remember having that feeling at any point? Are there any memories of your parents that you’d like to share? I look forward to seeing it in the comments!

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Posted in Motherhood, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

Easter Shennanigans

And I’m back from my weekend hiatus! It was a long weekend for sure, but one that I enjoyed quite a bit.

Friday, when I got out of work, I went out with my mother, sister, and R to Toys R Us because they were having a fabulous sale on toys for the baby. BOGO Free on VTech and Fisher Price toys. My son is spoiled. That’s all I have to say.

The rest of my evening was spent at home with the baby and the husband. Didn’t do anything too ridiculous. I knew we were going to have a long weekend, and besides, we usually save all of our running around for Saturday and Sunday anyway.

Saturday was a fiasco. We decided to procrastinate and wait until the last minute to get the baby’s Easter pictures done. So we made a trek up to Bass Pro Shops and figured we’d have his picture taken there, since they give you one for free. We got there about noon, and got a ticket for pictures at 2. We proceeded to kill some time and buy some food we didn’t need. Hubby decided to spring for a jar of Habanero jellybeans. More power to him. They’ll go in with the Beanboozled jellybeans he already has at work. Glad I’m not one of his co-workers.

We still had more time to kill by the end of that run, so we headed over to Target as well. I don’t know if I need to say this, but we’re a bit Target obsessed in my family. Seriously, we are at Target at least once a week. I don’t know why, as we don’t really NEED a whole lot of stuff from there…although we always end up getting something. This trip resulted in me picking up a copy of Omega Ruby for the 3DS. I might get around to writing a review on that a bit later. It’s been a bit since I sat down and played a Pokemon game.

When we got back to Bass, it was right around 1:30 pm, and so we got in line for the pictures. Bubba was happy to look at the other babies in line, and was generally in a good mood, which makes me feel good. It took them until about 2:30 to start letting the 2:00 picture people go through the line, which stunk, but R took a cute picture, making him look a whole lot smaller than I think he is. Then, to top it all off, we couldn’t buy the package with the pictures because they ran out of ink in their printer. How do you not plan for this!? People with children are notorious for doing things last minute!

After that, we took a trip over to Best Buy and then Babies R Us where we picked up yet more toys for the baby. Again, my son is super spoiled.

Easter was probably the best day we’ve had in a while though. Everyone came over to my parents’ house, including my in-laws, and we all spent the day gabbing and eating and talking with the baby. I am extremely blessed to have married into a family that gets along with mine. Makes holidays a lot easier when we don’t have to split the time and can instead all get together.

R looked adorable in the two outfits we put him in. Had to change him out of his first outfit because he leaked through his diaper onto my leg. Oh joy of joys. It’s not motherhood until you’ve ended up with someone else’s bodily fluids all over you.

R made out like a bandit. I think he ended up getting 6 stuffed bunnies in his various baskets. Why a 4 month old needs so many stuffed animals, I will never know. He is pretty adorable when he smiles at them though.

And smile he did. It was a long day for him, and he passed out as soon as we got home, slept all night, and woke up bright and cheerful this morning.

So, why did I just regale you with this diatribe about my weekend? No reason. I just wanted to write something and didn’t have a sufficient topic, being as I spent all weekend running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have any ideas for future blogs. I’m going to give writing a mommy game review soon, and I’ll be starting with The Witcher 3, since that’s really been the only game I’ve had any time to play since R was born. I also picked up Life Is Strange this weekend, and I will be writing about that as well…I can’t stand Chloe (which I’m sure is an unpopular opinion).

With spring break fast approaching, I’m sure I’ll talk more about school and teaching, and I’m sure I’ll find time to talk more about being a mom and the day to day of hanging out with my son. Some of this is going to be rambly, but I like to think that perhaps it’s one of those things that fits in with my writing style.

Anywho, I’m out for now. Hope you all had a fantastic weekend, whether you celebrate Easter or Purim or whatever it is that you do or do not celebrate. Feel free to tell me about it in the comments!

 

~Aly, aka The Mommy Gamer

Posted in Motherhood, Random Thoughts, Teaching, Uncategorized

The Trials and Tribulations of Teaching

How’d you like that use of alliteration? Beautiful wasn’t it? I’m not an English teacher…nope. Not at all.

Anywho, I figure since I’ve written at length lately about my own child, it’s time that I wrote about something that isn’t R but my other children. My students.

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from college with a B.A. in English.

And much like our character, Princeton, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. It really did seem like a useless degree…and for the most part it was. I had gone into English because it was the one major that wasn’t going to take me an extra year to finish when I transferred majors from Theatre Education (Yes, I use the British spelling. Sue me). I suppose that deep down I always knew I was going to be a teacher in one way or another. But at that moment, I didn’t know how to get started…didn’t know what I needed to do, what classes I still needed to take, nothing. I was lost.

So I went to a job fair, and there I ran into an old teacher of mine. My old French teacher, actually. And I can’t continue this story without thanking her. Because at that job fair, she gave me the guidance that I so very needed, guidance that has enabled me to have the career that I have had for the past 11 years. Without her, who knows where I would be right now. Madame T told me about a program that the school system had, one where I would take some classes over the summer, get a job in the fall, and have a free Masters degree by the end of three years. I signed up, was accepted, and began my journey as a teacher.

And a long journey it has been. In my eleven years, I have learned so much, not only about myself, but about the people in the community I serve, about the strength of students. Things that you don’t ever think about until you see them with your own eyes.

I started out teaching English to 9th grade high school students. It was not the easiest place in the world to reach kids. I was also 21, and students saw me more as a peer than as an authority figure, so it made things even more difficult. But as time went on, I developed my own style of teaching and discipline, and I’ve managed to make it through eleven years without too much of a fuss.

I currently teach Creative Writing instead of English, and that was a task in and of itself. I had never taken a Creative Writing class, much less taught it before I was given this program. I have never had to learn something so quick! But these past four years have been the best four years of my teaching career.

Where was I going with this? I don’t even remember. I just know that thinking about my students and the career that I’ve had so far fills me with a sort of nostalgia that almost makes me cry.

I ran into a former student two nights ago at Walmart. I couldn’t remember his name, but I remembered his face, and he definitely remembered me. He told me how he and his high school girlfriend were still together, how they had a son, and how he remembered me and my class. I don’t think much about the impact I leave. Sometimes I doubt that I leave much of an impact at all. But gosh darnit, if he didn’t look so happy to see me, and the way that he spoke about my class…it was one of those moments that I suppose every teacher gets. Where they realize that even though they don’t always realize it, they’ve made a difference to someone.

I talk about being a mother as if it’s this wholly new experience for me. But I suppose it’s not. I’ve had over a thousand children. None of them were mine by blood or birth, but they’ve all been mine for the short period of time that I knew them. And even if I can’t remember names any more, I still remember faces. I remember that once upon a time, they were no more than a fifteen year old with wide eyes, and maybe an attitude problem. And years later, they have grown into adults and remember me too.

If I ever have a bad day at work, at least I can sit back and think about those moments and be thankful that I have them. Because some jobs don’t have that. Even when my teaching time is done, there will be some part of me that lives on through the lives of my students. And that thought is comforting.

 

~Aly, aka The Mommy Gamer

Posted in Motherhood, Uncategorized

The Age Old Mommy Debate

Let me say, I love being a mother. I love taking care of my son, I love watching him grow…labor and delivery wasn’t a cake walk, but I love what I have, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

But you know what I can’t stand? Other mothers. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. But it’s the truth. If you have ever stepped foot onto one of the ten million “mommy boards” online, you’ll maybe get a taste of what I’m talking about. It becomes a veritable pissing contest over who is the best mom.

“Oh, I breastfed my first baby from the time he was born until he left for college!”
“I’m going to do baby led weaning, but when I do, I just know I’m going to use all organic, non-GMO, gluten-free products.”
“I would NEVER feed my baby cereal!”
“If a mother doesn’t even TRY to breastfeed her infant, I consider her selfish.”

Those same comments go on and on, and are a frequent part of any trip to any board that claims it’s for moms. Now sure, not all women on these boards are like this. But the ones that are tend to be extremely vocal about it. And if you’re a first time mother, you can leave these places feeling like you’re the worst mother in the universe, instead of someone who is doing the best they can for their child.

I’m lucky that although I am a new mother, I have a wonderful support system around me. My mother and mother-in-law are both within a 30 minute driving distance, and they are both only a phone call away. So when I was making decisions about how to raise my son, I got a lot of input from both of them.

And I made a decision that has gotten me a lot of flak from the mothers in the community. I decided to Formula Feed from day one.

I’ve been judged. I’ve been called selfish. I’ve heard mothers extol at length the benefits of Breastfeeding, even for a few days. I mean, seriously, do these women not understand the inundation that most women get once they become pregnant? From your first appointment, the doctors tell you all of the benefits of breastfeeding. It’s not that I was ignorant of this information. But it wasn’t the choice for me.

I had a particularly difficult labor and delivery, complete with an episiotomy, which made recovery horrible. For at least the first day after delivery, I couldn’t get out of the hospital bed without immense pain. That meant that I wasn’t getting up to change or feed the baby. My husband did. And he was fantastic. And in order for him to share in that duty, we went with formula.

Another reason is that my milk never fully came in, and I didn’t really want it to come it. I was scared. And uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding. I know that it’s a natural thing, but coming from a family where it wasn’t done, just made me feel uncomfortable with the idea. Plus, I didn’t want to make a commitment I couldn’t keep. I had heard the horror stories of pain and sleepless nights…I know what kind of a person I am. If I had had to deal with that on top of my recovery, I would not have made it, and I know I would have felt guilty as a mother. A failure.

But you know what? I don’t need to justify my reasons to anyone. Why anyone feels the need to judge me for this, I will never understand. Does my baby get fed? Is he happy and healthy? Is he growing like he should? Yes, to all of these. R is four months old now, and weighs close to 18 lbs. He sleeps like a champ, from about 10pm until 8am. He’s happy and bright, is hitting his milestones, and has yet to be sick…AND I’ve brought him into the school where I work…twice.

Instead of making other women feel bad about their decisions, we need to work on building each other up. Motherhood is hard. Fulfilling. Rewarding. Magnificent. But friggin’ hard. I think it would be a lot easier if we had a support system of other mothers telling us that we’re doing what’s right for us and our babies, instead of making us feel like we’re inadequate.

Has anyone else experienced this judgement from other moms? Are you one of those mothers who judges others? Let me know in the comments! I look forward to hearing your stories!

 

~Aly, aka The Mommy Gamer