“Any transition is easier if you believe in yourself and your talent.” ~Priyanka Chopra
The transition from winter to spring is one of my favorite times of the year (minus the thick layer of yellow pollen it comes with; sneeze, cough, sniffle). Trees that shed their beautiful gold, orange, and red leaves in the fall are budding and emerging with new, brilliant green leaves and flowers. Plants that have been dormant all winter are slowly emerging with new growth. Even plants we were certain were gone with the freezing temperatures, are sprouting tender shoots. Temperatures are rising and the chance of a “cold snap” are slowly diminishing. As Mother Nature stretches, yawns, and slowly reawakens, I find myself doing the same.
Transitions are a part of life, they encourage us to stretch and grow in ways we have never imagined. Some transitions are welcome, planned, expected; while others send you into a tail-spin, speeding towards a great abyss. Some can suddenly twist and send you down unexpected pathways that meander about with no clear destination.
After 20 years in the classroom, teaching and caring for other’s children, I’ve been set on a clear path of motherhood as a stay-at-home-mom. This transition from teacher to mother has been challenging for me. Becoming a mother is something I wanted for as long as I can remember, I had no idea the switch from teacher to mother would be one so difficult. Even after my son was born, I tried to keep my mind on things happening at school, trying to keep up with my colleagues and their lives, but found that our schedules were no longer in sync. I thought I’d use my time away from the school to develop some fun activities and read more children’s literature, but quickly found that my time was consumed by a little one. I’ve been the one putting up roadblocks in my own path to embrace this spectacular transition…
For twenty years, I spent my days in the classroom; imparting knowledge, encouragement, and hopefully some inspiration to my students. My summers were spent in professional development classes, or reading professional development books and articles. My inner circle of friends are also my colleagues. We shared a common bond, had similar experiences and could empathize when relaying about particularly difficult days, students, parents, etc. And now I’ve traded it all in to become a mom…a very lucky stay-at-home mom! There are no clear schedules, no deadlines to meet, no ‘problem’ student to try and figure out. I’ve traded lesson plans and grading for food prep and laundry, figuring out that working with small groups to reading and playing and snuggling with my toddler. And I love it, except that it’s so foreign to me.
What a blessing to be able to spend my days watching my little one explore and take on the challenges of the world around him, and what an immense challenge it can be at the same time. The life as a stay-at-home-mom is both rewarding and overwhelming simultaneously, and has been the biggest transition in my life, thus far. I love that I’m able to be with my son every day. That if we want to take a trip to the park, or travel with my husband on a business trip, we can. If he’s tired or needing a slow start to his day, I can accommodate that. I know I shouldn’t, but I worry what people will think if they come to my door and find the house in complete disarray, maybe I should put up a sign that says, “Sorry, the house is a mess, a toddler lives here…” I find myself cramming in things that are not toddler friendly into the short span of his naptime: the household & my husband’s business accounting, sorting through paperwork, making phone calls, organizing and scanning in pictures and documents, writing this blog… I haven’t found my ‘rhythm’ yet, balancing motherhood, and running the household, are there other moms that do the same? Teaching was natural for me, each year, while the students coming in presented different challenges, our routines rarely changed, it was easy to settle in and dive into our learning. It’s taken me a couple of years to settle in to this new found role, and I’m not certain that I’m there yet, but I’m stretching myself and reawakening to this new and exciting time.
When it comes to transitions, maybe I need to look no further than my own child and the transitions he’s stepping through. From infancy to the toddler stage, things flow, much like the season changes between spring and summer. You anxiously wait for the big milestones: holding their head up, rolling over, crawling, and their first steps. And then they turn two. They don’t call it the terrible two’s because they have terrible eating habits, although they do (today’s lunch was a plain tortilla, that’s all he would eat). Rather, you can’t reason with a two- year old, they can’t clearly communicate with you, and they are completely fearless. Coming from the parent’s perspective it can be a trying time, as I pull my daredevil son down from the countertop for the millionth time this week. Each day is a new day to him, he starts fresh, with no pre-conceived agenda, perhaps I need to approach this change in life the same way.
Mother Nature makes transitions look so easy, the days slowly warm up, the flowers and trees sprout and bud. It’s time I took some notes from nature, and instead of fighting the times of great transitions, just breath, stretch and embrace this amazing life change. The wonderful thing about times of transition is that they are a work in progress. Each day, I need to readjust and change based on my experiences and strive for balance and remember to get out of my own way and embrace the new world I am in.
“A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you are in and take advantage of it.” ~Nikki Giovanni