It was in the fall of 2006 that I learned the meaning of the word flexibility. That I learned how to truly be a “team player.” I guess you could say, “Everything I needed to learn about life, I learned in Kindergarten.” But you see, since you know I’m in my 30s… it wasn’t the first time around in Kindergarten that taught me the most. I learned a lot from Mrs. Smith, mind you. I learned the importance of communication, I learned how to read, and I learned how to make and keep friends. I learned how to determine a true friend from a surface friend, and so much more. Those are important life skills. But it was the day that our principal sat us down and said those fateful words… someone was going to have to switch from 2nd grade to Kindergarten. The decision had been made for her because “only one of you is Early Childhood certified.” My world began to crumble around me. Having desired to teach older kids, 2nd grade had been a mental leap for me. Kindergarten? Kindergarten would teach me everything I needed to know about life. And much, much more.
That first year in Kindergarten would set me on a course for the rest of my life. I would learn valuable lessons that year that I find myself using over and over with my own kids. Lessons about flexibility, and setting priorities, that I still pull from today as I struggle to keep all the frisbees spinning atop those long, spindly sticks… sometimes I feel like a circus act. Trying to entertain, keep everyone happy… and make money in the process. It’s a challenge. And I learned enough from that first year in Kindergarten to know that I’m not done learning. Every single day my kids and my clients teach me new things about myself, and about life in this big wide world. I think that the day I finally know everything will be the day that I walk through Heaven’s gates. Because here on this Earth, there’s just always something new.
I had a sweet little girl in my class named C. She was kinda big and bumbly, and she taught me that the best way to remove an old metal soap dispenser top from the finger it’s stuck around is with dental floss. She taught me that hunger doesn’t always look the same in every kid. And she tested my patience to no end. I had a sweet little boy in my class named Ch. He taught me what pain looks like and the importance of Mommy and Daddy fighting to stay together, not fighting against each other. I had a little fighter named K. He taught me that pain can come in so many different forms, and can lash out in anger trying to be tough and disguise itself. He also taught me the importance of making sure my son knows that it’s not ok to pee in the sandbox on the playground. (yup, seriously ya’ll) I had a little boy named M. He taught me the importance of never giving up. And that a drop of honey goes MUCH farther than a gallon of vinegar. He taught me how to carefully peel back the layers of an onion until finally I can reach the heart. I had a little girl named P. She taught me to look for determination inside and encourage it – and foster a love of learning even if it’s not visible at the beginning. She taught me that it’s not about milestones reached, but rather the striving to GET to the milestone that matters. I had a little girl named N. She taught me that no matter how hard I try, there will be some people in my life that I just can’t change. And when I come across them, I need to learn to appreciate their strengths and not focus on their weaknesses. Because if I focus on their weaknesses, I’ll only bring out my own.
So you see, I learned so many valuable lessons from those kids. They taught me truly everything I needed to know about life. Twenty four little angels, who didn’t always act like angels. They wore my patience through to its raveled end every. single. day. And I swore I’d never teach Kindergarten again. HA! Little did I know. I’d end up teaching several different Kindergarten classes before the end of my teaching career, and I’d end up teaching my own 2 year old much of that same kindergarten curriculum. You see, all that I learned from them I am learning all over again as a mom of a highly gifted child. Patience, flexibility, and that whole thing about a drop of honey going father than a gallon of vinegar? Yeah, I’m learning that one all over again too.
But the new thing I’m learning daily as a mom of two who works from home is how to set and tackle my priorities. Let me tell you – that is the biggest lesson I’m learning. How to juggle my “career” as a mom and housewife with my career of being a travel agent. I WANT to be successful at both things. I want to be the BEST at both things. Have I had to lower my standards on the “housewife” part of the resume? You bet. But have I had to compromise who I am and what I believe in in the process? NO. I’ve just had to realize that getting laundry processed through is a three day process. By the time it all gets folded and then put away, it’s time to wash again. But that’s ok. It’s ok for dishes to sit in the sink a couple days. I try to rinse them off so they don’t stink. I try to wipe down my counters every day. I try to pick up and tidy our items daily and we’re teaching the kids to pick up and tidy their items daily. I try to vacuum as frequently as is possible, realizing that it’s not going to be every day, or even every week. Our house might not be the most deeply cleaned house in the world (ok, ok, so it’s FAR from it!), but we keep it tidy. Everything has a place. And it goes in its place. That is a priority. When I let it get out of control, I start struggling with being depressed and feeling physically ill. There’s just something wonderful about setting a timer for ten minutes and diving in and straightening things up.
So that’s a priority.
Work is a priority. My career has to take a front seat in my life. Which is hard in today’s modern vehicles. I’d like to think I’m in an old reliable Ford pickup truck with a bench seat – there’s room for family AND career in the front. All the baggage just gets tossed in the back. It’s hard to maintain that priority, but it’s important to me to offer fabulous customer service, and to keep happy clients coming back for more vacation planning in the future. I means so much to me when people come back, and/or when they send their friends to me. That says I’ve made a difference in their life in some small way, and that is just incredible. It also keeps supporting our family in a small financial way, and it makes me feel like I’m making a difference in our family as well.
So that’s definitely a priority.
But the beauty of working from home is that my number one priority can be my kids. It’s a challenge to have one who still prefers to nap two hours, and one who can sleep 20-45 mins and be good to go for the rest of the day. When do I fit the work priority in? Well, there’s the flexibility. Being a work at home mom is HARD. It’s probably the most challenging undertaking I’ve ever taken on. But I’m determined to meet my kids where they are, while meeting my clients where they are. Do I always succeed? No. But the amazing thing is that I’m starting to see my kids catching on to the flexibility part of having a mom that works from home. Gray is content to play by himself while I work. (A true blessing that is really a requirement if you’re gonna be living in this house… Mommy can NOT play with you for three hours while your sister naps and plays in her room.) He’s learning that he really can entertain himself. Becca has learned how to entertain herself in her room, and loves room time. While some moms would love to have some time to themselves but struggle to get their kids to understand, it’s a priority around here. It HAS to happen, so that my work priorities can be met. I’ve had to be flexible to change my work hours around when they are able to nap and play, and sometimes it involves me getting up early and working, and/or working after they go to bed.
But it’s a priority. And I’ve had to figure out how to be flexible enough to fit it in.
That’s honestly part of why I haven’t had a whole lot of time to blog recently. With getting ready for the big consignment sale that I help with each spring and fall, and work, and kids, and housework… well, I had to throw the blog in a bag in the back of the truck for a while. I’m seriously hoping to be able to pull it back into the front of the truck with me and have some more “me” time in the mornings with my coffee before the kids wake up. I love blogging. It’s a fabulous outlet for my emotions as well as for all the wonderful activities that we do together that hopefully inspire you and your kids. It’s not something I plan to ever quit, but I sure to appreciate YOUR being flexible as my readers and understanding that I may not have as much time to be posting on my Facebook Page or writing here some weeks.. and that’s a good indication that my priorities of family and work have shoved the blog back to the back of the truck again. And I hope as parents you can appreciate that.
I’m looking for more parents to share their hearts here – about struggles, victories, and anything in between! Would you like to share? Contact me today!