This post originally started with me wanting to write about reading time, but it has become so much more. By looking at how reading has changed in my life, it made me look at my life in general and how my identity is changing.
As a mom, I suddenly find my life turned upside down. Everyone warned me that when my little baby arrived, everything would change, but I thought, naively, that I was going to be that mom that could continue doing everything I did before AND be a fabulous mom. I pish-poshed everyone’s comments about how things would be different when I had the baby. But BOY were they right. Well… mostly.
Before Trent, I put almost all of my energy (outside of time spent with Jim) into education and reading (or blogging). I worked on PD, planning, or grading for probably 20+ hours a week at home. Any other free time I would read. My husband would go to bed, and I would read for hours. I was on Twitter all of the time talking to educators and authors. But it was all for me. I loved every minute of it because I love education and books so much. I prided myself in being knowledgeable–someone that other teachers could go to for help and guidance, and someone that could recommend books to ANYONE. I always had the newest books and knew about what was popular with teens/middle schoolers at all times. Because I love my profession so much, I made sure to put as much energy into being the best teacher I could be.
Things started to shift a bit when I was pregnant. I had a very hard time reading and thinking during the whole pregnancy. I was also very tired! I physically and mentally couldn’t put the energy into anything that I had before pregnancy. But I kept saying it would all come back when I had Trent.
And then my amazing son arrived. I cannot really explain the way that my mind has switched. I still love education. I would never imagine not being a teacher, but my heart and soul were stolen by this sweet, little boy. All of a sudden, I don’t want to do anything but be with him. All of the time. But there is a part of me that needs what I used to have. I need that identity next to being a mom. This is where the pull within me is happening. I am now a mom. But a mom that is an educator, professional, and reader. How do I balance all of this? Can I truly be all of them and put enough into each so that I am succeeding at all of them? As I get used to being back at work, I am seeing that the answer is YES, but it will be different than before.
It is going to be hard
I have to realize that it is going to take some time to figure this out and that it is going to be hard. Very hard. I may feel like I am not caught up with anything, but that it is okay. It will all work out. Eventually. I have to work really hard at not feeling guilty about these changes, and instead embrace the change.
Work is staying more at work
In the past, I could be reached at any time via email, but I have now taken my work email off of my phone. I also will not be able to stay at work until 5 or 6pm every day. That doesn’t mean I don’t care! It just means that I am needed at home, and when I am at home, I have to give time to my family. Now, if I do bring work home, it is going to have to happen after bedtime or on the weekends though this takes away from reading and blogging time.
Reading may have to be scheduled and may not happen
I have found myself going days without reading. On these days, I really missing reading. But I was finding days were just getting away from me. Because of this, I have talked to my husband about trying to make a schedule so that at least 4 days a week I will get time just to read. Although this isn’t daily like I had before motherhood, it is a positive start. This may mean that I don’t get to read as much as I used to, but at least it allows me to keep reading a priority in my life. But I have to realize that sometimes reading will have to be pushed to the side for family time or because of a sick kid or to do work. This is a hard realization, but it is the truth. As long as I consciously keep reading in my life, it will always be there.
Reading may look different
But I have to remember that I AM still reading every day, but my books of choice are now often picture books that I am reading to Trent. Before I used to look at books through the eyes of my students, but now I also look at books through the eyes of my son. I now not only want to keep up with books for YA and MG but for younger kids as well so that I know my son reads the best books. (Book shopping has just gotten a lot more expensive! Though, I have found a new love of the public library because of the price of picture books.)
I just have to keep telling myself that I can still be a great mom and teacher and blogger and sister and daughter and…, but that it just might be different. I need to stop apologizing for how my life has changed. It is an amazing life, and I will continue to be able to do everything I love. And that, like Tim Gunn says, I’ll “make it work!”