Happy Monday! I’m excited to introduce you to today’s working mama of the week because she is a friend of mine! Maureen’s daughter is a year and a half older than Caroline and I turned to her blog when it came time to start introducing solids to Caroline. She also helped me to remember how to sew and brought us a delicious bean chili right after Caroline was born. Take it away, Maureen!
Children: Serafina, 2
Occupation: High School Dean and History Teacher
Full Time or Part Time: Full Time
Work Location: I commute to an office
Where to Find Maureen
How do you find time for everything you need to do? What falls off your radar?
To be honest, during the school year I keep things simple. My job requires 60-70 hours a week, and some of this has to occur at home. For this reason, we turn down many social commitments and keep life simple. Goals are small, so that we can spend time as a family. We are never too ambitious with our schedule, and find that everyone is a happier when we live that way.
It can be embarrassing, but the top two things that fall off my radar are thank you notes and deep cleaning the house. I feel awful about both, but it is really hard to explain how exhausting teaching can be. I turn into a zombie in the evenings. I just remind myself that nobody is perfect.
Describe your childcare arrangement.
Serafina attends a very nice daycare downtown, near my school. We have felt really comfortable with the school since the moment we left her there. Serafina started going at 6 months and has just thrived. The daycare turns into a preschool, where she is getting a curriculum, including music and gym classes. I really credit the school with helping her develop into an independent leaner.
What does the word balance mean to you?
Understanding that life is more than checking things off your list. Life is about the time you spend with loved ones. Sometimes, especially when I have a student in crisis, it is very hard for me to strike a balance between work and home. However, I make sure that I make it up to my family by structuring quiet time with Serafina and my husband.
What is your best time saving tip?
We pack our bags at night, don’t tolerate debate in the morning, and eat our breakfast in the car. I have to be out the door by 7:00 am, but we try to give her as much sleep as possible, so we have to get Serafina ready in ten minutes. We can’t afford a tantrum in the morning. When she gets fussy, I tickle her or distract her. If I can get her to laugh, she will get moving.
What is your favorite go to meal to feed your family during the week?
Lately, we have been eating Zucchini, Cannellini Beans, Orzo, Lemon Juice, and Olive Oil, which can be found on my blog. Serafina also loves dipping a variety of veggies in hummus.
Would you like to take a nap?
I’m napping right now. It’s called multitasking.
What are your top two pros and cons of being a working mom?
The top pro for me? I stay sane. I am absolutely passionate about my job. I love my students, my subject, my position, and my school. It is an exhausting job, but I leave that school everyday feeling like I contributed to helping students see the world differently. I was born to teach. That doesn’t mean everyday is perfect, but it is worth it. I also think my job has helped me understand how the brain develops, which greatly informs my parenting. Much of my patience with her has to do with understanding where she is and what she is capable of doing. I also think it helps me cherish the time I do have with her.
I don’t really experience many cons. Every woman in my family has worked for generations, staying at home wasn’t an option. I think this has influenced the way I see the world, and helps me focus on the benefits. If you had to push me on it, It would be that my job comes home, which can be difficult to juggle.
Did you pump at work? If so, what was your experience?
I was not able to nurse, so this ended up being a benefit. Pumping is extraordinarily challenging for teachers. My school does not have a place for a teacher to do it, unless I stole an administrator’s office, plus there are days where I teach every period and have meetings during lunch. I barely manage to go to the bathroom, and definitely don’t eat. I have no idea how one would pump.
Do you have any advice for a new mom who is about to go back to work?
An expert in child education, whose name escapes me, once said “Think back to your favorite childhood memory. Were your parents there?” Much of child development happens when we are not around, and that is a GOOD thing. Babies and children need to learn when parents can’t swoop in and fix things for them (and research shows that parents do that a bit too much). They need to learn to negotiate the world from pretty early on. When you are able to let go control of your child, they can really blossom.
Thank you so much Maureen for participating in my Working Mamas series! Don’t forget to check out Maureen’s blog—she shares fantastic vegetarian and vegan recipes—and show her some love!
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