When Mama Needs to Write a Paper.

writing can be cathartic until I am writing to be graded
writing can be cathartic until I am writing to be graded

As I sit here in my living room writing this post I have just completed a seven page midterm essay about early childhood literacy. When I finish I will return to writing an essay exam for a class on early childhood curriculum, and then I will spend the next two weeks researching for a paper and exam on parent and child relations.

I have also cleaned a few rooms of my house, prepped lunch for the boys. Reworked our budget to be certain we are being good stewards of our income, and planned Christmas presents and researched things we are looking into for our home. I also am casually watching Harry Potter while all of this is happening.

I find that I need to balance school work, mom work, and self-care, I need to never do just one thing. I set a stopping point and then get up and do something else and then get back to my paper writing.

a bowl of apple slices, sliced cheese, and peanuts protein and crunch to keep me strong
a bowl of apple slices, sliced cheese, and peanuts protein and crunch to keep me strong
2 of these bottles of water a day means I am well hydrated
2 of these bottles of water a day means I am well hydrated

So I thought I would list some of the things I do to help me focus on my school work and stay sane. Everyone has a brain that works differently so please, use what you can, and ignore the rest!

  1. Entertainment: I am the type of person who needs background sound on while I work. Very often I plug my headphones into my phone and play a television series on Netflix while typing or reading. I sometimes listen to an upbeat playlist, sometimes the radio, and sometimes home improvement shows. No matter what it is, I make sure that it is something which is not too distracting.
  2. Water: I make sure to stay hydrated by always setting a large bottle of water by my laptop. I make myself sip between paragraphs or thoughts. This way I stay hydrated when I spend Saturdays writing all day.
  3. Movement: I make sure to get up every 30 minutes or so and move. Go put a load of laundry in, clean a room, step outside to smell the air, but some form of movement. This refreshes my mind, gives my feet a chance to stretch, and keeps me from getting stiff.
  4. Food: it seems almost as common sense as water, but often when I am in a deep study session I forget to eat. It will be six hours and all of a sudden, I am ravenous. I make sure with my water to grab some nuts or fruit, and stop to eat meals. It really helps to write when you are fed.
  5. a warm soul means I can focus
    a warm soul means I can focus

    A warm mug: When the cooler days of fall and winter chime in a hot cup of tea helps relax and soothe while I write. I always make sure to drink while editing because I seem to catch my mistakes and be able to focus when I am warm.

  6. The kids: I have to remember that even though my studies are important, my children are the most important. I need to be able to pause where I am, and help then, care for them and even have some fun!
  7. Knowing when to stop: While I have many assignments and preparations to complete, in taking care of me, I need to know how much time is too much time to spend on the grind.
  8. A proofreader: when writing many papers it is very important to have someone who will be willing to read them, be honest in their critique of them, and be available to help at very odd hours. Luckily I have a few people I can trust, which means no one person is helping all the time.
  9. toys and costumes filled my boys afternoon, and made writing much easier.
    toys and costumes  made writing much easier.

    An overly supportive husband: without Stephen I wouldn’t be able to accomplish half of this. He is home for the boys daily after school, takes them to piano and cross country/track, and has stepped up in the parenting department by being here all the time for them.

  10. A purpose: I am in this to become a better teacher, and in the process, I am becoming a better person. My organizational skills, time management skills, and communication are increased because I am needing to be certain that everything is finished, and everyone is where they need to be.

Choosing to be a student while being a mom and a teacher was not a choice I took lightly. Being present for my children and my students is a priority to me, and there are times I feel selfish going to school and spending my Saturdays and nights learning, writing, and studying. But then I remember that I am learning for them, my children, my students, and for me. Being a teacher means making a difference and in order to make a difference I need to know how.

knowing that a student feels the energy I pour into my work can make stressful or just busy day much better
knowing that a student feels the energy I pour into my work can make stressful or just busy day much better

How do you get it all done? Leave a comment and let me know how you accomplish your goals!

Friday Night

  I met my husband right out of high school. I never dated in college. We went on dates. We had fun, but in reality he was in a 3 year Bachelor degree program, and I was trying to double major in music education and special education. Our dates consisted of movies rented at Blockbuster (yes I am that old!) and doing homework. We would study and quiz each other and fall asleep on his couch while reading text books. I would find myself sneaking back into my house at 4 AM because we fell asleep and were exhausted (sorry mom and dad!) I never did the whole “single and ready to mingle” deal, and I know how lucky I am.

Steve and I have always kept it really casual. We do dinner or a movie, or we do take out and Netflix. I am back in school, finishing a degree I should have finished over 10 years ago. He is working more than I have ever seen before. We have three boys, and we are wanting to move to a bigger home with more land and less neighbors. Therefore date nights are casual.
We also take a lot of time to be with our friends. We have discovered that being with our friends helps our marriage. We vent to our friends, we come home to each other and we feel relaxed.
Tonight he is out with his friend, I am home reading text books and our boys are in bed. I do miss the days of highlighting textbooks side by side, but I am grateful for the opportunity to do it. I dropped out, got married and had babies right away. Thirteen years later, I am almost finished with my degree, still married after a hell of a few years, and a mom to three beautiful young men. I wouldn’t change a thing! 
So, Friday nights aren’t what they used to be, but they have new meaning. I am working hard to be a better mom and teacher and wife. We are working hard at our relationship. Our boys are working hard in school because they see us working hard every day. Studying my text has new meaning as each chapter shows me that as a mom, a wife, and a teacher I have so much to learn, and I do so much right. My doubts may step in, but my knowledge and my heart remind me that my passion is imparting wisdom on children (my own and others) and learning more myself.
Always keep learning, always keep teaching, always keep growing. Your relationships may depend on it! 

  

Back to Life

a part of my classroom
a part of my classroom
the essential teacher bag
the essential teacher bag

I am definitely still feeling the relaxation coming off of our vacation.  Today we were back to the real world. As a teacher my job doesn’t end when school ends, and it certainly does not begin when school begins. This summer, I have been working since May to prepare for this school year. I have been doing paperwork, cleaning toys, and many other tasks to be certain the school I work at has a smooth start to the year.  I also have been writing lesson plans, and preparing my classroom. I work with children ages 4 and 5. My classroom has to be fun and interesting. This is quite a challenge but I enjoy it!

i love my new school bag
i love my new school bag

I  am a full time student. I am preparing my text books, my notebooks, and my laptop to be ready for being a student again. I am almost finished with one degree, and then onto another. As A teacher, I know that my education is important. If I want to be an effective teacher, I need to be on top of the latest research. I also know the example I am setting for my own children.They see me reading my text books, writing papers, and finishing projects for my honors program.

just a small sample of the boys school supplies
just a small sample of the boys school supplies

I also am a mom to 3 wonderful boys. All three will be at the same school this year for the last time.  My oldest in 6th grade, my middle in 4th, and my youngest in 1st. Getting them ready for school was my first priority. I purchased school supplies and lunch boxes. We prepared them for the bus ride and our new routine. I also have prepared them for how busy mama will be. I think it is important for them to know that when they have my attention they have my attention.

seriously love this bag
seriously love this bag

In order for mama to stay organized in our busy schedule I need several bags. Sounds crazy, but I find having a bag for each event works best. I have a bag for teaching that holds markers, stickers, lesson plans, curriculum, and anything else I may need (water and lunch). I have a laptop bag for school for mama. This has my notebooks, a folder, my laptop, and a section for pencils, pens, highlighters, and my flash drive.  I also have a wonderfully large purse that goes with me to church or out with my husband. How do I keep it all together?  I have a few small zippered bags that hold all of the essentials. This way I can  just grab the small bags, change them to the other bag, and go!

the moving pieces
the moving pieces

I love that I can organize myself in a way that I always have what I need. Sometimes I have more than I need, and that works for me in situations like teaching or learning because I would never want to be unprepared for the opportunity to learn.  I am currently enjoying the last bits of summer I have with the boys before we all begin school again next week. I hope that I have prepared them for school in a way that will leave them having everything they need, and knowing that the woman that prepared it for them loves them more than they will ever know.

I find this to be very inspiring...
I find this to be very inspiring…

Being a mom

a wife

a student

and a teacher

means my heart and mind are always full

and I am pointed in a direction that means so much!

Mama Is Only Human

An introduction to my life and my new blog:

IMG_3384I am a mom. My three boys call me Mama. I am not sure why, but they do. I met their father, my husband, right out of high school. We dated, and eventually he proposed. A year later we were married, and a year after that we had our first child.

Being a mom became my world.

Our oldest was quick to learn, happy to help, and funny. Just before we had our second child, our oldest stopped talking. For a year we went through testing, and he was given a diagnosis of PDD -NOS which is a spectrum disorder, as well as sensory integration disorder. He went to speech therapy for 4 years and OT/PT for two years. He grew older, and we learned to manage. He still struggles with Sensory issues, and Executive Functioning skills (organizing thoughts and lists). He is a great student, and  is caring, and compassionate towards others.

Our second child was born in the spring, and from the start was just a happy boy. He was laid back, and went with the flow. He needed some medical intervention for ear infections and snoring. He has a milk allergy that gives him eczema and stomach issues. He wants life to be fair, and he struggles when it isn’t. He needs to know what is next, or he gets anxious. He is loving, has a great imagination and is a great friend.

Our youngest son is a miracle. Born early, he had issues with his eye sight, Mal-absorption,  low tone, and his hearing.   He spent a lot of time in the hospital and as he aged many of his issues disappeared. His hearing recovery was considered a miracle by the doctor, and I agree. He has since caught up with his peers in physical strength, and is almost caught up cognitively and socially at this point. One of his teachers described him as “Christmas morning every day.”

Once they were older (not that old), I decided to go back to school. It started with a teacher assistant certification course. After that course was finished, I felt drawn to do more. I thought I wanted to be a Speech and Language Pathologist, but as I worked in the school setting, I discovered that teaching is what I wanted to do. I am currently a full time teacher, and a full time student. My certification and experience as a teacher, art teacher, substitute teacher, and teachers aide have allowed my employer to have confidence in my skills. I am grateful for the opportunity to teach while completing my degrees. On top of this I am a wife, working hard to keep our marriage strong. We are doing this while managing his recent Diabetes Diagnosis and all that comes with it. I am also a daughter whose parents have had health issues recently. They are doing well now and that is a blessing. I like to run, but I also hate it. I wish I could say I was one of those people who fits a run in in-between work and school while making the boys a snack, but that would be a lie. I fit that in when I can, and right now am working toward my first half marathon. I am hoping for a 14 minute mile – if that tells you how much of a runner I am. I am also involved in many singing groups in our church. I sing solos, as a part of a group, and in the choir. Singing is a stress relief for me because I can be someone else. I can show my soul through words and melody intertwined together.

I am writing down my journey because I want to be a voice. There are many people who think they cannot do something. I want to show them that they can. Many times the reason for the cannot is time, money, ability, mental fortitude, or energy. I have used every one of these excuses in my day to day, but I am choosing an attitude of I can. I hope that I can inspire others to choose this attitude as well. My struggles, laid out, my joys lifted up, and my journey an open book. Come join me and see why Mama Is Only Human!   blog picture