Being a full-time Mom and educator has shown me a side of myself that I forgot I had. During this time of welcoming Zion’ah into our world and teaching high school, my perseverance and follow through continues to reach new levels.
Due to this plandemic I began the school year teaching from home. My alarm was set 10 minutes before each class started, my husband and I dedicated a portion of our bedroom wall to posters from my classroom to create the ambiance for learning, and formed my workspace next to Zi’s crib. Above my desk were notices in the form of calendars, schedules, lesson plan layouts, curriculum maps, standard trackers, and of course motivational photos and words.
I was in peace teaching from home.
The best part? Walking outside of the room, I was greeted with pure love from my husband and our little one. In-between classes and during lunch I would swoop in and get blessed with kisses and smiles from the two I love more than life.
Being able to breastfeed before school, during lunch and after school was heaven; Zion’ah was and is my calming agent. Moments before class I would kiss all over her and be subjected to her wonderous smile. She is now at the age where a laugh spills out every now and again – these breakthroughs are my breakaways, in every way.
Granted there were challenges working from home. Despite having headphones during my Zoom lessons, Zion’ah could be heard fussing in the other room when she demanded food or undivided attention.
As a mother, my instinct is to run to her aid; however, as an educator, my responsibility is to put my students first. . . this dynamic is a constant struggle.
My shalom is knowing she is in good hands. Thankfully my husband and I work opposite hours, so he’s able to be with her while I’m at school. In addition, two of my former students come and babysit every now and again, and they see and treat Zi as their child. Butttttt still. . . I am Zion’ah’s mother, so the desire to sprint to her aid does not cease. . . It may suppress, yet it does not dissipate. At all.
Working from home, during my planning periods, I had Zion’ah laying next to me on our bed while I worked at my desk. Every now and again I would peek over at her and see her staring at me. Leaning in, my lips would fall between her eyebrows, bottom lip at the top curve of her nose, and our warm energy would rise and hug each other. Her eyes show me heaven. I’ve never had such stress free planning periods in my years of being an educator. There were times she didn’t want to lay calm, cool, and collected; but we worked it out.
With Zion’ah, I have learned to operate with one hand. Whether I am writing for school or for Our First Family Photo, she can rest comfortably in the hammock of my left arm as my right hand manifests my thoughts.
Currently I am back in the school building. The realization of going back to school sunk like the Titanic and stunk like a paper mill. Zion’ah is four months and I honestly did not and do not want to leave her side as she continues to learn herself and develop. I knew before I got the call to return that I would eventually need to, I just didn’t imagine it being so soon. There were moments leading up to returning that I considered not going back at all, but my spirit didn’t sit right with that and My Love confirmed that quitting something I start is not in my character. So, I got my mind right, took down the posters in our room and headed back to RM 114.
Routine, I see, is going to save my mental space; I am still working out the proper timetable to be as effective as possible. Ideally, this would be my schedule:
Typically, due to a long night, I’ll get up around 6:00 a.m., I’ll take a shower, make oatmeal, tend to Zion’ah and head out the door while I listen to Dave Ramsey and eat on the road. No time for pumping, reading, being active or meditating. These moments are critical for Yah and me time; therefore, I have to make time.
I am being gentle with myself with this transition, but I also know what I am capable of when I rid excuses.
Excuses must be tossed out! After all, as a student-athlete at The Alabama State University, my day would start at 5:15 a.m. for practice and I hardly had time for naps considering my early morning classes, afternoon practice, volunteer work, and house party or poetry nights.
In my new life as a mommy, I know I am going to be tired; but I also know The Most High is my strength (and Yah has also sanctified the Shabbat as our day of rest).
As much as I miss Zion’ah and Terrence while I am at school, having home and work separate is helping me keep a balance. I stay focused at school and handle all work in the building no later than 4:00 p.m. and when I get home I am in full wife and mommy mode. This helps me stay present in both places (having a cut off time for any and everything has been crucial). During my lunch, if I can, I’ll call home and speak to My Love and video chat our Sweet Pea; and when I’m home I’ll occasionally check email and respond to students text messages. Other than these few moments, my two worlds of home and work do not intersect.
My mind stays off of worry and my heart is happy.