No matter who you are, how many nieces and nephews you have or how much people try to explain it to you, NOTHING will truly prepare you for the rollercoaster of parenthood (and I mean that in the most positive way possible). For me, the defining factor that cannot be taught or explained is the LOVE. It truly is unconditional, limitless and all-encompassing.
However, your life as a teacher really has given you a little head start when it comes to becoming a mother (or father). This is how your days in the classroom have prepared you for what is ahead:
Flexibility is a key tool you need in your toolbox as a teacher and as a mama. Things change and we need to be ready for it. Your skills in being flexible and changing a plan at the drop of a hat will stand you in good stead in your life as a parent.
Your patience levels are probably already quite high in comparison to your friends or loved ones. I mean, you have 25 or more kids (who are not your own) to contend with every single day. Your patience will develop even more when the child you are dealing with belongs to you (what one lucky babe!)
Behaviour is a way children communicate a need to us. Very young babies have a checklist you can work through: Are they hungry? Tired? Have a dirty nappy? Have wind? Older children are generally communicating with us through their behaviour as well. We are so used to reading behaviours as communication as teachers.
Trust your intuition! I don’t know about you, but for me, teaching and my decisions around individual students comes from my intuition. This same feeling will help you work your way through getting to know your babe and the best way to approach certain situations. Tune into those gut feelings and trust yourself! (Side note: If you feel nothing for a while because you are so utterly tired, that is completely normal! In that instance, just trust that the foggy-ness will disappear eventually).
Parenting is about implementing your Growth Mindset. Ok, I might be taking the educational jargon a little far here but don’t underestimate the power of your mindset. When you first have that little baby, things may seem impossible. “How am I going to get out of the house?”, “Will I ever feel rested ever again?”, “Is it actually possible to look after a baby all day and still prepare dinner?” – the answer to all these questions is, “YES! I just haven’t got there YET”.
Perfection is a unicorn
Perfection is a unicorn!!! There is no perfect resource, lesson, class or teacher. Same at home. Perfection doesn’t exist. Just do the very best you can, your little one doesn’t expect faultless and flawless.
Kids love order, structure and routines. No not straight away, a newborn can not and will not stick to a routine. But you can implement things for yourself (like having a cup of tea first thing in the morning or showering before your final feed at night) and eventually your baby will need a little more structure and then A LOT of routine! Your teacher skills are going to have you 100% primed to be awesome once you hit this stage in mama life!
Multitasking is a way of life. Teachers can’t survive without needing to multitask and neither can mothers. Being a mother means living in an eternal state of multitasking and teaching will have you set up nicely for that!
Comparison is the thief of joy! You know those parents that come to you and all they can do is focus on their child in relation to their peers. You know as a teacher that this can be unhealthy and that we need to look at each individual for who they are and where they are in their learning journey. It is the same with your own children. Try not to compare them and yourself to others (especially in the sleeping department) – just embrace the individual journey you are on! (FYI when it comes time for you to have another child, things will be different again!)
Teachers are life long learners and so are parents. There is always something new to learn, master, discover, research. Embrace the inner learner!
Once you have become a parent, your life as a teacher will never be the same. Besides the obvious of eventually going back to work with another human to organise, your perspective on your students and their parents will be different. Being a parent definitely impacts who we are as teachers. Enjoy the journey and during those tough times, remember, you’ve got this!
Are you becoming a parent for the first time? We have a teacher-specific guide that is perfect to help you! It includes checklists, information and lots of fun stuff all about preparing for Parental Leave and the arrival of your babe. Find it here or click on the picture below to learn more.
Maternity Leave Handbook for Teachers
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