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Meet Sra. Wienhold

Returning to Teaching as a New Mom

**Disclaimer** This post is not about foreign language teaching, but instead what I learned about teaching while being a new mom. If you do not wish to read about pumping, feel free to skip it.

Today my baby boy is one year old. On 1.14.14, my life changed forever when this wild, energetic, and happy little boy arrived. I had stressed for months prepping for his arrival, planning for maternity leave, and researching raising him bilingual, but no one prepared me for the change to my life once I returned to school as a teaching (& pumping) mami. Here is my advice for returning to teaching as a new parent. 

TAKE AS LONG OF A BREAK AS YOU CAN

I work at a school with ZERO paid maternity leave. This meant once I used my sick days, every day I was gone, was a day deducted from my salary. Before I knew I had a Spanish speaking sub I agonized about what my students could possibly do while I was gone, and planned to take the minimum 6 weeks leave. Thank goodness my wonderful husband insisted I take 8 weeks. Now looking back I would have loved to take the entire second semester off (if it fit in the budget), because like everyone says this is precious time you will never be able to get back. 

CALL IN REINFORCMENTS

I am SO thankful that my first two weeks back at school, baby boy was able to stay home with Grandma, my mom for a week, and my husband's mom the second week. Going back to school is stressful enough without the added anxiety of leaving your tiny infant with a complete stranger for the first time. It was a blessing to come home to folded laundry, clean dishes, a home cooked meal and a happy baby those first couple of weeks. I know some Grandparents like to take a week off and come to help the first week at home, but if you can swing it you will appreciate them MUCH more when you are balancing not just being a new parent, but a working parent. 

GET ORGANIZED & MAKE A SCHEDULE

You may think you are an organized person now, but adding in a new tiny human forces you to come up with new systems, schedules, and constant to-do lists. For me it was imperative that I set things out the night before. If you plan on pumping, you MUST get an extra set of parts, as well as the hands free pumping bra. My pumping schedule when I returned to school was the following:
  • 5:00am - wake up, get ready, nurse & then pump before leaving for school
  • 11:00am - pump during my prep (hands free & still working & planning)
  • 2:30pm - pump after school
  • 4:00pm - nurse once home
  • 7:00pm - bedtime nurse
  • 9:00pm - pump before bed
  • 2:00am - middle of the night nurse
With pumping times a day, having an extra set of parts was essential to be able to rotate the clean set. I immediately froze all milk in bags flat, and stored them in the deep freeze in gifts bags with a whole cut out of the bottom for easy rotation. Once I had a stash built up I eliminated the morning pump, because I would often run out of time. The next pump I got rid of was right after school, and eventually the before bed, because I began to hate the pump. 

SIMPLIFY SCHOOL

As Sra. Spanish says it is all about Less. If you are not going to have time to grade it, then you should not be assigning it. Minimize the busy work and focus on the big picture and communicative activities. If you know you are still getting up every night for feedings, cut yourself some slack and do not plan to put on a show and dance of new TPRS stories, because I was more tired than I have ever been in my entire life the first couple of weeks back. It is OK to have students assist with correcting, and actually they can learn a lot by evaluating each other in class. Finally, if at all possible, try and squeeze in planning what you will do when you return while on leave. 

For all of you teaching parents out there, I give you a huge round of applause because I now have a huge appreciation for the balancing act. Is there anything you would add?
Happy Birthday 1st Birthday Baby Boy!

2 comments

  1. Thank you so much for your beautiful blog!! You have posted so many wonderful resources, I have been feeling stuck in a rut (and I have a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old!) and your units and ideas feel so fresh, ¡MIL GRACIAS! Thank you so much for all that you've shared. All of your posts are so real and inspiring.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much and I am glad I can help. I will be in your shoes soon when baby #2 comes in August. Teaching mamas need to stick together because it is HARD!

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