Updated: May 20
Bird's Nest: San Agustin, Costa Rica
Anybody who knows my work ethic, knows! Before I drown you in the chronological details of my 17 year career trajectory burning the midnight oil writing curricula, developing lesson plans, assessing and documenting student growth, prepping for, administering, and grading tests and Regents exams, sitting in, sometimes leading countless staff/parent meetings, juggling multiple jobs, and attending university, let’s just say I worked hard. Work was actually more than a job, teaching was a lifestyle, my students lived in me literally and figuratively. The relationships I shared with them ran deep, my womb was consumed with them, until July 2011, when I gave birth to my own biological child. Ironically enough, over a decade of classroom experience and over 20 years of working with children in one facet or another, did not readily provide the preparation I anticipated. Transitioning into motherhood was supposed to be seamless, but it wasn’t. Children are a magical conglomerate of everything you pride and everything you fear. Confronting that self in the mirror in the form of a "mini me" was/is a beautifully torturous experience. All of his parts: his gregarious heart, his infectious smile, his profound insightfulness, his bold spirit, and his rebellious, relentless, anxious, and explosive sides all presented at a very early age. A battle of wit and wills, we warred constantly. On top of the challenges of motherhood, I was still busting at the seams feigning balance while juggling career building, money earning, and managing a household. Like most parents, I wanted to believe my son would learn most by my verbal instruction, however, what he was learning by observing his taxed, burned out, frayed mother was the mirage of a Superwoman. The choice my husband and I made to let go of our positions, to release our trappings, and surrender to our destinies in 2017 came at a great expense but was an easy sacrifice.
“ For the first time internationally, we are required to return to an ancestral model of parenting; children work alongside us as witnesses and participants of what we preach.”
CoVid19 of 2020 has undeniably had some seriously devastating effects. At the time of publication, my father is currently battling and my mother is recovering from her own bout with the virus, among countless other friends and family who didn’t have quite such happy endings. However, there are some silver linings: one, homeschooling. Most of us are accustomed to dressing ourselves up and doing our “real” work away from the gaze of our children. On special occasions, our children may accompany us to our places of employment, but most often who we are as breadwinners, community leaders, staff members, business owners, and people builders are separated from who we are as parents. How many of us grew up as recipients of the hot food, warm shelter, and clean clothes our parents provided but were completely blinded by the magic it took to make that happen? How many of us grew up with parents who poured into us but commiserate under their breaths, cried in darkened rooms, hid their fears under hushed tones, and did the work of holding it altogether behind closed doors? For the first time internationally, we are required to return to an ancestral model of parenting; children work alongside us as witnesses and participants of what we preach. Our families are our primary ministries.
In this very rare moment in time, our children have the opportunity to see who we are fully, intimately, and daily, not just the vision. Simultaneously, we can promote our scholars’ intellectual development while reading, studying, practicing, and pursuing our own dreams and endeavors. We can nurture their healthy spirits and confidence while we are affirming, meditating, and expressing our own emotional and genuine selves. Though most of our work has become digitized and electronic the effort is in real time, hands on, and explicit. As we prepare our children for the virtual world ahead, we can also present a different model of work to them. The past few years of living abroad, working from home, and homeschooling has not been a never-ending vacation, for us, it is life training.
Hey, BlackandWanderlust, how are you managing family and work while quarantining? Share your stories with us!
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