New School Year, New Beginnings
I feel a smidge guilty admitting this, but seeing all four of my children walk through the front doors of their school on the first day made me feel giddy. I was literally that parent from the famous television commercial belting out, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
I love my children more than life, but after almost eight years of being a stay-at-home mom to two sets of twins, I am entering a new phase. All four children are now officially enrolled in full-day elementary school. For our family, this is a huge milestone.
My boy twins, Jack and Liam entered second grade this year and my girl twins, Lillian and Mallory entered first grade. They are 18 months apart, but because the boys have a November birthday, they are only a year apart in school. When I had four children under 2 and was drowning and in complete survival mode, this milestone seemed light years away. But here we are.
To borrow a quote I often hear amongst my fellow moms of multiples, “It doesn’t get easier, it just gets different.”
For years I was consumed by nap schedules, feeding schedules, diaper changes, the trials and tribulations of potty training, and the acceptance that I would always have at least one child refusing to leave my side at all times.
Now here we are. I hug them, tell them that I love them and to have an amazing day and off they go. Whereas I once spent my days keeping them safe and entertained and had complete control over their little lives, now that is all shifting and they are becoming independent little beings.
It’s funny how you get so used to phases in your life that any big change or transition feels incredibly scary or overwhelming. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom initially to my twin boys, I was an elementary school teacher. For many years, I defined myself as an educator. I absolutely loved teaching and had worked so incredibly hard to obtain my Master’s degree, find a job and build my reputation within my district. Then one day, I had these two little precious babies and I stepped into the new and forever life changing role of “mom.”
As I became immersed in the Mom life, the teacher identity slowly faded into the background. It never completely left me, but it just got lost in the shuffle for awhile. Once my children entered preschool and I was experiencing school through them, the educator in me began to re-surface.
Seeing them develop a love of school and learning along with sitting on the other side of the table at parent-teacher conferences re-kindled a passion that had been at the forefront of my life for so long. And then, last year, my son was enrolled in a Title 1 reading program to help him hone his reading strategies and build his confidence. Seeing what his school’s reading specialist and classroom teacher were able to achieve with him throughout the school year with their patience, encouragement, and passion for helping students was nothing short of incredible. Again, the inner educator called me. But having been out of the field for so long, I decided to try my hand at substitute teaching to ease myself back in.
My first day subbing, I posted on social media about my endeavour and one of my former colleagues sent me a message saying how great she thought this was for me and how getting back would be “just like riding a bike!” Turns out, she was right.
It felt familiar. It felt natural. It felt right.
Fast forward to this week when I recently accepted a long-term substitute position for the next few months at a local elementary school.
Am I nervous? Yes. Am I worried about how I can make it all work? Yes. But, am I excited? Absolutely.
The time and opportunity has come for me to tap into 2 of my most important identities together at the same time—Mom and educator. I have given my children everything over the past 8 years and I am grateful and blessed beyond measure to have had those years. But I see a door opening and although a bit daunting, the time has come to be both mom and teacher.
“And suddenly you just know it’s time to try something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”