Ms. Sumra vs. Motherhood
With just one week left before I officially head back into work (and a few days before my daughter turns one), I can’t help but feel nostalgic about this epic last year.
Before having a baby I was feeling mighty good about myself. I thought of myself as a great Teacher, in fact. Designing creative lessons and motivating kids came naturally to me, and I was quick to find solutions to problems and was happy to give advice to parents and colleagues. Being a Teacher was a huge part of my identity; every single day it gave me confidence, it gave me joy and it made me feel like I belonged.
Then came motherhood.
It didn’t just hit me out of left field; it was the equivalent of multiple fastballs hurtling my way, knocking me off my feet and leaving me winded, defeated and in doubt. I suddenly was not in my element. I was not at the top of my game and my ability to make decisions went out the window. Is she hungry? Is she tired? How do I know? Why is she crying? How much do I feed her? Why won’t she sleep? Do I swaddle? Pacifier or not? How many wet diapers? Is she meeting milestones? But I JUST fed her! And on and on and on and on… and on.
This beautiful, precious little life depended on me for everything and the weight of that reality was crushing. Pawan the Teacher, disappeared overnight and Pawan the Mom, struggled to keep her head above water. I’m not going to lie, those first few months were HARD. On top of everything, the love I felt for my daughter was unlike anything I had ever felt before; I constantly felt as if my heart was going to just go ahead and burst all over the sidewalk at any given moment.
The sleep deprived fog has since cleared somewhat and I look back and think I was pretty hard on myself. Perfection does not go hand in hand with parenthood and control of your classroom is far different than getting a handle on a baby new to this world. What both spheres require, however, is trust. Trusting that deep down, your instincts will not lead you astray, and trusting that by closely observing them, your children will take your hand and tell you exactly what they need from you.
So, guess what? The first time my daughter crawled all the way across the room, it was to go to her books. You can bet I melted into a puddle. Despite my doubts, despite the fact that I’m still trying to figure this motherhood thing out, I felt like I had done something right. The “Teacher” part of me hadn’t gone anywhere because I had instilled a love of reading already.
When I walk through my classroom doors next week, I know I’ll still be that great Teacher. Maybe I’ll be an even better one. I see things through a different lens, I proudly wear my heart on my sleeve and I have a renewed sense of fascination with how and what kids learn. I also come with a new title under my belt. To clarify, it’s not Teacher OR Mom, I am a Teacher AND a Mom.
Ready for another epic year…