Monday, June 28, 2010

Stay At Home vs. Working Moms

Moms tend to fall into one of two categories: Working Mom and Stay At Home Mom. I think that sometimes, each category envies the other, and sometimes, they feel sorry for the other. I've heard complaints from SAHM's that WM's don't respect their time. "Would you pick up Billy for me and keep in for two hours until I get home? Again? Thanks!" Because, if you are a SAHM, you obviously having nothing better to do, right? And then there's the other side--"Oh, it must be SO HARD to be away from your kids. I could never do it." And you're like--"yeah, because I'm a crappy mom who doesn't really love her kids."

Anyway, that's really not what this post is about, and I don't want to offend anyone. You see, I'm a hybrid of these two. Many women are--like women who work part-time. As a teacher, I get nine months of working mom, and 3 months stay at home mom. Last summer I was with my brand new baby. Trevor was still unemployed, so I had his help. We were together constantly. So somehow--that doesn't really count. It didn't quite prepare me for the adjustment I am going through right now.

You know what? Going to work is EASIER. That's my conclusion. I guess it helps that I really love my job and feel fulfilled and appreciated (most of the time.) But I'll tell you what--these last few weeks have taught me that a day at home makes me ten times more tired than a day at work. And I only have one kid! The idea of doubling this is a bit scary! Today I worked out and then cleaned like a madwoman. Afton was constantly underfoot, or she was off and silent (even worse) and when I'd find her, all my hard work was completely gone as I observed the mess she made. I am walking like an old woman. My feet are so sore and my calves burn. (Not sure why--I didn't even work my legs today! Do pushups make your legs hurt? Hmmmm...)

But I love that I get to experience both worlds. I hope that can help me have appreciation for both worlds--that I can respect my neighbors time and energy, and know that they are all working hard--whether they work or not. I look at my friend Brook, who watches Afton during the school year. This woman has five children. She is so busy all day long. I can't even begin to imagine the cooking and cleaning it takes to keep up with a husband and five children! And yet, she's managed to take the time to teach her children--to spend time with them and teach them well. She has incredible kids. She works just as hard--harder--than any working mom I know.

But does that mean that, if I work, I can't have great kids like that? I think of my sister-in-law Andrea. She works at a dental office--she's a full time working mom. And she has two of the most fantastic girls. Actually--I can't fairly praise Andrea and not praise my other sister-in-law Becky. She works full time too--and her kids are awesome. These women have both learned to balance their careers with raising their kids. They know what's important--when they come home, work stays at work. And maybe they are just a little more grateful for the time they get to spend with them.

One of the best things about being the youngest in my family--and Trevor being the youngest in his, is that we have so many great examples to follow. Each of my sisters has some pretty amazing parenting skills that I can observe and learn from. Up until now, parenting has pretty much been keeping Afton alive and healthy. Now as she gets older, we have to do more. We have to begin to really TEACH her--everything from manners to her colors, to reading, to the gospel. It's overwhelming. And thank goodness for the amazing women in my life who have shown me that it doesn't matter whether you are working or stay at home--it's the quality of time you spend with your kids that make them into amazing people. Thank you!

Friday, June 18, 2010

How Do I Make it Pay?

So this last week I taught a digital scrapbooking class at the business teacher conference. I was so excited that they asked me to do TWO sessions of it--apparently they anticipated that it would be a very popular class. I was so glad--I get paid for two sessions instead of just one! Anyway, the class went well, and it WAS very well attended. It was nice to teach a room full of business teachers that are computer savvy, so that even if they don't know Photoshop--they are definately profficient on the computer. I don't have to spend forever making sure they know how to open a document. Also, they have easy access to the program--one of the biggest problems when teaching Photoshop. People want to learn it, but they don't want to pony up the cash to buy it. As business teachers, they can easily get it at least on their work computer using their funding. So that was nice.

One hour was definately NOT enough time! There was so much to talk about! But I realized a couple of things at this conference. I learned that I am actually pretty darn knowlegeable about Photoshop. Here I'm in a room full of people who are computer savy and some who already know the program somewhat--and my knowledge was far above the average. I didn't know that--I compare myself to the people online who make the kits and the actions, who are total whizes. Well, I'm not THAT good, but I'm certainly qualified. And I'm a teacher--trained to teach. And I'm trained to teach how to use computer programs. Its what I do every day.

So here I am, with this skill that few people have and a LOT of people want to learn. WHY CAN'T I GET PAID FOR IT???? How can I find a way to make this talent pay? I've been racking my brains. I contacted adult education in my area--they told me that they are closing down most of their classes because their funding comes from Jordan District--and of course, there's no more funding for anything in Jordan District. Do you think that people want to learn this skill? Would they be willing to pay? Not that I'd charge very much--like $5 or $10 per class. I can't teach it in my lab at school, because I don't have Photoshop. I'd have to use a high school lab. And then there would be a fee to "rent" the room. I don't know. I'm just pushing the idea around in my head. Any ideas?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thoughts on Summer (so far)

I go through this every year--the huge change that is the summer. Don't get me wrong--I LOVE this change. It's amazing to me how quickly I get used to it. How soon I start to look back and think, "oh yeah. I have a job. Am I really a teacher?" This year is a little different, though, because summer doesn't mean weeks and weeks of me, me, me. Now it's weeks and weeks of Afton, Afton, Afton.

And you know what? I LOVE IT!!

This is not to say that by August I might feel ready to go back to work--after all, teaching junior high is much easier than being a full time mom. But right now I'm loving this. Afton has gotten a lot clingier to me. It's like she's realized Mommy is home all the time now, and whenever I take her somewhere she's afraid she's going to be left behind!

I have so much TIME. I make a goal to clean one big thing a day. Today I scrubbed the bathroom and vacummed the whole downstairs. And did a pile of laundry. But I still had plenty of time to spend with my baby. When I'm working, I only have a few precious hours--I'm lucky if the dishwasher gets loaded.

Next week I'm teaching at a business teacher conference. I WAS looking forward to it. Now it's like--wait...isn't that WORK? My mind is TOTALLY not focused on it! I hope I'm prepared! Good thing I did most of the preparation already, before school ended and my brain pretty much went into hibernation.

So here's some photos of my baby girl playing in the sprinklers. Well, she wasn't that interested in the sprinklers--she was all about the spigot. I love that one of her crying! I can't remember why she was grumpy, but I think it's a funny shot--especially with Tarzan watching calmly in the background...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

It's the calm before the storm. That last day of anything remotely resembling order. Tomorrow there will be activities all day, and the 9th graders will be at Lagoon, and craziness will reign. So today instead of having my kids do an assignment or something, I am just letting them play games all period. The advantage to having a computer lab. This leaves me with a lot of time to write on my blog. So I'm going to post pictures of our trip to Loa for Memorial Day!

Unfortunately, I don't have the SD card with our videos on it here--that's at home. So no video today. But here are some photos!

There were a few unpleasant bumps, but overall it was a very fun weekend. I look forward to Memorial Day every year. It's a big deal in Trevor's family. This year was particularly difficult, since Trevor's Grandpa passed away in December. Last year, he was at the cemetary with us, visiting the graves. This year, we saw his headstone for the first time. I totally bawled. He was such a great man. Every year the American Legion chooses the grave of a veteran to honor and play taps over. This year, they chose Grandpa, who fought in World War 2. Was an honor. It was very emotional. (To everyone except Afton, who kept running off until they shot the guns. I was holding her ears real tight, but she sure quieted down after that!)

We also went to Capitol Reef with the family and walked the Grand Wash. It's about a mile and a half, and I didn't think we'd make it the whole way with Afton, but she was a total trooper! She only struggled at the very end. We got some fabulous shots!

The worst part was when Afton fainted. That night, she was playing in the corner while we all talked. Suddenly she was crying--no ones knows why. No one heard her hit her head or anything. She stretched on the floor crying, held her breath, and then fainted for a few seconds. Scared the crap out of us. She went to bed really easy that night, and we were constantly checking on her. She slept 12 hours, and in the morning she was lethargic and had a fever of 101. She was pretty normal at the cemetary after that, only she fell and hit her head and got a bruise. I was surprised at the bruise because I totally saw her fall and it wasn't that bad.

On the way home she slept the whole way, though she woke of a lot. It was a very fitful sleep. Once home she was quiet. She wouldn't eat very good. When we put her down for a nap, she fell asleep right away, and we had to wake her up two hours later. Then she was even MORE lethargic, and we were nervous enough to take her to Instacare, who referred us to the ER. But she started to pep up, and the ibuproffin helped her a lot. Her fever went down. The doctor wasn't sure what tests to do. We did a chest x-ray--worst torture I've EVER seen her have to go through! After that, we were done. We didn't think she needed any more tests. We'll take her to the doctor on Thursday and see how she's doing. Today she's awake and alert and happy, but her fever is 100. Anyway, that was a fun part of the trip. My poor baby girl!

Well, that's all for now!