The other day I took the boys to school to spend some time with Josh's class and watch a science experiment. We walked in during student free-time. Half the kids were on computers, the other half were doing arts & crafts at their desks.
As I sat back and watched Josh in action interacting with his students, I was taken aback.
First, he is an amazing teacher. So patient and kind and in tune with his kids. They challenge him, but they respect him. What got me was how teaching a class full of students is so eerily similar to mothering a house full of children.
I must have heard them say, "Mr. C!" "Mr. C!" "Mr. C!" over a hundred times in the hour I was there. It reminded me of my boys. "Mom!" "Mom!" "Mom!" All.the.time.
I looked over to Josh and smiled lovingly.
"You poor thing," I said. "You spend your whole day here, answering to small children, surrounded by this chaos, and then you get home and I say, 'I'm done. They're yours.' ... Do you ever take the long way home?"
He laughed and said no. But he did admit that sometimes he sits at his desk after work and just stares at the wall. From the moment he wakes up in the morning, the guy is in high demand. The boys want to see daddy, hug daddy, sit by daddy. Then at work the students want to see Mr. C, high five Mr. C, be heard by Mr. C. Then he comes home and I want to vent to my husband, kiss my husband and spend time with my husband.
I smiled, apologized that I don't always have empathy for the day he has had, and told him I love him.
It really got me thinking. About how wherever you are, whatever you are doing, what you do all day long is work. Josh worked for years at jobs he tolerated, and even some he hated. He now has his "dream job"... The career he desired, work towards and achieved. But that doesn't mean that it isn't work.
I, too, have my "dream job". Being home with our boys is the only place I want to be. I wake up some mornings (especially ones like today where the night before consisted of a lot of trips down the hall to the boys' room to give doses of tylenol, blow noses and rub backs) and feel intense sympathy for working moms. I look back to my own past and wonder how in the world I did it.
Are there moments when it's all worth it? Absolutely. When Wyatt looks at me after he finishes laughing and asks, "Are we funny, mom?" Or when Josh has drilled a concept for weeks, and finally (!) the lightbulb goes on above a student's head. Those are the moments we live for.
The rest of the time, though, we are working. Diligently pouring the best of ourselves into the children around us, in hopes of making their futures just a little bit brighter.