One of my oldest friends once told me that the children in our classrooms have learnt by the end of the year how to push our buttons. By the end of the year, she said, we are ready to get our new class and start afresh. Our children, on the other hand she philosophised have a lifetime to learn how to drive us crazy.
It’s just one of the many reasons that I will never be as good a mum as I am a teacher.
As a teacher I have infinite patience, am unfailingly consistent and even manage what resembles – to the outside world at least – organisation. As a mum, I fail at all three of those things on a pretty much daily basis!
It’s not that I care about parenting less than I care about teaching. And I certainly don’t love my children any less than I care about my students.
The fact is, that I am just human.
As a teacher I live in a perfect world. A world for which I can plan. A world in which the cooking and cleaning are done by others, a secretary takes phone calls and parents experience the sleepless nights (well most of them anyway).
As a parent we have to juggle all those things. We are rarely ‘just’ a mummy. We are cooks, cleaners, secretaries and night nurses. We have multiple priorities that we forced to juggle with each day.
And as much as I would love to be the kind of mum that I am teacher, I have to recognise that I probably never will be.
I love my children more than life itself.
But I will probably always yell a little too much, give in a little too easily, and use the TV as a babysitter a little more often than I would like.
I used to feel guilty. And wonder why I couldn’t keep it up at home.
And then I realised something.
My daughter has a wonderful teacher. One day, the Lion will have too.
They don’t need me to be their teacher, they ‘just’ need me to be their mum.
It is from me that they will learn about juggling multiple priorities. It is from me they will learn, that sometimes it’s ok to take a break. And hopefully it’s from me that they will also learn, that sometimes when you love someone the rules go out of the window.
One day, when they are parents too, they will need all those skills and more.
Then they will understand that it’s ok to be imperfect. It’s ok to be human.
Because we are all just doing the best we can.