Once a month, I substitute for a teacher. It's a win-win situation. She doesn't have to plan lessons, I get to teach the students about college and scholarship preparation, and the students win more scholarships. Everyone is happy. But today, it's Juliet's birthday, and I wish I was with her. She's turning 2 today, and I just want to snuggle with her and delight in her little laugh. I want to read books to her and chase her around the house. I do not want to tell another student to focus on the scholarship application that needs to be completed by next week; I want to sit with my little girls and sing songs.
Sometimes, I think that the work I do at home doesn't matter. I think that a babysitter could watch my kids all day long, that the girls would actually listen to someone else. I think about this when Noel yells at me that it is her turn, and it's difficult to see anything beyond the five seconds when I want to yell, too. But today, I'm subbing, and I see the importance of all those moments with my children.
I have a lot of students that come from broken families. Families with one parent or missing-in-action parents. Sometimes the parents are there, but just don't take time to help their children. One girl said to me today, "My parents told me I'm not college material, that I won't be able to do it." And I realized that the work I am doing at home is important--because 100 times a day, I tell my kids "I love you. I'm so glad you are part in our family. You can do anything." I say it out loud and I say it when I take time to read them a book. I say it when I'm starting the laundry and let Noel push the button. I say it when Juliet runs away from me and I need to change her diaper, and I make it a game of tag instead of a contest of wills. I don't have 100 perfect moments as a mom, but I have 100 perfect opportunities to tell my kids, "I'm your fan. I'm your cheerleader. I think you are the greatest." And you know something? I really do. I really think my kids are the greatest, funniest, smartest kids in the whole world. And it's okay that I have a limited view in this respect, because my kids need to know that I think the world of them.
So even though I'm subbing on Juliet's birthday, I'll see her tonight and give her dozens of hugs. I'll play with her tonight and tomorrow and everyday until I have to come in again next month. And instead of making my job the priority in the family, I'll remember that it's a blessing to help our family pay the bills and gain a reality check of my real job: being a mother.