One of the absolute wonderful and terrifying things about being a teacher is that each summer I get the joy of becoming a Stay at Home Mama. It is such a wonderful, humbling experience and it always makes me appreciative of what I do for a living - because, while working away from home brings about ridiculously difficult challenges, it is still easier for me to go to work all day. Being a stay at home mama is the most difficult job and I have an infinite amount of respect for those of you who do it (and the ultimate respect for my mom who did it for us). And, I pray that people don't take this the wrong way, but I was not built for it 12 months a year. Three months a year is enough for me to love on my kids, get projects done around the house, go to the park 300 times, giggle, have dance parties, and make a million messes, only to clean them back up again. And then, I get to go back to teaching and empowering kids and hopefully (if I'm lucky) making a difference in their lives, while other wonderful, intelligent, and loving men and women do the same for my littles. I could forsee a day when three months a year isn't enough, but for now - I feel so blessed that my kids get to be molded and shaped by their wonderful teachers and loved on by my family on days when Mr. Howard and I work.
I vow to take lots of pictures. Spend a lot of time being active and going to the park. Laughing a lot. Dancing even more. Loving on my kids. And enjoying these simpler three months, while simultaneously exercising and modeling patience, kindness, and lots and lots of prayer.
To the mom who's breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing gift to give your baby, for any amount of time that you can manage! You're a good mom.
To the mom who's formula feeding: Isn't science amazing? To think there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn't produce enough would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You're a good mom.
To the cloth diapering mom: Fluffy bums are the cutest, and so friendly on the bank account. You're a good mom.
To the disposable diapering mom: Damn those things hold a lot, and it's excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry! You're a good mom.
To the mom who stays home: I can imagine it isn't easy doing what you do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be amazing. You're a good mom.
To the mom who works: It's wonderful that you're sticking to your career, you're a positive role model for your children in so many ways, it's fantastic. You're a good mom.
To the mom who had to feed her kids from the drive thru all week because you're too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You're feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren't complaining! Sometimes sanity can indeed be found in a red box with a big yellow M on it. You're a good mom.
To the mom who gave her kids a homecooked breakfast lunch and dinner for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they're learning to enjoy healthy foods at an early age, a boon for the rest of their lives. You're a good mom.
To the mom with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos, it takes a lot to maintain order with children in a place where they can't run around. You're a good mom.
To the mom with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle: they always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their minds don't they? We've all been through it. You're a good mom.
To the moms who judge other moms for ANY of the above? Glass houses, friend. Glass houses.