January 2, 2011

To Be a Mom-To-Be

I should be elated right now to be going on a maternity leave shortly and meeting my baby girl.

The reality is maternity leave scares me more then giving birth! Until now, my work (whatever it may be) has been my baby and to hand it over to someone else seems impossible.

There is one nagging thought that I try to push away. "No one can do the job like I can." This annoying thought has driven me to let a house cleaner go at 8 months pregnant (because I could do a better job), not ask for parent help (I get frustrated when adults can't fill a glue bottle without help), put on a gas mask to strip wall paper and paint my house (while 6 months pregnant).  I hate to think I'm a control freak but. . .

I have a hard time letting go. I spent a lot of time this break preparing my room and plans for a substitute teacher to walk into the art room for 8 weeks. My maternity leave could be right around the corner (one never knows with babies!)

I know what I do in the month of February and March but I know the students really well by March. Setting a bunch of kids loose with paint and pottery with a substitute teacher (who may or may not be an art teacher) seems like a recipe for disaster. So I am trying 2D projects that don't require a lot of supplies.

One thing I know for sure I will download my whole substitute folder and share because I hope I can help another mom-to-be!

If you've ever gone on a maternity leave please help another mom-to-be. . . what worked best for you and your substitute?

Thanks to Mrs. Hahn at Mini Matisse for your advice!


Mrs. Art Teacher said...

oh my goodness, are you only going on leave for 8 weeks!? I'd be afraid of going back to work with a brand new baby wanting to be fed every hour during the night:) I'm cranky without sleep.

I was very worried about having a long term sub when I was out after my dad died earlier this year. My sub ended up being wonderful. We talked every few days via email but only about where to find stuff in my room and lesson plan clarifications. Let the sub and the admin deal with the behavior stuff. I suspect soon you will be too tired and busy to be thinking too much about what is going on in your classroom! :)

Phyl said...

OK, I know my maternity leave was a long time ago - my "baby" turns 22 in a week, but here's what I think. Heck, here's what I KNOW:
The world will NOT come to an end when you are not there to teach the kids. They will enjoy a sub, things will be done differently, not your way, but the sub's way, and the kids will survive. When you return they will be glad to have you back, because you are THEIRS. But they will also like the sub, and will miss her when she's gone. And that's good, not bad. You want both these things: you want them to have a good experience without you, but you still want them to want you back.

You need to remember that your sub will be paid to do the work, so you shouldn't do all of it for her. Let the sub do things her own way. Let her know the basic areas you want covered, and then let her be herself. If there's stuff you don't want touched, make sure she knows, but please don't feel you need to design all her lessons. She's probably a certified art teacher, right?

One more BIG - you will be BUSY - changing diapers, taking walks, resting, feeding, playing, getting to know your little girl. Your life will never again be the same as it has been. Your first priority will be changed forever, and you will go for days where you don't even take a moment to think or worry about school. It will shift down your priority list. When you are ready to go back to work, then you'll learn to balance teaching with motherhood, but when you are on leave, IT IS NOT YOUR JOB.

Sorry I've gone on way way too long... from one control freak to another - it will all work out - good luck to you!

Mrs. Hahn said...

You know... I was thinking of you all weekend. It's hard to know this now... but you are about to enter the best time of your life. You are going to be cranky at your husband because of lack of sleep and you may want to hit you mother-in-law (not that I know her, I'm just saying that might have happened to me). But you are going to enter this new place where priorities change.

You are right. No one can teach like you, run your class like you, or have the relationship you have with you students... But that is OK. They are going to teach the way they can, your going to be busy giving butterfly kisses, and when you return... You will learn how to do the most complicated balancing act of them all, being a working mother. You're students are going to be happy to see you and the end of year will come quickly!

In the mean while, another blogging friend turned me onto this website. It might be nice for you to organize things. I just started mine, you can look at it here... http://livebinders.com/edit?id=52647

I will be blogging about it in a couple of weeks when I have moved over all my lesson plans. If you use this, you might be able to list out your grades in the tabs, give the concept, and let them choose from your binder. Let me know if you have any problems getting in... I'm new to the site. Good luck E... You're going to be great at this Mommy thing:)

Mrs. Hahn said...

PS. I agree with Phyl. Your sub is getting paid to do the work... TELL (not ask) your administration you plan on giving concepts and they will figure out how to teach the lesson.

Erica said...

Love you guys! Feeling so much better and laughed a lot after reading some of these comments. I love the perspective. . . Ready to start a new week. Will take all this great advice and will definitely be referrig to it again when I need a little perspective! Thank you all. I will check out that link tomorrow:)))

Anonymous said...

I have a 4 month old. I was out 8 weeks also at the beginning of school! I put my student art books to good use so my sub would have something to go by and my students would as well. I wrote out the lessons and attached examples as well. I left extra activities for those students who worked fast. I left books for the sub to read also. I did not leave painting lessons. If your plans are simple, but specific everything will go fine.


Marcia Beckett said...

OOhh!! Good luck. The next 8 weeks will be the best and most challenging of your life (well, at least they were for me!) Teaching will be the furthest thing from your mind at that time. I went on maternity leave last year for about 10 weeks. I would have rather had another couple months off with my little baby. :) what i did was make a binder with the concepts outlined for the weeks. Then, I made photocopoies and printouts of lesson options and the sub was able to pick what she was comfortable doing. I found a lot of ideas online and then also photocopied lessons from books. I didn't bother writing out each and every step of the lessons, sometimes just printed off photos. I gave her some clay options and she did pick to do 2 clay projects, but I told her she didn't have to do them if she didn't want to. It worked out fine and the kids were fine! while you are gone, your job is to take care of your new baby, so don't worry about school stuff!

peteart said...

You have some great advice here! My baby is turning 2 in February. I lived and breathed school prior to her arrival on the scene -though I still love my students and my job they are far from first on my priority list. Your sub will be fine - he or she will more than likely have their own ideas. When I was gone I planned in detail the first few weeks, then gave my substitute a list of concepts that needed to be covered. I had the benefit of knowing I had an art professional coming in. So - my objectives were covered and I got some great new ideas too! Best wishes on healthy end of your pregnancy!

PS - after the first week home you won't think about school AT ALL.

Beth Allums said...

Just found you blog and I love your ideas. Obviously you are a wonderful teacher, and are certainly going to be an amazing mom.
Your priorities will shift so much once that little baby is in your arms, you won't worry one bit about school. And the days of staying late will be gone, it will be all you can do to make it to the end of the day to cuddle your sweetie again. Many other posts say the same thing.
My only advice - not at all school related - just because I was srolling through your posts and saw this in a picture - ditch that glass coffee table immediately.
seriously - those things are deadly and my friend's 7 year old just fell and chipped a tooth from falling into one just last weekend.

Unknown said...

I know I've been looking for a new one! Funny you mention it. I have a little time before she crawls. Thank goodness for craigdlist some young couPle might be able to enjoy it! I have to check out your blog now.