I have quite a stockpile of art questions in my inbox. I’m sorry that I haven’t been as quick to answer as you would like but I’m afraid my personal life is starting to get rather busy again. Here’s the truth about having teenagers: they can require more time than younger kids. Do I hear a collective yell out there?
After the age of ten, my kids started to pursue sports with more intensity. That combined with homework and for my eldest (a junior in high school faced with the dreaded battery of pre-college tests) their lives have gotten busy. I’m lucky. My kids are pretty darn good natured (they get that from their dad) and seem pretty responsible but still, it gets real busy.
So in keeping with the kid-centered theme, here’s a question from Lindsey:
I’m a big fan and love your blog. You seem to juggle family and work well and I’m hoping to do the same. I have 3 kids, 9,7 & 3, and teach at two different locations for our school. I’m part time, but always seem to be working and racing to get everything done. Any tips on being a mom of 3 and an art teacher?
All the best!
This was my exact scenario when I first began teaching. Actually, my first year, I only worked at one school for a total of 9 whole hours. I seriously thought I couldn’t get any busier. My daughter was in Kindergarten and my boys were in 3rd and 5th grade. The next year, I increased my hours by taking on a second school. Strangely enough, I found it better. Maybe it was because my children were in school all day and I didn’t have to arrange after-school child care.
Now having said that, here’s what I really think. Every woman handles the different stages of their children’s lives differently. There are no sure fire tips except for one: Don’t try to be perfect. If you were to visit my house right this very minute you would find laundry over every available flat surface, dirty dishes in the sink, homework papers scattered around and basically a pretty messy house. But I don’t care. I love my house, and it’s clean most of the time, but I don’t stress about it. It’s where we live and I don’t care to make it look like we don’t.
As an art teacher, I never had to bring work home with me. I did most of my planning during breaks or after school. When I go home, my attention is on the kids. Remember the dirty dishes? Around 5 o’clock each day, I turn on the Oprah Show, tidy up the kitchen and prepare dinner. It takes about an hour. Trick is to combine the lousiest tasks with a task you love. I love cooking so cleaning up becomes a necessary ingredient to that. Whereas, trying to do the breakfast dishes while getting 3 kids and myself off to work would be far too stressful.
Basically, you just need to find out what works for you and develop a consistent schedule. Your mother or mother-in-law might have said this to you at one point: “Kids crave routine.” I think this is true and it’s the one thing that I can say that truly has worked for me. Keep it simple and keep it consistent.
Good luck, Lindsey!