Category: Mommy Chronicles

Who Will Protect the Children?

February 14, 2018 has turned into another September 11, 2001 for me. I will never forget where I was and what I was doing when I first heard the news of each tragic event. With September 11, I was walking through the teacher’s lounge when I heard in passing about a plane hitting a building in New York and caught a glimpse of some video. I didn’t think much of it at the time and went back to my classroom prepared to teach. No teaching happened that day and life how we knew it changed forever.

On February 14 of this year, as I sat in a data chat meeting with my assistant principal, my team, and a few other people, my friend looked at her phone and suddenly gasped. She quickly filled us in on what what happening. Again, I was shaken by the news, but thought (no, I hoped) that it would turn out to be another false alarm, just hearsay, just some rumors being passed around, but it wasn’t. I had another class period to teach so I headed back to my classroom. Again, no teaching happened for the rest of that day as we got word, little by little, about what was unfolding.

But this time it was so different.

This time the news tore me apart in a completely different way. All I could do was pray, pray that my God would comfort those who were hurting, save those who were fighting for their lives, and give me the strength I needed to be strong for those around me, the peace I needed not to succumb to fear.

You see, as a teacher at a school only 15 miles from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, this hit too close to home. Before I could even try to wrap my head around how I was feeling about everything, I was first faced with the task of comforting and consoling my 8th grade students who were frightened and worried that since the gunman was still at large at that time, there was a possibility that he could be heading our way.

“She’s so calm,” was what one of my students commented about my outward demeanor. Inside, I was desperately trying to process everything I was hearing and seeing while not adding to the tension and apprehension that was slowly seeping into my classroom. I had to hold it together for my students. Numerous questions were sent my way. After all, I was the adult in the room, so of course, my students believed that I had all of the answers.  We had been placed on a soft lock down as a precaution. This, in turn, caused my students to start asking if their parents could come and pick them up, yet most of them were afraid of leaving the safety of my classroom to even walk outside. At that moment, so much responsibility was put into my hands all while I worried about the safety of my own children. My seven-year-old son was on the same lock down in his aftercare program on my school campus. My older son, was, hopefully, on his way home from his high school on the other side of town.

But this time it was so different.

While my students and I should have been reviewing the parts of an essay for an upcoming statewide assessment, I was instead reviewing the procedures if we were to go on a Code Red lock down. Where in the room would we be the safest? What did we do if the fire alarm went off in the midst of it or someone knocked on the door? Remember to stay off your cell phones; stay away from the windows. Don’t panic. Help would be coming. Wait for the all clear signal to come.

But this time it was so different.

I’d all seen on the news the stories of the mass shootings at other schools, threatening notes sent over social media, some who’d brought guns to school but were caught before they could carry out their plans, so I knew the threat was very real. We teachers had started the school year off with a special training for what to do if there were ever an active shooter on campus. We even had to endure listening to an actual phone call made by a teacher during the Sandy Hook shooting. We practiced for what would happen if we were under a Code Red and the fire alarm was pulled. We even practiced evacuating the entire school to another location should the need ever arrive.

But somewhere in your mind it’s always just a drill. It will never happen here. It can’t happen here.

But this time it was so different.

I have old coworkers who currently work at Stoneman Douglas and the middle school next to it. I have a coworker whose son and daughter attend school there and were there when it happened. I have other coworkers who live in the same neighborhood, who pass by the school going to and from work and have neighbors who were direclty affected by the events. My dad delivers mail to one of the families who lost their child. A woman who works at my children’s dentist office told me about her daughter fearfully hiding in a portable with 27 other students for hours. I have a student who lost friends in the shooting and still came to school the next day and shared her grief with us. I’ve had to read an email to my students explaining to them how we (their teachers) would be there for them if they needed to talk even as my voice shook, and I struggled not to cry. I’ve had to review with my own son’s their schools’ plans for emergency situations just to be sure they know exactly what to do.

But this time it was so different.

It wasn’t THEM this time. It was US. Even though we have always felt a certain unity with the teachers and parents of those other schools in other states, this week it really hit home.

 It can happen anywhere, at any time, to any of us.

My mind keeps going back to the same questions. Why? Why does this keep happening? What can we do to prevent another one from happening? Why aren’t we doing more? How many lives must we lose before something is done? Will I be ready if it happens at my school?

What would I do if it were my child?

Who will protect the children?

Are we really going to make them do it on their own?

I pray that this opens the door for meaningful conversations to happen, for those who CAN change this to open their eyes, to question what needs to be done. As of right now, it’s the kids who are standing up and speaking their minds. It’s the kids who are screaming out that enough is enough. It’s the kids who are out marching and protesting and planning walkouts. It’s the kids who are calling the adults on their foolishness and their BS. It’s the kids who are saying that they will make a change.

We should be embarrassed. We’re the ones here to protect them, not the other way around.

Are their lives not more important than our winning an argument? How long before WE, the adults, decide that enough is enough?

How many parents have to bury their children before our hearts and minds are open to change?

 

 

America, something has to change! Now is not the time for our country to be divided! As you can see, division has only served to hurt us more! Division has only served to hurt the innocent who for too long have had no voice! As you can see, there clearly is a problem! Now is not the time to pick a winner or a loser! Now is the time to do what is right! Let’s stand up against the violence and stand up for our children! Let’s stand up and use some freaking common sense! What we’ve been doing is NOT working!

It’s time for us to stand up in love and do what we know we need to do, what we have to do to ensure the safety of our children. The last thing any child should ever feel at school is fear.

Personally, I choose to stand on God’s word during this time, and anything that I do will be done from a place of faith and love because my trust is in Him. Believe me, I am angry, and I am desperate for change, too. I know that change can happen.

It’s whether or not we will put aside our differences and make it happen.

Or will this be, like all of the other times, another forgotten cause until the next shooting happens?

Will we get it together before we allow this to happen again?

I don’t know the answers, but I am willing to help.

Not one more child, please.

Not one more child.

Who will protect our children?

 

 

5 Things That Make You a Great Mom

I can’t lie about it. While it is extremely rewarding, motherhood is hard!  No one could have told me that it would be this like this. No one could have told me about the emotional ups and downs that I would experience as a mother, one minute wanting your love bug cuddled up next to you and the next minute needing to hide in the bathroom just to have a moment alone. You have your moments of Mommy Pride where you stand a little taller as you watch your child’s performance or when they bring home a good report card or even as you watch them sleeping at night.

But then you also have those moments of guilt where you feel like you’re not doing enough, you’re not good enough, or you’ll never get “it” all done. We even feel guilty about wanting alone time and just wanting to get away from it all. We begin to compare ourselves to the picture perfect moms we see in magazine ads or we see on TV or that people post on their social media pages. We start feeling as if we’re the world’s worst mom, that everyone else has it all together, and that our children are being deprived of a great parent.

Mommy Guilt is so real, so sad, and so hurtful to us.

We judge ourselves so harshly as if we are never allowed to have an off moment. Being a mom is the one job that comes with no manual, no set of instructions, no training in preparation for it. We are all doing the best that we can, and we deserve a pat on the back (or a nice trip to the spa) for all that we do.

Here are 5 things that make YOU a great mom:

Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash

  1. You provide for your kids’ needs, and you try to give them most of what they want. I know people are thinking, “That’s not a big deal. That’s what you’re supposed to do.” However, if you think about it, this is a pretty BIG deal. Making sure to provide for your children probably takes precedent over your taking care of yourself. Most of us will go without something we need or want just to make sure our children have what they need. That type of selflessness is commendable and although it just comes naturally to moms, it is worthy of honor. In a time where people are driven by their own selfish desires, being a mom who gives her last and her best for her child is amazing.     Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash
  2. You discipline them and teach them right from wrong. While it’s easy to be distracted by how cute your child is, there comes times when you have to correct them for what they’ve done wrong. You know what’s best for them even if they don’t believe it. So while those tears may be hard for you to see, the fact that you must instill in them the values and morals that they will need in order to be successful in life is more important than trying to avoid seeing a few tears. You know that in the long run having children who will go on to become well-disciplined and self-sufficient adults is so much more important than trying to make them happy all of the time.         Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash
  3. You hurt when they hurt. I know nothing breaks a mom’s heart more than seeing her child hurting and not being able to do something about it. That’s part of the reason that disciplining can be so hard. We feel their pain; we have a deep connection with them and that mama bear in us wants to jump in and protect. That instinct to protect our children makes us special because that level of love is unmatched. We’d give our lives to make sure our children are protected and do whatever it takes to make sure they are comforted in their time of need.                                                                                                                           
  4. You dream about their future and the adults they will become one day. Prom. Graduation. College. Wedding. Family. As a mom, you don’t just worry about your child during their childhood, you hope and dream about the bright future that you see for them. That’s why you work so hard, why you discipline and talk to them, and why you try your best to set them on the right path. All you want is the best for your child, so although you still have dreams for yourself, your child’s future success is always at the front of your mind. It’s why you will sit with them for hours assisting with homework or why you will sign them up for activities that will help them pursue their passions.  If you could, you would create the future that you wanted for them, free from all hurt, harm, or danger, and give them the best life you possibly could ensuring success in everything they do.                                                                                                                     Photo by Marco Ceschi on Unsplash
  5. You spend quality time with them. All of the toys, money, and gifts in the world can’t equate to the time that you spend with your child. Don’t get down if you can’t provide them with the “best of the best” of everything. So what if you can’t take them on a Disney vacation every year? In the end, that’s not what’s going to matter or what they’re going to remember. They will remember the bedtime stories, the trips to the local park, the encouraging words you gave as they tried something new or struggled with something difficult, the way you comforted them when they were sick or were crying, laughs you shared around the dinner table, and the nights snuggled up on the couch watching a good movie.  What matters is the time you spend with them. And as the saying goes, it’s about the quality, not the quantity.

I promise you that what you’re doing right now IS enough.

All of the other things that we feel like we should be doing are just fluff, the extra icing on the cake. I’m not saying that being the team mom for your son’s football team, or making homemade costumes that will rival anything found on Pinterest, or being able to feed your kids organic, homemade food every day is not important; however, if that is how you measure your worth as a mom, you’re wrong. Who cares if this time you picked up the store-bought costume before you swung by McDonald’s on the way home from a long and exhausting day at work? Give yourself a break. Yes, our jobs are to provide the best life that we can for our children, but the problem comes when we begin to compare ourselves to other moms or when we set impossibly high standards for ourselves based on unrealistic expectations or when we don’t give ourselves credit for all that we do.

You’re a mom, not Superwoman (although I think we should earn that title for all that we do).

Cut yourself some slack. When you look back, what are the things that really stand out to you when you think about your mother or the woman who helped to raise you? Are you being judgmental about her parenting skills or are the first things that come to mind only about how much you know she loved you, the little things she did for you, and overall how she made you feel? I know what I think of when I think of my own mother and all that she did and provided for me. Knowing what I know now about parenting, I admire her strength, love, and tenacity even more.

You’re doing a great job. Don’t let anyone (not even yourself) tell you differently. Instead of trying to find new ways to be a “better” mom, take time out for yourself. Have that glass of wine. Spend some time with friends. Go on a mini-vacay alone. Believe me, you’ll come back refreshed and ready to take on motherhood even more. Taking care of you is the best way to make sure you’re always ready to take care of your kids. You deserve it.

And your kids will thank you for it.