Transitioning from Teacher to Mom: Pour Your Heart Out

You know kids. You teach 25 of them all day long.

You know long days. You give your all to your students.

So maybe that ever-growing baby bump doesn’t have you all that concerned.

You’ve taught for a few years, you’ve got this.

And you know what? You do. You really do. You’re an amazing teacher and I know you’ll be a great mom.

But at the same time- there are so many differences between being a teacher and being a mom.

The biggest difference is that this baby, he will be yours. Always yours.

new moms

I know that you treat your students like they are your babies. You take care of them, you love them. You even cry over their successes because you are so proud of them. You still check in on them when they go to the next grade.

But the reality is that when those kids walk out of your classroom door, they aren’t your responsibility any more. Whether it’s to go home at the end of a school day or it’s to head down the hall to the next grade, it’s someone else who is taking care of them. You can go have a break(even though I know you still think of your students some when you’re having that break).

When it’s your own child, they aren’t just yours for the length of the school day or the school year. It’s all the time. No having the next teacher deal with whatever issues there are… but also no next teacher to celebrate the successes. It’s all on you.

And it’s an entirely different feeling.

You might at times think that some parents overreact in parent-teacher conferences. Because you’ll look at a problem and talk about how it can get better. And a lot of the times, you’ll know that in the grand scheme of things, the “problem” isn’t a big deal. But when you are on the parent side, that’s your child and you’ll wish there was a magic solution for everything. You’ll know that all kids have their struggles, but in that moment, you won’t care so much about “all kids” and you’ll just want everything to be okay with yours.

This past fall, when an anxious group of parents had tears in their eyes and didn’t want to leave their kindergarteners on that first day of school, you smiled reassuringly at them, telling them it would be okay. You’d take care of their babies. And I know you have.

But when it’s five years from now and you are the one dropping your baby off in the hands of another teacher for a full day, you’ll suddenly understand those tears in a way you never did before. You might even want to go back and apologize to those parents for not getting it(don’t worry, you don’t have to).

In fact, you might find yourself wanting to change the way you do a lot of your teaching and dealing with students after you have your own. Know that you did an amazing job before you had kids, please don’t doubt that. But it’s different when it hits you in the gut and you think what if this were my child? How would I want this handled?

I don’t know if anything can truly prepare you (or anyone) for what it is like to become a mom. At times, your teaching experience will help you. And other times, you’ll still be learning as you go, just like all the other moms out there.

Know that it will be different from your days spent in your classroom. And that it will be wonderful. You will be an amazing mom.

Shell’s note: My son’s kindergarten teacher from last year is pregnant for the first time, as are two other teachers on the kindergarten team. Seeing their pregnant bellies reminded me of my days when I was the teacher waddling down the hallway, expecting my first baby. And while I didn’t think teaching automatically prepared me for all I’d encounter as a mom, I did think it would give me good perspective. But once my babies were born… years of teaching did help me with a few things, but in general, the differences between being a child’s teacher and being his mom were worlds apart.

Last Week’s Pour Your Heart Out Highlights

  • And There Was a Hush from Our Giggles and Grimaces: “There are other moms that want to yell and scream and beg their children to be quiet.”
  • Mistakes Are Proof You are Trying from Hooked and Happy: “I try to tell her she’s doing okay, but she needs it too be right. Have we  corrected her too much?”
  • Figuring Out How to Be a Mom from Emmy Mom: “As soon as you feel like you are getting it figured out, something will change.”

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  1. says

    I have so much love and respect for the teachers who have taught my son so far.  I really think that teaching someone else’s kids with love and attention and care takes a special kind of person, and I can see how becoming a mom would enhance that even more.  
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  2. says

    Very good post and giving it from a different perspective is eye opening. I think as a teacher they learn to have more patience because they have to deal with more than one child at a time. As parents we have it but to teach 20 something 5 year olds who talk and won’t keep still…..bless those teachers.
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  3. says

    This is such a nice lovely post. I’ve never taught but I’m sure these soon to be mama’s will be great and would love to hear these words. 
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  4. says

    I feel like being a teacher must be one of the hardest jobs in the entire world.  Aside from the large amount of work, but to have a kid in class all year long and then to let them go at the end of the year must be so hard.
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  5. says

    Before I got pregnant with my first son, I was in college for education. Student teaching was difficult, especially at the end when I had to say goodbye to all of the kids I’d spent several weeks with. However, I completely agree that teaching is very much different from being a mom!
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  6. says

    This feeling is a newer one to me, as my little girl just started preschool. But I think there’s a beauty in the overlap–I love how I look at my 150 stinky teenagers as my kids, and how her teachers love her. But man, it is complex.
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  7. says

    One of my son’s teachers is pregnant with her first child, and while she was a good teacher, she always had a little bit of arrogance about her. I think she’s going to be surprised when she has her child. I feel like having my own children made me much more effective at teaching an much less judgmental!
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  8. says

    I think for some it’s easier to split the difference between being a teach and a mom while for others it’s more difficult. Someone that I use to work with would always cry so hard at the end of the year when it came time for the kids to age out of our program. On the other hand, my cousin is great at seeing the kids off to the next year.
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  9. says

    I think being a parent can really help one become a more compassionate and understanding teacher, for sure! I think being a teacher is a whole different ball game, you’re right about that! What a lovely post!

  10. says

    So often, I hear young teachers refer to their students as “their kids” and while the thought is sweet, it’s completely unrealistic. It’s so easy to take on a maternal mentality with someone else’s kid – especially when you’re not a parent. And many of the teachers – the ones that I have known – believed that teaching prepared them for parenthood. So not true! And it’s always interesting to hear when a teacher suddenly realize that being a teacher and being a parent are two totally different things. 
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  11. says

    People always say that being nurse will help me with being a mom and I don’t think that’s true at all! Sure, I take care of people all night long, but it’s a very different “Taking care of people” than I’d take care of my kids. I’m sure being a teacher is teh same way!
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  12. Melody says

    I love this. I am a teacher. And I am a mom. It just wasn’t a decision we could financially make for me to stay home once I had kids. There are so many ways though that being a teacher makes me a better mom and being a mom makes me a better teacher. It’s also quite strange to straddle both sides– to go from being the teacher at conferences to being the parent. Lovely post.

  13. says

    Yes!  Once you are a mom you definitely see things at a whole new level.  I was a foster care worker before I had kids and I remember one of my clients once asking how I could do that job if I didn’t have kids of my own.  I thought, but didn’t say, you don’t have to have kids to know what abuse is….but looking back on it, yes I think I would have done things differently and looked at things differently had I had kids of my own.  I think I would have felt more compassion at times and a lot more anger at other times as then the thought of the abuse that was happening to those sweet kids would be that much more real. 
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  14. Ashley M says

    Honestly, I have always wondered how teachers did it. My daughters preschool teacher spends all day with preschoolers and then goes home to two kids under three. I don’t know how she does it. 

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