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What I've Learned This Week...

As a Mama, as a Teacher and as a Human

Thank you for being here! 

I am so happy to be back and reflecting and writing to all of you. You know when you tell yourself you're going to take a little 1 week break from something and that 1 week break becomes like a 6 week break? Yep. That's where I am at. But what matters most, is that I am ready to once again share my learning with all of you. Thanks for bearing with me and welcoming me back into your inboxes. I am thankful!

Here is what I have learned this week...

As a Mama

Mom life + kindergarten teacher during a pandemic life has been tricky to say the least. I laugh when people ask how I balance it all. Because in reality? I don't. Like I have mentioned in this space before, I find it much easier to be Mrs. Mac than Mom. Mom has more skin in the game. The stakes are higher. And when I mentioned this to my amazing therapist lately, she had some powerful reminders for me. The biggest one being? I don't need to be a perfect Mom. You have no idea how shocking this actually was to me.

She sent me a list of affirmations to use each day and I find they have been helping me to breathe and to remind me that I (and my kids!) will be ok. More than ok in fact. We are capable of amazing things as a family.

What I have learned this week? This simple affirmation routine keeps me grounded. It reminds me that I am enough. It allows me to say "I am a good Mom" despite all of the mistakes I make.

These affirmations have been particularly helpful this first week of October which happens to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Waking up to Chrissy Teigan's heartbreaking news this week had me rattled. Not because of her immense strength in sharing her story (I am grateful for her courage and vulnerability) or because of the a-holes who had all kinds of opinions about how/where/when/why she can mourn (I want nothing to do with those people) or because of the stories of my own loss that couldn't seem to escape this week (although that's always a fun time...) it had to do with the amount of dismissing I was doing with my own feelings and experiences based on hearing of someone else's. 

Dumb things like "her story is so much worse than mine" or "I should be over my losses by now because enough time has passed/I have 3 healthy kids now" or even the terrible "yours basically didn't count. It's not like you had them named or like an ectopic even counts as a loss..." Freaking brutal.

Luckily, with healthy discussions with those I love the most, I have been able to sort through these emotions this week. To really reflect on them. To lean into the discomfort. I have been able to be aware and not dismissive. But also strong enough to tell myself that my story matters too. October has always been tough. So has April 1st and Mother's Day and March 17th and other dates I can't escape as well... But I am tougher.

I honour all of you who have a story too. Please know it matters. 

As a Teacher

Leaning into the things that bring me joy and constantly focusing on the things I DO have control over in our classroom this year have been key to my sanity. For reals. It has been a wonderful start up despite the new regulations and protocols and procedures. That stuff? I can handle. Give me a set of rules and I will follow them. But what I don't have time for? Anything that takes away from what our learners need. Anything that takes me away from getting to build relationships and connections with them. Anything that takes away their voice and their choice. Nope. No time. Move along.

Do things feel heavy at times? Absolutely. I can't imagine there is a teacher/human out there who doesn't feel the weight right now. But I have learned the past month that planning memorable and fun experiences based on the things our learners love is not just what they need right now, it is what I need too. Getting to not just KNOW their likes but to USE those passions in my planning? That is where I find the joy right now.

I love waking up in the morning, remembering a particular lesson or book or experience or activity I have planned for the day and it bringing a smile to my face. Not all experiences every single day. C'mon now. I know my limits. Just one. One little thing that I know will bring joy is enough for me to put on my big girl teacher panties and jump into the day. Without those joyful things? I am lost. So I know that this is essential to what I do right now. 

What I have learned this week? Finding joy together is bringing us closer together as a classroom community.

From Potato Pants to Ricky The Rock That Couldn't Roll to ginormous Gratitude Pumpkins to Arnie the Doughnut to What Fills My Heart With Happiness, I am learning that all it takes is a book that I am passionate about and a little joy filled activity to bring us closer together each week. To provide some relief for them and for me from this stupid thing called Covid.

Leaning into the joy together is what works for us right now. It has been a great September. I can't wait to see what we all lean into in October.

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this page to see a list of another 12 books that brought us joy this month!

As a Human

Speaking of joy...

Look at these two.
Who think they are soooooo funny.
And really?
They are.

Just don't tell them that will you? 

So funny how a little prank like this can make everything feel so... "normal" I guess! Just a little moment to laugh and breathe and have some fun with some colleagues who love me at my worst and my best is something I am grateful for this week.

Leaning into my bottom hands (as defined by the amazing Dr. Jody Carrington HERE) has never been more important to me than the past 8 months. Nothing like a little global pandemic to remind you of what and more importantly, WHO matters most. (Even the ones who play lame tricks on you when they know you need a smile...)

What I have learned this week? I need to take any little chance I can get to connect with my bottom hands. When I don't feel like it? That is when I need to the most.

I am grateful for incredible family members and colleagues and friends that help me stay true to myself and to challenge me when they know I can do better. From the Mom who knows you need some fresh air and invites you on a walk (thank you Mom!) to the pal who listens to you spill your beans in the bleachers at a fall ball game (thank you Jana!) to all the ones who send you messages and texts of "I believe in you!", leaning into them all is what this human needs to do right now. I hope they all know I am here for them too.

And now, as promised...

12 Books That Brought Us Joy
(and led to some important discussions)
in our Class This Month!

Many of these are linked to my Amazon Affiliate site.
Feel free to click on each book to check them out!

Happy Reading! I hope you love them all as much as we did!

I am grateful to be on this learning journey every day with all of you...

Love, Kindness and Happy Learning to You!

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