I always wanted to be that Mom – you know the one. The one who’s house everyone wanted to hang out at. The one where the whole neighborhood would come, just to visit, even when my kids weren’t home… I wanted to be the place where kids felt safe, so if they needed to get away, they could come over here for a bit… Well, I got my wish! What I never realized, was what was really entailed in being that Mom!
I live in a cul-de-sac with 22 children under the age of 12. There are also several middle school children. That doesn’t even include all the kids that live in the townhomes behind us that often come down the hill to hang out. As you can imagine, we have A LOT of kid-traffic around here!! I feel a little bad for the one single woman who no longer has little ones, and yet, still has to “deal” with them every time she comes home!
Some of the awesome things about being the Mom that all the kids want to hang out with, is that I have no shortage of people to play catch with (at least, until my shoulder starts to get too sore to throw any more). If I ever get bored, I can pretty much step outside, and be surrounded with people to talk to. I can send my kids outside to play, and know that they will have no problem finding children to play with. I find out a lot of what’s going on through talking with the kids, and the parents (mostly Moms, but I can’t really leave Dustin or Scott out). As soon as my van pulls into the circle, or my garage door starts to open, it seems like there are children right there, ready to hang out!
Some of the not-so-awesome things is that any time my garage is open, the neighborhood kids assume that means it is a free-for-all for the toys in there. I don’t mind sharing, but I get frustrated when things go missing or get broken (especially Michael’s brand new scooter he got for Christmas)! I think it’s partly my fault for allowing them to play with our stuff all the time when I used to always be out there. Now that the kids are getting older, I sometimes take advantage of the time they are outside to catch up on emails or facebook, or sneak in some cleaning. I have been spending a bit more time outside again lately, but sometimes, I just need a minute with no kids around!!
Ah yes, that is a disadvantage of being an Early Childhood Teacher, Mom and “Neighborhood Mom.” Face it, not every day with your own children are all sunshine and roses. For those of you who have never worked with little children, take those days, and multiply by 2-10 kids (depending on the age group you are working with). On the days when it seems like there are lots of crabby or aggressive kids, it can be particularly hard to come home to your own kids who are likely to be extra crabby on those same days! Sometimes, I just have to come home, and shut the garage door (so no one thinks my house looks like a good place to play)… those days also tend to be days when my kids get to watch a little more TV, just so I can have a break…
It might sound like I am complaining, but really, I’m not!! I love working with young children. I love being a Mom, and I like being that person that the kids can come hang with once in a while. I love being able to love up on all the kids I can!! Sometimes, like all teachers, I just need to do a better job of balancing that out with time with adults, or time by myself. I think that is how we adults (who are also parents and teachers) can keep our sanity in check!