|be connected | March/April 2016
The view from my kitchen sink:
Connecting to my inner mom
by Tara Kranz
The idea came to me suddenly and out of nowhere, like a lightning bolt or a toddler's tantrum. It was uninvited and unwarranted, but as I stood in front of my class of 22 students, trying to explain the uses of a semicolon, it bulldozed into my life and refused to leave. Maybe I should be a stay-at-home mom. For three frustrating and exhilarating years, I had molded the minds of a myriad of bright and sometimes not-so-shining faces. Every day, one hundred students of six different grade levels passed through my classroom. Some learned with anticipation; others learned with contempt. Either way, I was sure I was born to teach them and, whether it was a good day or bad, I was most at home in the classroom. This was true until I became pregnant with my son and realized I would be most at home with him.
The decision to quit my career and stay at home full time was an obvious one for me and my husband; however, it has been anything but easy. I thought my life was difficult when I had a career that consumed all of my time and energy -- papers to correct, behaviors to address, curriculum to plan, books to read, worksheets to make, lesson plans to write, meetings to attend and emails to send.
Despite my love for my career, I adapted to motherhood without any major speed bumps. The diapers, sleepless nights, and constant supervision were simply adjustments that needed to be made. Adapting to a quieter life, on the other hand, has continued to prove itself as my biggest obstacle. I used to bounce between dozens of varying personalities seamlessly, like an NBA basketball. Now, I bounce between a little boy's moods, which consist only of hunger, smiles, or sleepiness.
I began this new mothering adventure with zeal, believing I would be busier than a beaver, running this way and that to keep my little man happy. This was true for the first few months, as it is for most new mothers who have very little idea of what they are actually doing. However, as I became more familiar with my new daily surroundings, the slowness of my life began to weigh upon me. I woke every morning with nowhere to go; when my husband inquired about my plans, I had little to say. My most exciting outing of the week was to Cash Wise and this was only exciting because my son was usually screaming before we even entered the store. It began to seem as though my obvious purpose in life, to raise my son, was not going to be enough to satisfy my desire for daily human interaction.
Something needed to change. I was thrilled to stay home, but I was looking to do away with the listlessness I felt when the baby was asleep or playing quietly by himself. I began to cultivate some long procrastinated hobbies, such as cooking and sewing. I started a blog and actually finished a book I was not intending to teach. Perhaps the most thrilling discovery I made as I built my new identity was the vast world of other stay-at-home moms. Once I finally plugged myself into the mom world, I was pleasantly surprised by how much there is for moms to do with their kiddos. My son and I now fill our days with playdates of all kinds. We enjoy various activities offered at the BSC Aquatic & Wellness Center and the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Library (my son's favorite activity is story time with Miss Sparkles).
There was a time when the adjustment from teacher to full-time mom seemed insurmountable, but I have now fully immersed myself in this new world and am not looking back. Pictures, memories, and keepsakes are all I have left of my years as a teacher. The view from my kitchen sink as my son plays with his cars at my feet differs vastly from the view I had from my podium in my classroom, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Tara Kranz is an English teacher turned stay-at-home mom from Bismarck. She is an aspiring freelance writer who enjoys blogging, crafting, getting involved at church, movie nights with her husband and whatever will make her son smile.