Being a Mom and an Educator

From poor soil, children in the education system.

Working with kids is what I do, and if you haven’t read my previous post ‘Dear Shitty Parents‘ – please head on over and read it…like it, comment on it!

Recognizing that young people are like plants is part one of my job.  Each child comes in a different shape and size, with different abilities and preferences. Their Microsystems or ‘Soil‘ is their family, peers, school, church and access to the health system.  Extended family, mass media, local politics and policies, social services and parents’ job are the Exosystem or the “weather and animals” that effect the plant.  There are two other systems and I won’t bore you to death with the Socioecological System of Resiliency.  (Whoa, I’m putting my diploma to good use here!!)

Anyway, back to the young people are like plants and soil topic.

Working in the education system, I see a lot of kids who have been planted in ‘good soil’ and also in ‘bad soil’.  8 times out of 10, it’s the child who comes from the bad soil that I am paired with.  Their parents aren’t able to care for them, may be substance abusers and physically abuse, sexually abuse or neglect their child.  Sometimes, it’s all of those.  That’s where people in my profession come in.

To me, educational assistants, are fertilizer.  So what does that mean?  Well many of the students we work with are unable to advocate for themselves, so we go to bat for them.  We request training, meetings and specialized equipment to ensure student success…in short, we take that crappy soil, and try to turn it into something that can allow that child to grow, branch out and flower.

SIDE NOTE: Before I start to get pissy comments saying ‘My kid has an EA and comes from a good home!’  Yes, I know, there are children who require an EA because of developmental difficulties.  However, more and more frequently, EA’s are being paired with the child who is referred to as ‘behavioural’….which is a nice way of saying “They kick the shit out of teachers, administrators and other students and are otherwise undiagnosed.”  Meaning, yes, I understand that a child with a diagnosis may have some behavioral difficulties -but the key word there is DIAGNOSED. 

Honing in on a child’s resiliency is an uphill battle a lot of the time – especially when it comes to the children with a poor home life.  That soil this child is coming from makes my job difficult, but every once in a while, you see that even the most fragile of plants can grow from the worst conditions. And that my friend, makes my job all the worth the effort.

If you want to hear from a person outside the profession, check out Gary Direnfeld.

“The EA is the system the educational system has put in place to enable the challenged students’ participation in education, to facilitate learning, to in turn facilitate later autonomy, independence and social functioning.” Gary Direnfeld



Buryvia Daily Prompt: Bury

I have a confession to make.

Every morning for the past 3 years I’ve buried a woman.  Some nights I dig up her grave, reminisce over her and in the morning, I bury her again.  It’s morbid.  I should just let her go and rejoice in life without her.

She is me.

I was changed 3 years ago when I found out I was going to be a mother.  It’s so cliche – but you are changed.

I enjoyed my life prior to children – I drank socially, partied most weekends, ate soft cheeses, sushi and stayed up past 9:30 pm on a weekend!  I went to dance clubs, had a smokin’ body – looked after said body with a rigorous workout routine.  I had perky boobs a firm butt and no stretch marks.  My hair was long, lavish and washed most days.  I could wear skin tight jeans that showed off just the right amount of curve.  I could rock a thong and not feel silly.  If I wanted to, I would pick up and move at the drop of a hat.  Hell, if I wanted chips at 2:30 in the morning, I could go get some chips!

Then – 2 lines on a pee stick and I was changed.

I enjoy my life now.  I have two beautiful children who have stretched my body and heart in ways I didn’t know possible.  I still drink socially (if you count drinking with a dog, cat and husband being social), but its less frequent-ish.  I go to parties…but these are generally filled with other small children.  Soft cheeses give me heartburn and the last time I had sushi I got food poisoning.  I rarely have time to deep condition my hair, I rock comfy pants. My boobs – well, let’s say 2 bouts of breastfeeding and they aren’t where they used to be! I teach a dance fitness, and while I may not have the smokin’ hot body of the 25 year old me, I have a body that moves with grace and pride, after all, it grew two humans.  I have more curves, and they’re softer but much better for small bodies to be comforted with.  Now, I just find thongs uncomfortable.

This may sound like I’m complaining – and there are some days where I really miss that girl, but every morning I bury that girl, because the woman who gets up has two sweet souls who adore her.


The 20th Mile in the Marathon of Motherhood.

Source: The 20th Mile in the Marathon of Motherhood.

Dear Shitty Parents

Source: Dear Shitty Parents

There’s this website…and it’s full of lies.

Damn you certain crafting website!  DAMN YOU!!

I have been looking up activites to do while nursing Muffin so my Wiggleman can have something to do. Enter ‘toddler busy bags’, ‘quiet toddler activites’ and ‘things your toddler can do while you’re nursing’ searches.

The educator in me was SO EXCITED!  Matching games! Fine motor skills! Counting! Pre-writing excersizes! etc.  Things I do with the kids at school that I could do with my son while my daughter napped or breastfed.  Things my kids with special needs do to keep them busy while I set up another activity for them.  Things I thought I could get my own child to do for about a half hour.

Ya, except, Wiggleman is named such for a very specific reason – he is active.  So sitting down to match something lasts about 7.4 seconds, and then he’s jumping, running, stomping, yelling and doing everything a not quiet 3 year old is supposed to do or he’s doing it while he’s completing the task. Add to that, he is very bright and the tasks that were supposed to take at least 10 minutes take those 7.4 seconds.

Here are some of those activities:


The bag is full of baby lotion and I wrote his name on the back, he can trace his name through the bag by smashing the lotion out of the way.


This game putting the colors in order from lightest to darkest.  I also have a bunch of colors and we put all the green together, all the blue etc.

We also have this…

I poked holes in foam blocks and he threaded them through on spaghetti. 

Aside from the number recognition, my little man has done these activities in a blink of an eye…leaving me going …. “SH*T! What am I going to do with you now?”

I’m trying to limit screen time – but this kid is seriously making it hard.  Granted there are days he absolutely wants nothing to do with his Edumomma and her activites like today…

It was supposed to be ‘match the pattern’, but instead he built, roared at, smashed and ran away.  Any attempt at getting him to match was a temper tantrum and waking up his sister.

I get it, he’s almost 3 – I’ve probably picked a few activties that are ‘over the top’ and out of his age range…but the educator in me can’t stand to plop him in front of a TV while I nurse Muffin for the bazillionth time.  The tired mom in me…wants to.

But here’s where the lies come in.  I was sucked into creating these busy bags by pictures of toddlers on that website, smiling doing the activities all happy as a frickin’ clam with the blogger tagging it ‘quiet time activity’.  Where is this mythical unicorn of a toddler?  I have no such creature who will sit quietly and do activity after activity (for a half hour) from their ‘busy bag’ so I can nurse.  I have the wonderfully bright, loud, stomping kid who for the past two weeks has tried to convince me, his father and sister (and probably most of the neighborhood) that he’s a dinosaur.

So next time you’re surfing said website – remember it’s full of lies, especially when it comes to your own child.



The 20th Mile in the Marathon of Motherhood.

There are some days I run this marathon and cross the finish line like a champ.  Cue champagne, confetti and cheering.  There are other days that I limp across, bruised and blistered (cue a cold beer and a look at my husband that clearly states ‘not tonight sweetheart!) and still other days where I’m carried across that finish line on a stretcher (cue tears, chocolate and more tears).

Lately that seems to be the case.  I have a busy toddler and a newborn and feel like most days I’m either limping across that finish line or being carried across.  If you ask any runner what the hardest part of the marathon is, they’ll say ‘Mile 20’.  Which is odd to me, a non runner.  I mean, you’ve run 20 miles already and “only” have 6 more to go.  But it was explained to me that the human body can really only run 20 miles without having to stop and refuel – hence why the 20th mile is the hardest.  Because runners have to dig deep and just keep moving.  Kinda like motherhood.

Right now, I’m in my 20th mile.  I’m tired because I have a 6 week old, I’m breastfeeding and have a dog with diarrhea.  I’ve just gotten over strep throat, my toddler had an infection in his finger and also had a stomach flu.  We’ve had a LONG month.

I’m not going to lie, I hate running, and you probably won’t see me in any marathon. Probably because I’d quit around that 20th mile but quitting on being a mom hasn’t occurred to me.  Sure, like most sane women, I’ve fantasizes about going away to a place where I have a king size bed to myself, a handsome well oiled man who will massage me and not ask for sex, unlimited Netflix, a good book and my favorite food just a call away.  It’d be great…for a day to two….then I’d miss my babies and want to come home.

You see, that is the curse of this motherhood marathon.  From the moment I saw those 2 lines on the pregnancy test it was Ready? Set? HA! It doesn’t matter – GO! And I’ve been running ever since because there was no other option.  You can’t quit at mothering.

Being a mother isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s exhausting, painful, messy and exhilarating all at the same time.  Many times, I’m pushed to the edge where I throw my hands up and beg for the gurney to carry me to the end of the day.  But much like a runner in training, I get up and do it all over again the next day. So on days when life is just so, so hard I remind myself that this is a marathon.  I remind myself that this is one day of a long, long run.  I remind myself it will get better.
I remind myself that things will get easier as the kids get older.  I remind myself to take a deep breath and realize that one day my kids will (please, please)make dinner for me and probably sooner than I want, I’ll reminisce about this 20th Mile.

I will always remember

A letter to my first born, my son…I will always remember.

As your time as an only child is drawing to a close, I wanted to let you know, I will remember.

I will always remember that you are and forever will hold the ‘first’ title in our family. I will always remember the joy, the indescribable joy of seeing those two lines on the pregnancy test and telling your father, he was going to be a Daddy. I won’t forget the first time I saw your tiny movements on a screen and really believed you were inside of me. I will remember the look on your father’s face, the complete awe and love, when they placed you pink and wriggly on my chest. You, my child, were the first one to show me that love is endless, boundless and overwhelming at times.

I will remember those first few months – I had a hard time. I was terrified that somehow I was going to lose you. That you wouldn’t make it – you were so tiny and helpless. I will remember the first time you smiled at me (we were in the kitchen and you looked at me, really truly looked at me and smiled)…and suddenly all of my anxiety melted away. It was like you were saying ‘you can do this Mommy, I believe in you!’.

I will always remember that you were the first to call me ‘Mama’. That you taught me the true meaning of love, pride and joy. You’ve also taught me that motherhood is so full of bittersweet moments; of holding on and letting go all at the same time. I will remember your first taste of solid foods, first word, how you stomp crawled around our house, your first tooth, haircut and time getting the stomach flu.

I will remember that because of you, I will be able to love your sister, and love her well, because you dealt with all my fumbles as a first time Mommy. I will remember your gentle, good nature, when I’m at my wits end dealing with a newborn and toddler. How you asked for a baby doll, and took care of her, before your sister arrived in the world. I will remember all these things and so much more as I watch you become a big brother.

I know you’re too young now, and won’t remember the times when it was just you, Daddy and I, but I want you to know that these firsts are what I cherish most in my life and I will keep my promise. I will always remember them.

Love always and forever, Mommy.

Dear Shitty Parents

With the new school year upon us, I’m finding myself having a hard time going ‘back’. And it’s not because of the day in and day out of dealing with behaviors in the classroom. It’s not having to re-teach already learned skills. It’s not because it’s the first day, and I’ve ‘had my summer off’.

No. It’s because of you…shitty parents.

Now, I’m not talking to the folks out there who think they are shitty. Or the ones who occasionally f*ck up. Or even the ones who try. Because at LEAST they’re trying. I’m talking to the ones who don’t give a shit.


I hate you because you give me your child to fix. To love. To hope for. To celebrate. TO BE THEIR SUPPORT. I’ve worried about YOUR child at some point this summer. I’ve worried if they’ll come to school on the first day with a new backpack, shoes or at the very least a half decent lunch. And for the most part, they will. You’ll have pulled your shit together enough to make it ok for the first week or at least until picture day.

Then it starts. The dark circles under their eyes, the crummy lunches, or even no lunch at all. The unexplainable bruises or scabs. The cat urine soaked clothing, the smell of not being bathed in a while, the messy hair and poor clothing choices for the weather. The behaviors….oh dear Lord, the behaviors.

I’ll be putting your child in time out constantly or they will be visiting the office. I’ll be keeping them in at recesses, or taking away gym time or free time.  On really bad days, probably all three of those.  I’ll be explaining that we don’t hit (or swear or kick) at school – because I sure as shit know you hit (or swear or kick etc.) at home. I’ll be making phone calls to Children’s Aid on a bi-weekly basis. I’ll document, document and document some more.  I’ll spend time trying to figure out how to make school as safe place for your child. How to help them learn.  I’ll reward them as frequently as possible – more so than the other kids. Show them that they have someone they can look up to that they can be more than the product of their environment.

I’ll take time away from my family.  Whether it’s calling CAS or meeting with other professionals to figure our how to help your child overcome the barriers you’ve set before them.  There will be days I go home and cry.  Cry becasause I fear for them, I feel hopeless for them and I’ll hold my child a little harder because I can’t hold yours.

I will advocate for them and protect them and love them in any way possible, despite you.  In every way I will be the support you are not. I HATE YOU, because you lucky SOB, your child will not.


An Educator on her way Back.


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