I went back to work a few weeks ago. It terrified me and I questioned the decision daily but ultimately jumped back into hosting piano lessons in my home and commuting with both kids 45 minutes north once a week to tutor.
To make it all happen, I drive the girls up to my mom’s house while I teach in her town. Then all three of us stay the night with my parents and drive home in the morning. My mom drives her car down and helps out here, prepping the house for piano lessons, babysitting the kids while I teach (along with my amazing neighborhood babysitter), and then helping with dinner and bath time before heading home. Hubs is responsible for picking up the house the night we are gone so it’s presentable to students and their parents. And we all get a little help from the frozen entree aisle in the grocery store. It’s stressful and exhausting. It means I have to carve out time each week to lesson plan, usually while wearing the baby and tossing snacks at the toddler.
But it’s worth it.
My house is guaranteed to get a fresh, clean start one day each week. My open floor plan means that students and parents can see every room on the first floor from my front door. No hiding sinks full of dishes or forgetting to pick the toddler underwear up from the living room floor. The rest of the week, it looks like a catastrophic Babies ‘R’ Us explosion has ransacked the house. But on lesson day? We pass for clean(ish).
And me? Those two days I am forced to dry my hair, put on makeup, and find some pants that fit from a drawer other than the one housing all my pajamas. I feel pretty on those days. I think it’s just as important to let go of the expectation that I need to get dressed (or shower) every day. I have a newborn, for crying out loud. But I still need days to take care of myself – to feel like how I look matters.
But the best part is how the lessons make me feel. Once my student walks in and hands me their lesson notebook, I go into the zone. I am a great teacher. Responsive to student strengths and weaknesses, motivating, kind, funny. My enthusiasm rubs off on the kids and the energy we share is addictive. There’s nothing quite like the high of hearing a student work on a piece for weeks only to come in one lesson and nail it, their face glowing with pride. Two days a week, I get to share my love of math and music. I get to build self-esteem in my students. I get to relax and have fun. Because when I teach, I feel more like myself than any other time.
It’s a part of my soul – and I’m committed to making it a priority. Everyone should have something that makes them feel “in the zone.” What’s yours?