It’s back-to-school season, and for the first time, all three of my children are in school all day, every weekday. The right thing to do in a situation like this would be to make a pitcher of mimosas every morning as I pack their lunches, and enjoy my free time until 3 p.m. What I’m actually doing is going back to school myself. I’ve taken a part-time teaching position, returning to the classroom after 14 years away. I’m excited to be back.

It’s back-to-school season, and for the first time, all three of my children are in school all day, every weekday. The right thing to do in a situation like this would be to make a pitcher of mimosas every morning as I pack their lunches, and enjoy my free time until 3 p.m.


What I’m actually doing is going back to school myself. I’ve taken a part-time teaching position, returning to the classroom after 14 years away. I’m excited to be back.


My children, however, aren’t so excited. Oh, they’re enthusiastic about their own classes; it’s my school they’re not so sure about.


When I told them a few weeks ago that I’d be going to work a few days a week, there were doubtful looks all around. My 6-year-old spoke up first, with a trembling voice.


“Mom, who’s going to watch us while you teach?” he said fearfully.


I reminded him that teachers teach while kids are in school, so I’d be working while he was busy, anyway. Problem solved.


My 9-year-old thought about it for a while and then blurted out, “So you’re not going to be home while we’re in school?” I could see the panic in her eyes.


“No, honey, I’ll be at work, teaching my classes,” I said. “But if your teachers or the school nurse ever have to call me, they have my phone number. I can come get you if you need me.”


She seemed reassured. I looked at my kindergartner, my baby, sure that he’d have some worries to be soothed and fears to be calmed. I waited expectantly.


“What?” he said.


“Oh, I was just wondering if you have any questions about Mommy’s new teaching job,” I said, gently.


“Nope,” he said.


Well, that was a relief. “Oh, good,” I cooed. “You know that Mommy will be here after school,” I continued.


“Yup,” he said confidently. The little guy was taking it really well.


“Well, what do you think of Mommy having a teaching job?” I asked, bracing myself for the tears.


He flashed me a smile and a thumbs-up, and said, “Can I play Wii now?”


So much for the youngest needing a mother’s gentle care.


I’m actually the one who needs some reassurance. I’ve been telling myself that I’ve simply joined the ranks of working moms everywhere, who have to balance their work obligations with their family lives. I’m not the only woman who can’t drop off and pick up her children at school every day, nor am I the only teacher whose first day of classes fell on the same day as her baby’s first day of school, but I still get teary thinking about it.


I’ve been fortunate to work at home for the past nine years and to witness many, many milestones in my children’s lives. Eschewing the mimosas in favor of the whiteboard is a milestone in mine.


Julie Fay is a winner of the 2010 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Read more at www.juliefaysblog.blogspot.com.