My 5 Tips for Teacher Work-Home Balance will definitely help if you always feel your work as a teacher seems to take over your home life or vice versa? I’ve been a working teacher mom for almost eight years now. I can’t believe my son is almost eight years old! After giving birth to him in the spring of 2013, I was back in the classroom that August. I am no expert. I have worked with tons of amazing women with much longer experience being a working mother and with many more kids. They are the true superheroes and they’ve taught me some things over the years. Also, with trial and error, I’ve found what works for me. Here are 5 tips to help you as a teacher with your work-home life balance. They work for me, and I want to pass them along to you.
Tip #One for Work-Home Balance is to Get Everything Ready the Night Before
This is a classic one: get everything ready the night before. This is definitely the best tip for teacher work-home life balance. Fill up water bottles. Pack lunches. Wash your pump and pack it up if you’re a pumping mother with a nursing baby like me! Steam clothes and lay them out. Put bags and shoes by the door. Basically, do as much as you can the night before. It makes the morning so much less chaotic. Some evenings I’m so exhausted from teaching and mothering, that getting up to prepare for the next day is the last thing I want to do, but I force myself. My husband helps a ton too! Getting ready the night before really pays off for a smooth and happy morning. Giving yourself and your kiddos a positive start to the day is what matters.
Tip #Two: Make Dinner Time as Easy as Possible
Speaking of the evening, make dinner time as easy on you as possible. I don’t know about you, but we simply can’t afford to eat out every night, and we would rather save that money for something else. I am the cook in our family, so I try to make simple meals that can be made quickly. Also, as I’m making dinner, I think about the next night’s dinner and what I need to thaw out. I have a rotation of meals that our family enjoys that is simple for me to make. These are just a few simple dinners I make:
- Turkey sloppy joes with frozen fries
- Tacos with chips and salsa
- Spaghetti and Salad
- Oven-baked chicken with roasted veggies
Additionally, I am a big fan of the crockpot slow cooker! I will thaw meats out overnight and pop it into the slow cooker the next morning. Roasted pork tenderloin with potato and carrots, beef stew, and chicken for enchiladas are some of my favorite slow cooker meals. Furthermore, I don’t have to tell you the benefits of grocery pickup that make meal planning even easier. For some super awesome and easy recipes, click here for Aubrey’s 50 Easy Back to School Crock Pot Recipes.
Tip #Three: Spend Your Time at School Wisely
For the third tip for teacher work-home life balance, spend your time at school wisely. During my planning period at school, I need to use 15 minutes of that time to pump, so this year I have even less time. I typically save Monday morning prep time for running copies and split up the rest of my planning periods during the week to plan or grade depending on my mood. Also, when I start a task, I don’t like to leave it unfinished. I used to save the planning for all afternoon on Sundays or all night, after school, on Thursdays.
Once my second child was born this last spring (yes, a 2020 baby!) I knew I couldn’t do my planning in one long stretch. Now, I break it up. Sometimes, I can get ten minutes done during homeroom and five minutes while students are writing a Bellinger. The pieced-together lesson planning throughout the week, while at school, adds up to not having to take as much work home. Another tip is to not chit chat at work if you can. It’s fun to connect with coworkers, but even cutting back the amount of time socializing can save you from bringing even more work home.
Tip #Four is to Get Up Early!
Get up early! I know. I get it. You’ve been up late with a teething baby or maybe your toddler had a sleep regression. Maybe you’ve been up late grading papers or lesson planning. My two kiddos have never been the best sleepers, so I know what it’s like to try to function on caffeine and dry shampoo. Getting up early, although so difficult, can become a habit. I love to be able to get ready at my own pace while the house is still quiet. I like to sip my coffee and put my makeup on without any disturbances. This does not always happen every day as a child does wake up earlier than normal, or I hit the snooze button a couple of times; however, the times I can wake up earlier has made the morning so much smoother.
Tip #Five is to Put Your Mind Where Your Body Is
I once heard in a TV show, “Put your mind where your body is.” This quote from the ABC show “A Million Little Things,” had a profound impact on my life. It basically means to be present right where you are! As a mother, we worry a lot. When I’m at school, I think about my kids and my brain gets distracted. I think about what I have to do at home. I think about my to-do list that awaits me as I walk through the door. Then, when I’m at home and doing those chores, I think about my endless to-do list at school. It makes for never-ending misery.
So, wherever my body is, I now focus my mind there. When I’m at school, I try my very best to think about school and the things I must accomplish. When I’m at home tackling my responsibilities, I push out school from my mind. This has helped me focus more, get work done efficiently, and make me feel not so overwhelmed! So, “Put your mind where your body is.”
I hope these tips for teacher work-home life balance can be of some help to you! I have not quite figured it all out, even after eleven years of teaching and almost eight years of being a working mom. My house isn’t always clean and I’m not always even listening to my own advice; nevertheless, working moms are amazing! So are stay at home moms! We get the privilege to be BOTH as teachers with our summers off or extended breaks. Enjoy your decision to be a teacher mom and know that your kiddos (both in and out of school) appreciate all you do.