I don’t have much quiet time, but when I do I am probably reading a few pages of a book or listening to a podcast. My favorite podcast is Death, Sex, Money. It covers everything (as the title suggests). If you haven’t looked into it, start today and go through the whole feed. Avoid the episode about Baby Karl unless you are ready to cry for hours and hug your kids all night long (seriously, that’s what I did).
Anyways, one of the most recent episodes was an interview with Anna Chlumsky. I hope the name is familiar, but if not she is the actress in the ever-so-popular-coming-of-age-tear-jerker-90s movie My Girl (and My Girl 2 – you know you watched it too). If you were around in the 90s you know it, or maybe you just should.
She’s on Veep now so she’s a working mom (she actually just had her second baby this month). At the end of the podcast she brought up the theory of the “mother bird”. She probably didn’t coin it or think of it (I don’t know, she’s kind of perfect in my mind so maybe she did), but I loved it. As a teacher I have just started to work again and although I am not complaining, I did need a bit of a jump-start to get back into “working mom mode.”
The mother bird has to leave the nest in order to get the worm. It’s her job, it’s what she does. She does it automatically, day after day to feed her young. She does it because no one else will (well ok, maybe there is some help from daddy bird). She saves it in her own mouth and then feeds it nice and mushy to her crying babies. It’s her job.
Tomorrow morning I am going to wake up and get the worm. I am going to teach 150 high school kids while thinking of my own kids every minute, but I have to do it – it’s my job. I’ll come home and I’ll snuggle them, kiss them and feed them popsicles and they will be happy. I’ll do this for 180 days (175 now, but who’s counting) and then I’ll take a break with them and instead of going every morning to get the worm, we can wake up when we want to, eat what we want and go to the beach (or pool if it’s that kind of day).
I am the mama bird doing her job and I’ll do it as best I can so that I can get my kids all they need.
I know the “worm” means different things to different people. Kids also need healthy meals, diapers changed, fun adventures and cuddles when they are sick. I do that too, but because I work I miss things. Which is why it’s important to know it’s my job to do all that, but also do that other thing I have going on in my life – teaching.
I admire Anna and her analogy that even I (with my clouded, frazzled teacher brain) could get. As this three-day weekend winds down I hope we can all recognize the hard-work we do and maybe, just maybe feel good about all the “worms” we catch.