Mother’s Day Teachers: Ms. Mattingly


I’m just a brand new mom actually so it’s my first Mother’s Day. I have one kid, her name is Parker Jones. So Mr. Jones and I had a daughter in January; She’s brand new, only three and a half months old. 

The biggest challenge this year for me was when I went back after maternity leave, since she’s literally in the room next to me. When she’s crying, I have those maternal instincts to just reach out and hold her. But, I’m obviously dedicated to my students and a professional. It does tug on my heartstrings when she’s right next door and I can hear her. She doesn’t do it very often but when she does, I just want to go hold her. 

If anything, it’s been pretty nice this year, because anytime we have a break, I just get to see her and I wouldn’t have that if we weren’t at home so there are those pros and cons to distance learning.

I think being a mom really humbles you and makes you see the world in a different way. I’m just experiencing that for the first time ever. I think it humbled me, but also made me more empathetic. I thought I was a pretty empathetic person before, like I can see where my students are coming from. But now, I can put it in the perspective of when my kid goes through school, how I will want students to be treated in class. I mean, I’ve always treated my students the way I would want to be treated, no matter what I’ve always done that. But it just adds that extra level of understanding, to really feel for the students. Even though she’s just a baby at this point, you think about the future constantly, and it’s something that’s opened my eyes. 

One of the hardest things is grading because when the school day is over, I am done with my lessons, and that feels great. Then, I’m supposed to go onto grading and I have QUEST for my classes, for example. So I have multiple classes that I have to grade – four to six pages of essays, for example and that is one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with. Time management of getting the grading done in a timely manner, but also balancing that time with my daughter, because she’s only going to be this age once. 

Being a mom is amazing, but it is so challenging. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever done in my entire life and I think I’ve done some pretty hard jobs. For teaching, especially when you’re a beginning teacher in the very first couple of years, it’s not an easy job. However, this job is just 24/7. It’s all throughout the night staying up. When they don’t sleep, you don’t sleep and then you have to go to work the next day. You have to be normal, and go through your normal routine. I know so many people have said that to me throughout my entire life, like being a parent is so hard, but you don’t really understand it until you go through it. I’m only in the first three and a half months of being a mom and it’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.

I have to say that what I didn’t realize was gonna get me and melt my heart so much was when she started laughing. I’m not really that big of a softy but I’ve become a total sob about everything. I’m so sensitive now, and in a good way. I guess that goes into probably being a better teacher too. I mean I hope it does, I’ve only been a teacher about a month and a half now with the baby because I got back from maternity leave just recently. But yeah, she totally melted my heart the first time I saw that smile, and I had no idea it was gonna do what it did to me. She laughs every day, and she smiles every day, and it’s just the best thing in the world.