Balancing Act: How Becoming a Mother Made Me a Better School Counselor

This piece was supposed to be published elsewhere. It wasn’t. I am a grown woman (Cue Beynonsense). I know what it means when people say there is more than one way to skin a cat. Enjoy the read kitties!

If you take a poll of the room you are in right now and asked people what a school counselor does; the answers will be unusually varied for a profession that has been around since the late 1800’s. Some people don’t even know what you are talking about unless you use the antiquated term guidance. But those of us in the trenches attempting to influence America’s youth with very little recognition understand how essential we are to the pedagogy.

A counselor knows the importance of social and emotional health and how it directly relates to academic achievement. A school counselor is a magician of sorts managing to juggle parent/teacher conferences, mediation, and character lessons.  And what about that phone call from the parent that is over-sharing and thinks that you are therapeutic? I am responsible for a lot professionally; why would I want to add being responsible for a whole other person? Why? Because children are the spice of life; they are the cream that rises to the top.

Becoming a Mom has sharpened my relationship building skills.  When I look at little Johnny, I can now imagine him as my son. I can approach a difficult conversation with compassion and empathy because I can now put myself in the parent’s shoes. I communicate better with teachers and administrators in my building in an effort to holistically come up with interventions that address behavior. After all, I would want someone to take that kind of time on my child. Everything in life is about relationships. My students are always watching and I want to model for them what I am expecting from them.

Motherhood has made me a time management guru. If it is not written down, it is not real. Being the CEO of my home means I have to cook two meals every time I do cook because I don’t cook every day. I do this to free up time to do other things like, workout. Grocery list, to-do-list, the-kid-needs-this-list, keep me organized. I love my phone with all its reminders dings and bells. Managing my time at home directly translates to organizing my-self in the workplace. Reminders on Outlook keep me going to more meetings than my mind can remember. At work I must prioritize duties and it is the same at home. If you are lacking in this skill and care about doing a good job; go have a baby, your skills will be instantly honed.

Even when I don’t feel like it, being a mother has encouraged me to always do my best. Feelings are temporary, so whether I feel like being on my best behavior or not; I always choose the best because I know little eyes are watching me. This same rule applies to being a school counselor. There are students and colleagues that will and do challenge your sensibilities. This just comes with the territory of being around people. Despite how you might feel about someone in the workplace, you always want to give your personal best. Children deserve this, definitely mine.

Ten Ways to Stop Being A B*@#H!

It is the New Year and everyone is armed with their resolutions. Good luck with that, I hope it sticks this time. If you are new here, my name is Thembi aka A King’s Ma and I am the mother of a 1-year-old sun named King. He makes me want to be a better person. (Cue As Good As It Gets) I’ve done a lot a work on myself. I have dredged through getting to a healthy place in regards to my self-esteem and worthiness. But there are other areas of opportunities that require examination and shifting. While I’m on this journey, I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned, what works and what does not. So instead of boring you with a list a resolutions that will never come to fruition, I offer you tips on b&@#h exorcism.

 

  1. Smile. Sounds easy right? Well my “regular” face is perceived by many as “stank”. I can be minding my own business, tending to the people in my head and the people in the world think I am angry. I am not but their perception is their reality. I had to practice in the mirror. I meditate smiling so my face can get use resting in that position. Trust me, a smile disarms people and makes things easier.
  2. Do something nice for a person who provides a service for you. I live for my eyebrow threader. I come close to tears and an adult tantrum when she goes home to India. And when she goes she stays for two to three months. Grrr!  Jeet is fabulous. She is so kind and patient. I always have plenty of directions when it comes to the shape of my eyebrows. She always tries to give me what I ask for. Jeet is a Sikh and probably doesn’t celebrate Christmas. However, I did bring her an aloe plant for the holidays. I love aloe plants and I love Jeet, it seemed fitting. I did something a little extra so she knows I appreciate her. She was gracious and very surprised. Now you try it.
  3. Quit watching Ratchet T.V.! Release the tight grip around your pearls and continue reading. My greatest commodity is my time. Now that I am a mother I treasure my personal time. Television takes up a lot of time. I understand the need to relax and decompress after a long day but I’m sure there are more constructive ways to do this than watching reality TV. Most of the women on these shows are poor representations of the feminine. And instead of watching someone else live their dreams and get paid for it; spend that time working on yours. I too rationalize the ratchetness as entertainment but I’m sure some of that is seeping into my subconscious. If you don’t want to be a b%$#h quit watching them on TV. I have not kicked the habit completely but I am cutting back.
  4. Let someone in your lane while in traffic. Send the person that just cut you off blessings instead of the bird. If you ever want to evaluate where you are spiritually, check yourself in rush hour traffic. It will reveal a lot!
  5. Give money to the people on the street begging for it. It is not our business what they use it for. This exercise is more about the intent in which the money is given.
  6. Call the family member you said you were going to call last year, last week, and last night. If you love someone one let them know, reach out to them. Do it today, tomorrow isn’t promised.
  7. Be nice to the lady/man on your job who makes it their life’s business to get on your nerves. At my day job there is a woman who I tried to be friends with because I thought we had a lot in common. She throws me tons of shade and only speaks to me if I speak to her first. The old me could have won the you don’t exist contest but the new me doesn’t play games. I continue to speak and continue to be polite since we have to coexist in the work place. You will encounter challenging people all the time. BEEEEEEP. This is only a test. Act accordingly.
  8. Exercise. I don’t care what it is, get your body moving. Exercise releases endorphins, which is the body’s natural happy juice. Exercise is also a constructive way to release aggression. Instead of cursing out your unsuspecting mate; demolish that tread mill. The tread mill has no feelings; your man does. You can walk away from the gym with your relationship intact and a few pounds lighter. And losing weight always puts me in a good mood.
  9. Give compliments. Give them freely and be sincere. I notice shoes and hair immediately. If there is something I like, you will know. Feel free to do the same with me. The mom shoe game is different but still hot! Peep my new functional fancy style.
  10. Send hand written thank you cards. If someone looked out for you in a way they didn’t have to, thank them, promptly. I recommend having a stock pile of blank thank you notes. Send them within 48 hours. This actually might be a standard of etiquette you teach your children. People will appreciate the gesture. When was the last time you received a hand written note.

 

Happy New Year folks! Plant seeds of prosperity and try not to be a B*&@H!

 

~A King’s Ma