Confessions: The juggling act of a new mom

Friday, June 10, 2016

I have to confess that until I got married in December 2014, I was a bit of a workaholic.  Perhaps that might have been obvious from when I first began writing on this blog or posting on Instagram...  If I wasn't preparing something for my kindergarten classroom, I was studying, blogging, or planning for courses and workshops that I facilitated.  

When I became a wife, I quickly noticed that running a household took up a lot of my time.  And just when I had one area of my life organized, something else seemed to fall short...  This balancing act has continued to be a challenge as a new mother. 

When I think about how my life has changed, I am always thankful first and count my blessings.  Then I step back to the person that I was before, and wonder if I will ever be her again. Was all that I did with my work and studies what truly defined me?  Or is there a new purpose for my journey now as a parent?

I am re-focusing my attention and energy toward my young son. Using the gifts I was given or that I learned over the years to guide our path.  Some weeks are bumpier than others.  I create multiple "to-do lists," and then only scratch off a few tasks.  This has occasionally made me feel a bit overwhelmed, while teaching me the true value of perseverance.  The best things in life, are those that require our patience.

For this reason, I am developing a better appreciation for time. Moments we will never get back again, as well as how to remain present.  Being a mother, means that your child is your first priority.  My goals are still there, but they are taking a little longer to come to fruition!  I have started to learn to say no, and more importantly to forgive myself along the way.  Not everything will get done or be perfect, and that is okay.

This month for instance, I chose my family over an opportunity to teach educators in Beijing, China with York University.  It was a hard decision, as I would have jumped at the chance to revisit Asia in a heart beat.  I have also intentionally slowed down my conference/workshop presentations, reduced my course load, and put my AQ instruction on hold.   Sometimes it is still hard for me to be selective, but then I remember that I have a new job now.  Since I believe strongly that the early years are the foundation for our students' lives, how could I then forget about the impact that I will have with my own child?

Becoming a parent has provided me with a whole new perspective.  My hats go off to all the mothers and fathers who have found a balance between their career/academic goals and family life.

Here are some photographs of my new reality.  You will see that the creativity, environment as third educator, image of the child, wonder, documentation, researcher stance, hundred languages, relationships and learning continue to be present in all that I do.

During my juggling act, I did drop the ball on a few things... Most were minor, but one that I wish I hadn't was registering for the Wonder of Learning conference on June 23rd.  Somehow I misunderstood that it was being hosted by NAREA, and every time that I went on the Ontario Reggio Association's website I waited to find the registration costs and application only to realize that I was on the wrong website!  I thought for sure I could sort this out a month before, but sadly it had already reached capacity.

If you know anyone or a school that has registered several delegates, and one might not be able to attend could you please email me?  Even though I am slowing down (trying to!), there are certainly moments when I have the fear of missing out. This is one of those instances for sure!

In addition, I would also love to hear within the comment section any advice or stories that you have from your parenting journeys!

The trick to juggling is determining 

which balls are made of rubber

and which ones are made of glass.

                                                                                                -Unknown author


  1. Thanks for sharing Joanne!!! I am a mother of two girls and I find the balancing act a daily struggle! I currently teach Grade 1/2 but will be moving into the Kindergarten classroom come Fall which I am truly excited about and nervous at the same time! I always enjoy reading how other mothers/fathers deal with all we have to do and find comfort knowing I am not alone!!! I don't know if it gets easier but I think that as our children grow, and we find things that work for us, and learn what is important to us and our families, maybe the struggle doesn't seem so overwhelming!

    p.s. on a side note, I am very interested in the CTInquiry sessions and follow many of you on instagram! you have all been an amazing inspiration to me and part of my reasoning for wanting to return to the K classroom! :) Thank you for all your amazing posts and work you do for the kids!

    1. Hello Angie,

      Thank you so much for reading the blog and also for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment! I am really pleased to hear that our CTInquiry network has inspired you to return to Kindergarten. It truly is such a wonderful grade and age group to work with! The children are just bursting with wonders and creativity!

      Don't be nervous! Build those strong relationships and let the children guide your direction, while consulting with the program document.

      It's nice to hear that I will eventually find the juggling act a little easier!


      P.S. You are welcome to join our network in person, or through twitter, and snapchat.

  2. Hi Joanne

    Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby. The shift in a woman after she has a child is so profound. I can tell you this from my own experience. Do not give up a single moment with him. Before you know it your son will be a man and you will find yourself wondering where time has gone. I was like you, driven with a deep passion for building my schools, exploring the principles of the Reggio Approach, attending conferences and supporting educators world wide. There is a price to pay for that and often times I gave up time with my family. However, I also gave and received much from them. My heart is full-they are now all grown up, two sons 31 and 27, one married and one to be married in 2017 and a beautiful daughter who is 25 and still at home-we are the best of friends-because of my commitment to them I now enjoy steadfast and loving relationships with them and their significant others-the phone rings often during the day as we exchange "I love you and have a great day". I'm not sorry that I didn't go back to school to finish my degree, or I missed a conference or an opportunity to further my career to gain recognition. No one will remember us when the dust settles because there will always be another great "teacher" or mentor. But our children are our legacy-there is little room for mistakes or regrets with them. So take a deep breath, love abundantly, hugs and kisses are free, milk and cookies and bed times stories rule the night, wrap yourself in the love you have for him-your journey as a mom is just beginning.

    1. Dear Tiziana,

      Thank you for your comment. It means a lot to me and actually brought me to tears this morning. Everything that you write is very sincere and true. So far in my life I have never loved anything more (or think I ever will) than my own child. Perhaps the registration being full for the Reggio conference, was a small sign from above that I can let others learn on my behalf this time. Or there was something that needed my attention more...

      It sounds like you have a wonderful family! I am excited to start to building my legacy in my own children.

      Thank you for your advice! I will certainly remember it when making big decisions.



    2. I agree with everything said in Tiziana's post. Well said :)

  3. Hi Joanne, my daughter is four and my son is two. You will therefore understand that I have little time to write a long message. I started reading and learning about Reggio Approach and early childhood about two years before my daughter was born. I have found that Reggio has greatly enhanced my appreciation for the journey my children have embarked on since birth. I am forever allert to and amazed by what they teach me every day. I see the hundred languages expressed daily and because of the time I spend learning about Reggio, I can trully appreciate each moment of their development. I try to share what I see with others in my family who also have a background in Education, but more traditiomal (ie children are a sponge type mentality) but they don't seem to get it. So not being able to share observations, discuss and exchange ideas, that's perhaps the hardest part. After my son's birth, I chose to take a prolonged break from renumerated work opportunities. It is my gift to me. I am truly not missing out on anything. I take this as a one time opportunity for the most important and intensive research project of my life. I take photos and try to take as many notes as I can to document the process (I have to admit that although I have an anthropology background, I haven't been as thorough at this as I would like). I let them guide me where they need to go and at their pace. Thanks to the time I have spent with El and Em, Loris Malaguzzi's messages become clearer every day. Because I took the time to stand aside for a while, to learn and to observe from my own children, my teaching in the future will be transformed. Mireille

    1. Helo Mireille,

      Wow! Thank you for taking the time away from your young family to read my blog and to leave this beautiful comment! I love what you said - this time truly is a gift to me and my son. Courses, conferences, and professional work will always be there waiting for me! My children will only be at this critical age of development for so long... Baby S is already growing more rapidly than I ever imagined! I will embrace this opportunity to continue to document his learning and create provocations for him to discover.

      Thank you again!!!

      Sincerely yours,


  4. Joanne, you continue to be an inspiration to us all! As a mother of a soon to be high school graduate and a Kindergarten teacher for almost 22 years, I can say it does get easier to juggle the balls. Enjoy your little one, they grow up so fast! Thank you for sharing your love for professional development and for inspiring me.

  5. Joanne,
    I have just returned to work this year from my second mat leave and stumbled upon your blog as I was looking for inspiration for my own teaching practice. I (very similar to yourself) dedicated my life to my studies and career until I had my first. He is now finishing jk but unfortunately I am still trying to balance my life. I think the hardest part for me is that I worried about losing myself while being a dedicated mom but in the end I have chosen to put my goals on hold and focus on the two little ones that need me more. I think that the time I have with them is precious and they do grow so fast (days are sometimes long but years are fast) and in the end I can always pick up and pursuit my goals but I would never get the time I missed out on watching them grow.
    I'm sorry I don't have more comforting advice to offer but I'm happy to see I'm not the only one with this struggle

  6. There will always be a struggle as a mom to balance all aspects of life. As I got older and especially now into my 40s, I too have put my career on hold and have decided to hold of entering admin. I have finished all the work and could, but my daughter made the rep hockey team and quite frankly, I don't want to miss any games for meetings or having to get caught up on work because I didn't get to during the day.
    These moments I will never get back and I never want to hear "I wish my mom could have been at more games". In my 30s I would have really struggled with the expectation I was letting myself down because I didn't reach the goal I set to be a VP by 40. As is, I have a fantastic career, have become a successful blogger and no other title my mom will make me a better or more successful person.

    People don't look for perfection. They appreciate authenticity and vulnerability. Nice post because it shows both :)

    Ps... It was my significant other who asked you to go to China ;)


  7. Oh and PS... I remember having young ones and I look back and don't remember much of what I did at school. Lol. BUT... I tell you, I am WAY busier now than I was then. Mat leaves should be allowed when they are preteens as well!!! 😜