This week we meet the lovely Stacey from A Teaching Mum. Thanks so much for taking part Stacey.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family.
My name is Stacey, my partner (namely the Other Half in my blog) is Robert and we are both secondary school teachers. I teach English and he teaches PE (or letters and football, as my daughter says.) We have two children – Grace is three and Zach is almost seven months. We live in a village called Ackworth, which is in Wakefield. Rob and I have been together for eight years and even though we own a house together and have our two children, we are still not married. I am always bugging him about it and I sometimes (often) complain about it in the blog! Despite our ups and downs though, we are very much a team and realise how lucky we are to be blessed with two beautiful children.
What do you like doing to be you, when you are not parenting, working (if you do), or blogging?
Being a parent to two young children and working full time means that I have very little time to be me. One thing I do love though is netball and it has been a part of my life since I was six years old. Some of my earliest memories are of watching my Mum play netball on a Saturday morning. Before children, I would play, train and umpire at least three times a week (umpiring is a good little earner), but now I am limited to once a week. In fact, I am returning to training this week after having over a year off! I am a qualified netball umpire and love being a part of a netball club and the girls in the club are fantastic. A lot of them, like me, are mummies which means we get to have plenty of play dates away from the netball court. I am looking forward to Grace being old enough to play and then maybe I can retire and just watch and cheer (and be a competitive Mum) from the sidelines!
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Apart from having my children, I think my biggest achievement is becoming a teacher. I never had any real focus during my years in education and the only subject I was ever any good at was English. After leaving university with a degree in English, I lacked direction and started working as a PA for an orthopaedic company. I wasn’t happy as I wasn’t using my degree so I thought I would apply to be a teacher. It was never a job that I thought I would be able to do as I am very shy, but nowadays I love being in a classroom with thirty teenagers – it’s the best bit of the job. It may sound like a nightmare to some, but I have taught some amazing children during my career and I hope to teach many more. It’s a tough job and very challenging at times; it can leave you physically and emotionally drained, but in what other job can you experience such a plethora of emotions and feelings in just one day?
From your own experiences, what do you find the hardest part of parenting and what is the easiest/most rewarding part?
The hardest part for me is fitting everything in. I don’t feel guilty when I am working as I don’t have the time to stop and think about what I am missing at home. However, I do feel bad that I struggle to fit in quality time with my children. I spend a lot of my working day trying to encourage children to read and yet when I finish work, I am often too tired to read with my own children. That kills me a little inside and makes me feel like the worst mum in the world. However, we are very lucky that we have extremely supportive grandparents who look after, entertain and educate our children.
It’s difficult to say what the most rewarding part of parenting is. I often feel proud when my children learn new skills. I almost burst with pride when I see Grace go and play with someone in the playground; it pleases me that she is not afraid to ‘put herself our there’ when I found it very difficult to do that as a child. (I still struggle as an adult to be outgoing.) I think it is very easy to complain and moan about your life so I remind myself often that I am rewarded by the fact that I am lucky enough to have two healthy and happy children; I can’t ask for much more that that.
Parenting in itself is no mean feat; how do you juggle everything you need to in order to get everything done on a daily basis?
Come September, this is going to be my biggest challenge. I am going to be working full time with two young children. I am aware that millions of people do this everyday, so I am not going to complain about it. I just worry that either my work or my parenting is going to suffer because there are not enough hours in the day. However, all I can say right now is that I am going to have to cross that bridge when I come to it and take each day’s challenges as they arise. I am lucky enough to have a job that gives me twelve weeks holiday a year. Many people complain about the amount of time teachers have off, but what they don’t realise is that a lot of that time is spent working or teaching half term revision classes.
Tell me a bit about your blog?
I have a friend who is a very successful parent blogger and you all know her. I have followed her blog for a few years and I just wanted to see if I could do it too. We have very different writing styles, in that she is very good and very professional and I am not! Also, another friend of mine blogs at www.educatingroversi.com and she contacted some mum friends of hers (including me) to ask some questions about being a parent. She explained that she had started writing a blog herself and once again, I just wanted to see if I could do it too. I contacted her and she gave me a few tips about Blogger and I set up my own account. I initially wrote a few silly posts about me not being the greatest parent in the world, but I didn’t dare tell anyone. It wasn’t until I opened a Twitter account and found a lot of other parent bloggers out there who think like me. I then started promoting a few of my posts and have recently started linking up to linkys. I have always wanted to write, but never thought I was good enough. I will never think I am good enough, but I do enjoy writing when I find the time.
As a great lover of books and stories, I wanted my blog to read a little like a narrative story. I wanted each post to give a little snippet of our lives as a family and I wanted it to be funny. As my blog continues, I have to admit that I often struggle to write as the posts literally take me hours to think of, type and then proof read. If I am being realistic, I think I will struggle to grow the blog as others have done due to the length of time it takes to write and the limited amount of time I actually get to write. However, as I said earlier, I am enjoying writing and if my blog and website grows then this can only be a positive thing.
What do you want your blog to achieve and where do you hope to see it go as it grows?
I just want people to read and smile at something I have written. I love that I have become a part of a blogging community on Twitter and knowing that there are some people out there who have laughed at something I have written makes me very happy. Ultimately, I would like to develop a professional looking blog, but it takes time, effort and money.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting a blog?
Through blogging and Twitter, I have stepped into a little virtual community that I didn’t know existed and I have found myself striking up conversations with like minded people. During the lonely night-feeds after having Zach, I read and commented on posts and it made me realise that there were a lot of support out there for parents. I think that if you want to feel a part of a supportive community then blogging is for you. I think that if you enjoy writing then it is most certainly for you and I think that if you want people to read an idea that first of all developed in your mind and grew on page then blogging is for you. Don’t be scared – the blogging community is kind.
If you could have dinner with three people (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
The first person would be my dad. We lost him to Cancer six years ago. I feel that during his illness I was quite absent as I didn’t want to see him not as himself. I was a newly qualified teacher when he was ill and I was obviously very busy and wrapped up in my new developing career. I feel that there were a lot of things left unsaid between us, and I wish I could speak to him more open hearted than I did back then. I have grown up a lot in the last six years and I would like him to see that. I would also love to tell him about his two amazing (and sometimes challenging) grandchildren.
The second person (or group) would be my favourite band – Green Day. I have loved them since I was fourteen years old and Dookie is the soundtrack to my teens. I have seen them live eight times, but have never met them. I don’t know what I would say to them if I ever did meet them. I would probably just mumble, cry and then show them my (rubbish) Green Day tattoo.
The third one is tough. I should make it literary. I’ll say Shakespeare, although without a York Notes at hand, I wouldn’t understand a word he said…!
Tell me three random facts about you
1. If I am in my car, I become the greatest singer known to mankind.
2. I was on a TV show called ‘Top Banana’ with my Brownie Troupe when I was ten. We won a tape cassette player on a segment called ‘Band behind the Banana Tree’ where me and four of my fellow Brownies sang along to Kylie Minogue’s ‘I wouldn’t change a thing.’
3. I gave birth to both my children in half an hour and most of my mum friends hate me a little for that. In fact, my waters broke in Natwest Bank on the 7th January this year whilst I was waiting in the queue to pay some money into my account. Unbeknown to the cashier, I paid my money in, scurried out, phoned Rob, calmly drove the short journey home and a couple of hours later, Zach was born.