2018…a Year of Growth

I can’t believe that we’re nearing the end of the second month in 2018! Time sure has flown by already this year! Quite a few things have happened for our family since the last time I’ve had the time to actually put thoughts together {between working full-time with a now 11-month-old at home, who’s got the time to sit down and write}!

A Quick Update

The last time I had the time to write, I wrote about how 2017 had been a year that actually broke me. It was a year that I learned a lot of hard lessons and a year that made me question myself quite a bit.

I wish I could say that 2018 has been different, but it hasn’t changed too much. I continue to question my abilities and even more so now.

Tory and I announced on New Years that we are expecting again. That’s right! The Swank family will be welcoming another baby in July!

In January, I accepted a part-time job as Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church’s Preschool/Elementary Ministry Coordinator. Tory’s returned to Sam’s Club and has been doing really great with all the experience he brings with him.

Bryan- 11 monthsBryan is 11 months old now {ahhh time can just freeze right here} and standing on his own! We’ve tried to get him to walk, but he’s just not having it. Last night was the first night he slept in his room since he was born {don’t try to say anything to us about the negatives of co-sleeping…we understand everyone has their own opinions}.

We’re currently gearing up for his 1st birthday party next month {that’s right people…our little boy is going to be 1 YEARS OLD}!!!

Finally being able to sit down the past couple of days and just gather my own thoughts around everything that has happened in the last couple of months, makes me realize how fast things are actually changing {and to be honest, at times, makes me question whether or not I’m capable of handling all of it}.

 

…as a Teacher 

I am in my fourth year of teaching and sadly, this is the first year I’ll actually finish a full school year from beginning to end {and at times it’s really made me feel like I’m not capable of teaching}.

My first year, I started teaching preschool in January after realizing that the Marketing 25507694_1282126521933732_3688136156996654844_nworld was just not my thing and I couldn’t do the retail or corporate world anymore. Year 2, I entered as a 4th grade teacher after being a long-term substitute for the class for a month and didn’t fully come on as a teacher until November… My third year as a Kindergarten teacher, had me done in March since I went on maternity leave and decided not to come back {yeah, I took the 12 weeks instead of 6}. And here I am…my fourth year…no longer in a classroom… an EL teacher who pulls small groups of kids to work with them.

I have been teaching for 4 {school} years…if you can even count them as years… and I still question my ability to be a teacher… {Read “It Takes a Village…“}

Not only is teaching a job that doesn’t give you 100% feedback right away on your results {it could come years later when those students aren’t yours anymore and have probably forgotten all about you}, but it’s not a job that you clock in an clock out of.

You’re constantly wondering if you’re doing enough for your students, if you’re teaching the way that works best for all 28 {in my case 51} students in your class, if you’re following the curriculum but at the same time making sure you’re taking time to teach those life lessons that don’t come in the books. It’s a never-ending cycle of questions.

It doesn’t help when an exam {or two for me} tell you that you’re just not good enough… {Now I really know how our kids feel when we have them take standardized tests or we’re constantly testing them on different things we expect them to remember}.

I’ve been trying for months to transfer my Texas teaching certificate up to Michigan. I had to retake the SAT {yup…9 years out of high school and I had to retake the SAT}…and missed the mark by 10 points, making me feel like I was the stupidest person in the world. If I can’t even pass the SAT, what makes me think I’m capable of being a teacher?! I had to retake the English as a Second Language teaching exam {passed the first time I took it in Texas}, missed it by 20 points… now I really have no right being a teacher.

I have gone back and forth in my head asking if I was meant to be a teacher. Am I capable of shaping future minds or am I that teacher that’ll steer them in the wrong direction, only to have the next teacher have to steer them back…

Just because I’m a teacher, doesn’t mean I won’t make mistakes…doesn’t mean I’m done learning…

…as a Mother 

Expecting

Oh, how I wish I didn’t ever question my abilities when it comes to my son…and soon-to-be another son or daughter {we’ll find out March 19}… but I’m only human…

Am I doing enough for him {Dear New Parent, You’re Doing Great}? Am I taking care of him the best that I can? Am I doing it right {honestly though, is there even a “right” way}? Is he happy? Is he healthy?

Well, the is he healthy question can be answered every time we go to the doctor’s. But even then that doesn’t make me feel much better. Bryan’s only gained 10 lbs from birth {our last visit was in December and he was only 16 lbs}. The last two visits we’ve been told that he’s only in the 2-4th percentile for both height and weight… those numbers don’t make me feel great as a mother…

Instead, they made me question if I was feeding him enough, feeding him the right things or if something else was wrong. I couldn’t seem to wrap it around my head that he was healthy regardless of how small he was… {have you guys seen me…I’m not exactly the tallest person}

As a parent, you’ll always be worried about your kid(s). I just have to remind myself to look at that sweet little boy’s smiles and listen for his laughs to reassure me that I am doing all that I can to the best ability that I can to provide for him {even when people are telling me otherwise}.

…as a Wife

You thought I only question my abilities in my career and my role as a mother?! HA! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like I had dropped the ball since becoming a mother on my marriage or how many times I felt like I wasn’t doing my part for our family. {Check out our post “Not Good Enough.“}

weddingThey say the first year of marriage is the toughest…hell yeah it is!!! …Tack on becoming a mother, moving cross country, becoming a home owner and switching careers and you pretty much have what my first year of married life was… a series of never ending obstacles…

But when you find that right person, every obstacle that comes your way can only feel like a small bump in the road.

There have been days when I’ve fallen apart because I felt like I wasn’t doing enough and I could lose it all {I’m not sure if the hormones had any part in it}, but I’m so thankful to have a husband {even though we have our bad days…what marriage doesn’t} that will always remind me of my worth and how much I do for our family.

No different than any other role I hold, this role also changes as our family changes, but it doesn’t mean that I’m going to slack on it…it just means that I’ll be growing into it as the years go by and I’ll be changing with it.

Growing as a Person

I’ll be 27 years old in 5 days and there are days where I still question who I am…

There’s that infamous question that many people {if not everyone} gets at any job interview or any professional development meeting…”How would you describe yourself using {enter amount} words…”

I’m going to be honest…I have always wanted to say “I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA!” Why? I’m constantly changing as a person. I’m constantly learning about myself and I don’t want to come off as conceited or over-valuing/devaluing myself.

I had to really think about the words that described me the other month because of an assignment I was doing with my students at school. I was teaching them all about adjectives and how we use them to brighten up/spice up our writing. We also use them to describe ourselves or others.

So what 7 words described me… I had a rather difficult time coming up with them…

I had been in pageants since the age of 12, countless job interviews and even more professional development seminars…how could I not answer this question?!

Simple {is it though?}, I’m not the same person I was when I was 5, 10, 15 or 26. Sure, some things probably stayed the same but there were things in my life that were different which in turn made a part of me different.

My 15-year-old self never would’ve described me as “motherly,” because I wasn’t a mom, nor did I know how to be one {I’m still learning by the way} and my 26-year-old self wouldn’t say that I’m athletic…sure I played tennis and danced in high school and college…but I haven’t since then…

So what am I getting at? We’re all constantly in a cycle of growth and change. Our lives would be so boring if we were all so “step-ford” and did the same thing day in and day out. 2017 may have been a year that broke me, but 2018 is going to be the year that I let myself grow and take the risks I need to help myself and my family do just that {even if it does have me falling flat on my face at times}.

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