Taking a break from VIPKID: Why did you do it?

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So many of my previous blogs outlined my glorious life and work schedule as a VIPKID teacher…and then it went silent for awhile. Being a full time teacher in real life with a new baby finally caught up with me. For the months of October and November I racked up a total of two classes. Yep. Two. I took a break. I needed it.

Over the summer I had been completely consumed with the cult like nature of the company. It is still amazing, don’t get me wrong, but I felt like I was starting to neglect other more important aspects of my life. I did not feel comfortable with how often I had to choose between a “one apple rating”  or letting my kid cry.

I really put on the breaks back in September when the company announced “little helpers” were not welcome in the classroom. That had been a saving grace for me when my baby woke up crying unexpectedly at the end of a class and I could just pull him on my lap and finish the lesson. VIPKID made it very clear that it did not look kindly on those of us that kept our kids too close during teaching, and unfortunately, we just aren’t there yet with leaving him alone in his room. Sorry. But not sorry.

It also didn’t help that my little man has been sick as much as he has been healthy these last couple of months. Every mom knows that a baby’s unpredictable sleep pattern is even more unpredictable when they don’t feel good. He needed me more than I needed the extra money.

Now that I have had some time to recover from the exhaustion of the past 10 months, I am recharged and ready to dip my toes in again. The next few weeks I am going to start easing my baby boy into his own bed (still in my room) and try to add a few classes each week. Naturally the holidays have slaughtered what was left of my finances, so it feels like a good time to get back in it.

My advice…if you are feeling burned out, just step back. Step away from the computer. Stop clicking those 24 hour slots. It will all be there when you get back. I promise. It won’t make you any less of a teacher or person. I had to step away from a lot of the VIPKID social circles as I took this break, because they have an uncanny way of making you feel inferior when you aren’t logging a hundred classes a week. Whatevs. My baby is only a baby once, and I only have this one body to take care of him with. As I always say, do what works for you.

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When do you sleep? Whenever my schedule says I can.

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I never gave much thought to schedules before motherhood. Sure, I was punctual and got to work on time, but I was always more of a “go with the flow” type girl when it came down to the events of daily life. Now I would not get anything done without them. You get to a point where it is just too much to remember if you don’t write it down. A schedule doesn’t have to be planned out to the hour (like mine), but finding a way to give yourself concrete goals and direction for each day/week will help you tremendously in managing  your life AND stress levels.

Here are two the schedules I use so you can get an idea of what may (or may not) work for you. Since I am off during the summer from my public school job, my current schedule has been a dream!

Summer Schedule:

4:00AM – Wake up to nurse the baby, snooze for 30 more minutes.

4:30AM – Wash my face, slap on some lipstick, and prep for my online classes.

5:00AM -6:30AM – Teach online.

6:30AM-7:00AM -Nurse the baby.

7:00AM-8:30AM -Teach online some more.

9:00AM-10:00AM – Catch an hour nap with the baby if he doesn’t wake up when I get back in bed. *This only happens because I trained  my baby to stay up LATE so I could teach longer in the mornings.*

After 10:00AM, the day is spent taking care of the baby, juggling housework, bills, errands, eating, and OCCASIONALLY another nap with the baby around 1PM if I am feeling exhausted. Usually though, I like to take this hour for some “me time” rather than sleep. You know, the finer things in life, like showering with the possibility of shaving my legs.

5:00PM – Baby and Mommy Power Nap!!!

8:00PM – Supper time and then I bathe the baby.

9:00PM – 10:30PM – Daddy gets home and takes the baby while I teach online.

11:00PM – Nurse the baby to sleep, watch 30 minutes of TV to relax (low volume with subtitles…better than nothing).

12:00AM – I finally go to sleep. Rinse, wash, repeat.

I am averaging 6-7 hours per sleep every 24 hours. It is broken into chunks, but it works. Unfortunately, in a few weeks I go back to real life, but I have a schedule for that too!


Regular School Year Schedule:

4:30AM – Wake up and shower for work, pack the daycare bag, and prep any morning classes.

5:00AM – Nurse the baby.

5:30AM -7:00AM – Teach online.

7:00AM – Wake the baby, nurse, and get him ready.

7:30AM – Drop baby off at daycare.

7:45 AM – Arrive at school, pump milk.

8:15AM –  Classes  begin.

11:45AM-12:15PM – Lunch and pump break. (Yes, I eat while milk squirts out of my body.)

12:15PM-3:15PM Classes.

3:15PM-4:00PM (Monday/Wednesday/Thursday) – Evening break. I do lesson planning on Monday. I have been teaching in this position for 5 years now, so most of my planning is done. I also take full advantage of our para and have her make my copies and help grade tests. Other days during the week if I feel exhausted I nap under my desk for 30 minutes. (I have no shame. I have floor pillows and the whole shebang.)

3:15PM (Tuesday and Friday) – I am allowed to leave early since I have a shorter break than the other teachers, so on Tuesdays and Fridays I peace out and spend extra time with my baby.

4:00PM-4:30PM- Work after school tutorials for extra money on MWTh.

3:30PM or 4:45PM – Pick up baby from daycare.

5:00PM – Nurse the baby/ Baby and Mommy Power Nap!!!

6:00PM-7:30PM – We eat supper, relax a little, and then I wash up dishes/throw on some laundry while the baby plays. He is finally old enough to entertain himself for a few minutes.

7:30PM – Bathe the baby.

8:00PM – Nurse the baby to sleep. (He comes home exhausted from daycare and starts sleeping earlier again.)

9:00PM – 10:00PM – Teach online.

11:00PM – I sleep.

I try to average 7-8 hours of sleep during the school year because I honestly need the energy. When I am fatigued, I cut out the night classes and go to sleep early. I DO NOT WORK SATURDAY NIGHTS OR SUNDAYS. NOPE. NOT GOING TO DO IT.

And there you have it, my life scheduled down to the minute. Do I always follow the script? Nope. Life happens. But I try my best to make sure I take care of my baby AND myself each day.



Goodbye, Chester. You didn’t know me, but I knew you well.

I am not going to say much about the epidemic of musician suicides, but this one hits hardest for me so far. This band was with me through the roughest patches of my life, at my lowest points of depression and addiction through high school and college. They put into words the things that I felt but could not say out loud. RIP Chester. I am sad for you and  your family, but I understand more than anyone.

I see a lot of people writing angry things about what you did. They have obviously never been in that position. Anyone who thinks suicide is a “cowardly” way out has never known just what type of mental state or amount of willpower it takes to go through with such an act.

Mental illness is a disease, but no one will talk about it. Depression is a dirty word that makes people uncomfortable, so we sit in silence while it consumes us. It is more acceptable to talk about an STD than it is to talk openly about depression. People that don’t suffer from it don’t understand why you can’t just get over it. You don’t get over it. You learn to live with a piece of yourself missing or medicate yourself to the point of being a zombie. Some of us deal better than others, but it never goes away.

Your music always gave me comfort that someone else felt the way I did, and even though I didn’t know you personally, I felt less alone. Thank you.

Expecting the Unexpected: I’m a Mom?

I wasn’t planning on having a baby just yet. When I found out the news in March 2016, I cried. Not happy, “touched by an angel” cry. Ugly, “why me?” cry. It wasn’t the way I imagined it. I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t married. I wasn’t even speaking to the father at the time. I didn’t know anything about babies. I made it a general rule to avoid them at all costs. I was scared. I hadn’t even been sober a full two years. I was barely taking care of myself again. How in the world would I manage?

Luckily, I had fixed my credit in the two years I had been free from the “haze” and I was in a stable career. I also had put up a few thousand dollars in the hopes of buying a house one day before I died. I was literally in the middle of moving from my 1 bedroom apartment into a 2 bedroom town home the day I took the pregnancy test, so that was a lucky break. Honestly, I was in the best mental and financial shape I had ever been. My situation could have been much, much worse. Still, I knew it was going to be a hard road and I wasn’t completely confident in my life skills.

I threw myself into the preparation aspect of it all so I wouldn’t have to think about the  reality of my situation. I applied for every credit card I got an offer for to give myself ample emergency funds. Not going to be able to afford that damn house any time soon…so why stress about my credit?

Supplies. Babies need stuff. Lots of stuff. Amazon has great discounts and specials if you know how to shop. I signed up for Amazon Prime and slowly stocked up on as many diapers and baby supplies as I could afford to have auto-shipped each month. I calculated approximately how many diapers I would need of each size and started getting size 1 delivered, then size 2, etc. (So far it has worked out perfectly. I had a few extra size 1’s, but only because I did not factor in the surprise baby shower gifts I got.) I bought 75 packs of the fancy Huggies wipes when Kroger ran a promotion of Buy 5, Get them $1 each. (I had to visit five different Krogers three different times to make that happen.) I visited Goodwill. Every. Single. Weekend. I got brand new and barely used baby clothes size 0-12 months for $1 (or less) each. Floor gym $3. Boppy Pillow $2. Blankets. Sleep sacks. Toys. Baby books. You name it, I probably got it at Goodwill for 90% less than most parents paid for it. Crib? Craigslist.  A friend whose baby is a year older than mine gave me her swing, jumper, and stroller for a fraction of what she paid for it. The most expensive purchase I made was a nice Pack ‘n Play with a changer and infant bassinet. I paid $100 open box for it on Amazon…list price $180. (and it actually pretty much saved my life after an unplanned C-section and my brilliant upstairs nursery) I read the blogs. I joined the forums. I got the apps. I did everything a “good mom” should do.

That’s great…but what about the actual baby? I don’t think it hit me that a human was inside of me until his heart rate plummeted during my induction and I almost lost him. I didn’t even know it was a him at the time. (I had opted to wait and let it be a surprise because they are so few and far between as an adult.) As the nurses swarmed around me, reassuring me that everything was OK, NOTHING was OK…It became real. The gravity of it all hit me.  For over nine months, I had carried this baby inside of me and never really had that “magic mom” moment women always go on…and on…and on about. I thought I was different. Something was wrong with me. But the floodgates opened. I started shaking uncontrollably as they frantically prepped me for an emergency C-Section. Tears fell. Everything I had ever wanted changed in a single moment. The only thing I really wanted was this baby.  The second I heard his first cry was the moment I took my first real breath. My life started when he was born. As I read that last sentence, I am fully aware of the fact that three years ago, I would have laughed at the corny, lame ass person who would write something like that. But now I am that person. That mom. His mom. And even though I thought he was the last thing I wanted at the time, he is everything I need now.

Every blog starts somewhere. This is where.

Hello and welcome to my tiny space inside a much larger space! I am one of those people you might consider a jack of all trades, master of none. I spent many years wandering without direction. For example, my degree is in fine art, but I double majored in nursing because I couldn’t make up my mind. Somehow after all of that schooling, I ended up waiting tables at the Cheesecake Factory for five years before finally becoming an elementary school science teacher. Life is funny like that. I have had many ups and downs. I have battled addiction and depression, but managed to come out of the other side a much shinier person. I still battle addiction and depression, only I am finally wise enough to be aware that there is a battle at all. I have learned a lot. I made many mistakes to get here, but hopefully my past journey and current journey can converge on a path to help a fellow traveler in need.