Toddler Thursday: Parenting After Teaching

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Categories Parenting, Toddlers


I think I’ve come to the realization that parenting really isn’t easy. But really, what role is? In my life, I’ve been a mom, a wife, an actress, a 4th grade teacher, a kindergarten teacher, a 2nd grade teacher, a preschool camp counselor, an essential oil educator, a blogger, a lamp shade salesperson, a purse distributor, a camera store and film developer, a paralegal assistant, a daughter/sister/cousin/niece/granddaughter, and countless other “roles.” So I think I can honestly say that all of them have their shares of ups and downs. Yet, I find that I constantly can pull from one to help the next role in my life. So while it seems like I have done vastly different things in my life, I find that the skill and experiences all help each other.

Take teaching and parenting: both involve working with children and educating them. Teaching is supposed to focus on teaching knowledge while parenting is teaching skills and behavior. Yet anyone who knows a teacher, has been a teacher, or has seen a teacher in action knows that there are far more life lessons in a classroom (especially an elementary school classroom) than book knowledge.

Classrooms are filled with with why and how. They have investigations and real-world experience. They allow questions and behavior- and life-lessons in dealing with our best of friends and our worst of enemies. And teachers (at least good ones) help facilitate the child in these experiences.

Parenting, likewise, is also filled with why and how. There are explorations about the world around you (both near and far) and field trips (even if it’s just to the local grocery store). They allow questions and behavior- and life-lessons in dealing with our best of friend and our worst of enemy (sometimes Mom, sometimes Dad, sometimes Sister/Brother, and sometimes even the dog). And parents help facilitate the child in these experiences.

In my classroom, I loved my students. We laughed and cried and celebrated milestones together. They were my children. I had high expectation of them, and because of the love and respect and community that we built in between those 4 walls, they rose to meet them. I’m not saying it was perfect, but I helped my children accomplish great things.

Teaching has certainly been a great precursor to parenting. But I was never prepared for how unconditionally I could love my own little humans so much. How my stern (sometimes called “strict”) teaching/parenting style would go out the window the moment they looked up at me or called me “mama.” How I want to protect them over all other things.

But through teaching, I also have seen many different parenting styles and the way that parenting styles influences children and how they act and learn. I know that I am ok being stern, but loving. Informative, but kind. Allow independence, but supportive. It’s a balancing act, but by parenting in this way, I feel like I can bring out the best in my children.

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Dory is a teacher-turned-SAHM to her fraternal twins Audrey and David. She also writes for her blog Doyle Dispatch, is an editor with The Wise Baby, and is a Young Living Essential Oil distributor and educator with her Healthier Oil the Thyme team.

3 thoughts on “Toddler Thursday: Parenting After Teaching”

  1. Dory, I LOVE this post. I often think about the parallels between parenting and teaching, not because I am a teacher by vocation, but because I see so much of my parenting being informed by the marvelous teachers I\’ve had the pleasure of observing. The greatest teachers, the ones I still keep in touch with and who made me who I am, are the ones who stepped over the divide and parented me in addition to teaching me knowledge, as you put it. But you\’re right. There\’s an entire aspect to parenting that teaching doesn\’t, well, teach.

    Love hearing your perspective, as always.
    Sadia recently posted Fairness in Parenting – Fair Is Not EqualMy Profile

  2. I’ve heard from other teachers both sides: some who say that even with a hectic day in the classroom, being a teacher is still easier than being a parent. Then others say that teaching is much harder than parenting. Props to teachers, regardless! Nearly every teacher my kids have had work their butts off for their kids, probably way more than they should.
    Nina recently posted How to Keep Your Child Learning in the SummerMy Profile

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