We’ve been practicing this song with the kids (click here for our favorite Christmas songs in Spanish). I love the English version and I love the Spanish version, and the prayer for peace.
With all the news of bombings and shootings refugees fleeing for their lives, I’m not sure 2015 has felt like a peaceful year the world over. For our little family, though, 2015 has felt settled. We moved out my parents’ basement and actually bought a house, something I truly thought was out of reach. For all that I write about how wonderful it is being a bicultural family, it is quite hard– finding jobs, navigating a new place, learning a new language, establishing a family culture together. My husband can tell you being an immigrant is no joke, even when married to a citizen here. So for us, finding a rhythm with work and family has made it a happy year.
As I think about the new year, I do want peace to describe the atmosphere. It’s not always the term I’d use to describe the day-to-day. While I type away for the website and burn the midnight on oil TpT products (after a day of teaching), the house is probably a disaster, I didn’t take the kids outside at all, or they’re parked in front of Winnie the Pooh in Spanish.
So, if I want to be a peaceful mother and teacher, what does that mean? Here’s what I’m thinking:
Keep the Goals for My Children Simple
I’ve written about my goals with toddlers, and I still say that it’s best to keep them minimal. Let’s try to play outside, work on poetry, speak in Spanish, sings songs, and read books. I’m not freaking out about much else with little ones. An afternoon spent hunting nests in the sunshine is a good afternoon; a morning spent singing the Itsy-bitsy araña is a good one.
Get up Early
I tried this in the fall, and it just didn’t work with a baby that still nurses at night. Maybe this coming year? I tend to try to work at night, with kids crawling all over me and dinner burning, and then stay up too late finishing everything. I know I’ll have a better balance and be healthier if I can get to bed early and then be up before the kids. It also helps me to start the kids off right: “Buenos días, hijito” rather than “Are you kidding me? How are you already awake?? Nooooooooo!! Yeah.
And on the days where everyone is sick and nothing went according to plan, and I posted nothing on social media at all because I got up late… to still be gentle and grateful.
Realize What I Can and Can’t Control
Part of being a peaceful mother and teacher is knowing the difference here. I can’t control whether or not my children choose to speak two languages, and grow up to be bilingual superheroes. I can’t control whether or not my students embrace Spanish and love it. I can’t control bad reviews or shares or likes.
I can control how much Spanish my kids hear from me. I can choose to make books and poetry fun, and part of our daily life. I can choose to keep my student accountable, and I can control what activities I plan. I can be intentional and organized with blogging.
I can’t control whether or not the kids get the flu, but I can turn my phone off, drink a cup of tea, and go to bed early to have a better next day. I love writing and creating so much that it’s hard to stop sometimes. But a peaceful, vibrant home and classroom is worth is what all this writing and creating is about, ultimately.
Stop Trying to Do It All
I am learning to accept this. I used to beat myself up for having a messy house or not cooking. And believe me, when I am frantic and trying to do everything, it is not a pretty picture! I’m kinder to myself, now: it’s okay that on a crazy day of teaching and blogging the house looks bad. Did the kids get fed? Did we read a few books and sing a few songs before bedtime? Okay, good. Take a deep breath. And for heaven’s sake, run and shut the bedroom doors if anyone comes over.
So hello, 2016. Here’s to more prayer, more poetry and sunshine and Spanish, and less guilt and frantic late nights.