Note: Over the next week, I’m going to take you with me on a meander through my day. No two days look alike around here, but this will give you a glimpse on my daily rituals of cherishing life. I do this very imperfectly. I would love to hear about your own rituals in the comments. And don’t forget to check out my favorite resources on the bottom of these posts.
All moms work. We all know this. In fact, most wives work even if they stay home and care for the house. Whether or not we get paid for our work is immaterial. However, it is sometimes nice to do something that comes with a paycheck. 🙂
I’ve talked a lot about working from home on this blog. It is one of my passions, because I believe women who wish to make an income while caring for their children and home have more options than ever in today’s changing work force.
After trying many things and doing too much at times, I have settled back into the job I have had the longest. It is truly the most fulfilling paid work I have done, and I love my job. You already know what it is if you have been reading my blog series. I teach piano lessons.
I have had some jobs I endured, others I mildly enjoyed and still others that really excited me. However, I think we can learn to love our jobs (including those unpaid ones we all do) if we have an attitude shift. Work was a gift to Adam when he was created. The ability to move our bodies and use our minds in a productive way and to earn a living from it is really a beautiful thing. Sadly, so many times we complain or fail to enjoy the ability to work.
Sure, there are afternoons when I’d rather take a nap then teach lessons for a few hours. There are days when I feel like pulling out my hair during a math lesson or while helping a child learn to read. I don’t enjoy cleaning for the sake of cleaning, and some days take-out sounds so tempting while I’m cooking dinner. Yet, the rewards far outweigh the benefits.
I was 15 when I began working. My mom got her boss at her work-from-home telephone job to hire me. Then, in my junior year of high school, at my piano teacher’s suggestion, I began teaching piano lessons to beginners. So, by the time I graduated from high school, I was working two part-time jobs from home. The piano lessons have been a constant while the other jobs have come and gone.
I’ll never forget my first two little boys, now with kids of their own. They were both so intelligent, and I learned a lot from them. A story about one of them only a musician will understand:
I asked him, “What are the sharps and flats in a song that are not in the key signature?” He racked his little brain and excitedly yelled out, “I know! Mistakes!” His answer was wrong, but his command of vocabulary was brilliant for a 2nd grader. 🙂
Another little boy I had was getting involved with a friend who was routinely getting him into trouble. Part of one lesson, he confided in me and I tried to encourage him to do the right thing.
A darling little girl I taught had an accident on my piano bench, and two brothers dropped off by their parents got into a fistfight while I was teaching their sister.
I watched as a girl absentmindedly carved a groove in my piano bench with the pencil while doing her theory lesson. And back when I set out a candy dish for guests, two other siblings would empty the entire thing each time they came for lessons.
As you can see, teaching piano taught me some of the lessons I would need to know to be a mother.
It is so easy to miss cherishing our work when we are performance driven. I have always been the Type A who pushes for 100% in everything I do. For years, I felt inadequate next to all the piano teachers with fancy degrees from prestigious music schools. I have never had a fancy studio, just a piano in the corner of my living room. I don’t charge tuition, my students pay me per lesson or at the end of the month of lessons. When I maintained a lighter student load, there were about 7 years we didn’t even hold recitals.
However, I’ve learned that I can be myself as a piano teacher. There are plenty of teachers for the students who want to get into college on a music scholarship someday. A lot of teachers have master’s degrees. I have stopped trying to meet what I think others expect of me.
I haven’t advertised for about 12 years, but when a prospective student comes to me by word of mouth I simply tell them who I am. I have some experience now, but no official training. What I offer is to meet their student where he or she is and do my very best to give them a love for music.
I teach piano like I teach my own children in our homeschool. We learn together, have as much fun as possible along the way and stick it out together during the hard times. And that applies no matter how you make your living.
Resources for Cherishing Work:
Susan Paradis – Piano Teaching Resources
Money Making Mom by Crystal Paine – Can’t wait to read this one!