When Life Hands You Lemons…Dealing with Change

Remember in my last post I said I’m always up for a new challenge and that basically we should embrace learning new things? Can I take that back? Life threw me some major curve balls this week that has left my world more than a little shaken. One of those has to do with my job.
A major part of who I define myself as is a second grade teacher. I’ve taught second grade for 13 of my 17 years. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve taught at the same school, in the same room, in the same grade for the past nine years with a team of some amazing colleagues who are also friends. Obviously,  I’m not particularly fond of change.

In my classroom--my home away from home for almost 10 years
In my classroom–my home away from home for almost 10 years

Without warning, my principal told me that next year I’ll be teaching 4th grade…say what?!? Anyone who knows kids knows there is a HUGE difference between sweet “mom, I mean teacher!” seven-year-olds and “I might be too cool for school” nine-year-olds.  This change means sorting and moving the contents of basically a small house, learning the curriculum of what to teach 4th graders, taking trainings for most of my summer, leaving my team of friends, and most of all, being forced out of my happy little place in the world. I literally was so stunned at this “dump your identity upside down” announcement that I started to cry in my principal’s office. This is completely outside my comfort zone and, as an “imperfect perfectionist,” I don’t like to do things if I don’t know that I can do it well. It is hard to face my fears of the unknown.

As I thought about this unexpected (and frankly, unwelcome) change, I thought about all the changes we face as moms. Becoming a mom in itself is filled with “dump your world upside down” moments. From the moment you get that positive test result back and realize your body is no longer your own, to the first night home with a newborn and you realize a full night sleep is no longer in your immediate future, to the phone calls from your single/kidless friends inviting you to a girls’ night out and you think, “yes! I so need that…oh, I don’t have a sitter”–being a mom is full of change. Sometimes we fight it, sometimes we embrace it. Mostly, we struggle to find the balance in between.

Whether you are facing changes that are outside your control or something you’ve welcomed–whether it’s becoming a mom, having another baby, wanting to go back to work or school, deciding to be a stay at home mom, trying to lose weight, dealing with relationship issues, or a myriad of other changes that happen–change can be overwhelming. In the past two weeks, I’ve had to evaluate things. I’ve made my list of pros and cons. I’ve struggled, cried, and complained. And then I took a breath, and another, and another. I looked at other parts of my life. I’m working to appreciate what is going right, the things I value–my family, my friends.

It’s like when the power goes out in your house. One of those things you take for granted, but when it’s gone, you realize how much you rely on it. And when it’s back, you are grateful and may even celebrate it. That’s what I’m working in right now–celebrating the things I sometimes take for granted–having a family who loves me, friends who I can turn to in crisis, being healthy enough to enjoy life, even having a job–despite the changes. It’s not easy, but I’m willing to work at it.

Appreciating what I love...enjoying time with my kids...
IMG_7915 Appreciating what I love…enjoying time with my kids.

And I share this with you in hopes that although I don’t know how things will turn out, I might be able to support the moms out there who are dealing with the changes in their own lives.  I invite you to share with me, in the midst of hardships or changes in your life, what do you appreciate to help get you grounded?

Debbie enjoys spending time with her husband of 14 years, Matt and their two very active children: Calvin, a gifted and quirky 11-year-old boy, and Kadison, a creative and strong-willed 8-year-old girl. Debbie attended the University of South Florida for both her bachelor's and master's degrees in education. With 20 years of experience, she's a National Board Certified Teacher in literacy and currently teaches 1st graders. Debbie's mission is to get kids to love learning! In her spare time, Debbie loves to read, enjoy the beach, and find the perfect cup of coffee. She is always on the look-out for a great local restaurant or fun place to go to relax! Follow Debbie on Twitter and Pinterest.


  1. Best of luck to you in 4th Grade. I hope you are pleasantly surprised by your class and fellow teachers. Think of it as adding friends. I’m not without my own problems. I’m welcoming change right now, because I’m not satisfied with my body, marriage, job status or my son’s education (not fully). I’m working to improve all of these areas of my life. Some areas I’m just waiting to see what happens and others I feel like I’m battling. But through it all, I have to ground myself in Jesus. I remind myself that all I need in my life is God’s love and all of these other things aren’t really deal breakers. So I pray about these issues and seek God’s guidance and try to ready myself for whatever changes he throws my way.

    • Jenn-Thanks for your positive thoughts! I think my new team will be great. I’m hoping I love 4th grade as much as people think I will! I love your positive outlook on things and that you have a source of comfort when dealing with change. It can be a challenge when things aren’t the way you want them to be. I find it’s important to stay focused on what you makes you happy. Hang in there! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Hang in there Debbie. I can tell how passionate you are about teaching. It may end up surprising you. You are completely correct in saying that you need to concentrate on the positives. You have a beautiful family and really that’s all that matters 🙂

    • Hi Jen! I really am passionate about teaching and pride myself on doing it well, which is part of my frustration in changing things up. I do hope it ends up being a growing experience that I come to love. Nice thing about being a teacher during the summer…I get to focus on my family–what matters most to me!

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