The women I work with are warriors of love.
The women I work with are teachers. And they are also mothers. By the time I see them enter school around 8 a.m., most of them have already clocked in at least 3 hours of “work” at home.
They’ve fed the babies, they’ve cooked the breakfasts, they’ve packed the lunches. They’ve dressed the children and then brought them to where they need to be for the day. They’ve somehow managed to get themselves ready along the way.
They didn’t sleep at night, because, well… motherhood. They were up answering the cries for mom in the wee hours of the night or were tossing and turning either planning for or worrying about a laundry list of items pertaining to their kids.
And still, when the women I work with come into school, they continue to sprinkle morsels of kindness and patience over every other child they interact with.
Sure, their job is to educate, and of course, that is what they do – but, in the hours of a school day, they do so much more.
They listen to children’s stories that seemingly never end with open ears, answer questions that have already been answered with open minds, and facilitate learning with tender precision.
They take care of children’s boo-boos with bandages and walks down the hall for water, their shaken egos with life lessons and inspirational stories, and their broken hearts with quality time and understanding.
They notice and care about the little details within the personalities, behaviors, and lives of each and every one of the children they work with so they can help them to learn in a way that makes sense for them and socialize in a way that feels comfortable for them.
They plan with special thought and care, they lead with diligence and meaningfulness, and they communicate with compassion all day long.
The women I work with do this while simultaneously still keeping their own children at the forefront of their minds.
They do this while thinking about all the things relating to them — what they are doing, who they are with, how they are feeling, what they are eating, what they need to do later in the day — all the things.
They do this and then return home to care for those children. They take them to their activities, they feed them dinner, they give them baths, and read them bedtime stories — but most importantly, they become a soft place for their little babies (even those who are not so little anymore) to fall.
They listen to the stories of their children’s days.
They ask them who they sat with at lunch.
They problem-solve the things that may be bothering them.
They comfort them when something is upsetting them.
They hold them as often as possible, tell them they love them over and over, and consciously try to stop amidst the chaos and enjoy every single moment they have together.
I see the women I work with come and go from work on leaves after having a baby, caring for a child or a family member, or grieving a terrible loss. I see the women I work with come and go from work each day carrying the invisible, emotional load from home and from work on their shoulders 24/7 – a “load” that holds the hearts of all the little (and big) people in their lives that they care for day in and day out.
I feel the women I work with come together to support one another in all of the ups and downs with hugs, prayers, and support in such an astounding way. They are all so busy constantly taking care of children that they often forget to take care of themselves; yet still, they never fail to be there for one another.
When I think of all that the women I work with accomplish in a day’s time — all of the physical and mental checks off of a never-ending list — I am truly amazed. But, within the four walls of our building, I see this truth: next to every strong woman is a group of other strong women holding her hand and encouraging her along the way.
The women I work with make the world go round… one child and one mother at a time.
The women I work with are superheroes. They are peacekeepers. They are enlighteners, they are listeners, they are supporters, and they are inspirers.
The women I work with are warriors of love… and of all things good.
The women I work with are teachers and they are mothers.
And I am grateful to know them.
This story originally appeared on A Place Within Me