Jaclyn McDonald | Another Mother Her Way

Jaclyn McDonald has a mature, nurturing sensibility combined with a no-BS straightforwardness that makes her both, a woman and a mother, who women in various communities admire.  It also served her well as she grew her career as a respected middle school math teacher at Massachusetts best schools.  When Jaclyn had her first daughter, Chloe, in the fall of 2014, she took a more flexible role within the school system that offered her a way to stay involved while prioritizing the majority of her time with her daughter.  Now Jaclyn is weeks away from welcoming her second child and she reflects, here, on her decision for part-time work, what she will do differently this time around, and the role of strong women in her life. 

Q  HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?

I feel like I could replace the word "mother" with "teenager, college student, teacher, wife, homeowner" the list goes on. Every phase of my life I've "changed" or at least my habits of mind have changed. I have always been a type A person. I like my desk and my space at work organized and efficient. I never go upstairs at home without having a mental to do list in my head that makes the trip worth it. I am and have always been a very efficient person. The shortest distance between point A and point B will be traveled by me in a straight line. That being said, I am now a type A*, the asterisk indicates a slight change in that now I am type A with a kid. The hilarity of life continues.

Q  WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD?  WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?

I made two major life changes when I became a mom. One I would make again and the other I would not. My first life change happened in September 2014 and my daughter came in October 2014. My work as a math educator took a back seat and I was granted an amazing opportunity to work part-time in my school system as a math specialist. My hours, responsibility and stress significantly decreased, but my enthusiasm and love for what I do and my students remained - in a manageable fashion - I am very lucky! This change I would repeat over and over. 

The second change I would not repeat. For the first time in my life I let go of my gym membership. This may seem completely insignificant to some, but it was huge for me. I was worried about leaving my baby in a gym daycare... Now that I am expecting my second babe in May, guess what, that kid is going in a gym daycare as soon as I am cleared to exercise. 

Q  DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS.  WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?

Happy, strong, loving

Happy, because if I'm not happy, how can I expect my kids to be happy. My zen involves headphones and a workout and then at night a good book before bed. I learned this about myself when I became a mother and I realized that I needed to decide what is essential for my happiness.

Strong, because I love strong women. I surround myself with them and learn from them and I hope my babies do as well.

Loving, because every child deserves love. Period. In my profession I've seen kids who do not experience unconditional love and the abyss is crippling.

Honestly, being a middle school teacher I see that life is hard, emotions are strong and technology is overwhelming. I want my children to always come home to a happy, loving home (that's not to say that my husband and I don't spell swears to each other at times - let's just say I am a fast speller :).

Q  HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD? 

I see my friends. I date my husband. I'm about to have kid two so I assume this will be put on the back burner for a little while, but one thing that is good about kid two is that I have a better idea of what I need and I will make sure I get it. 

Q  EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE.  WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE? 

My village consists of my mom, sister, mother-in-law and friends. These people know me and know when I need a break and push me to get out and do something for myself. 

My husband is part of the strength in my home. He is a willing participant in this mayhem and an equal participant in its success and I love him.

Q  WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER? 

I want to become a stronger member of my local community. I want to attend church regularly and be a part of a conscientious group of people. I want to volunteer more and go to my town mom's group get togethers and town pool this summer and... All on my to do list. I will have to start somewhere. Ready, set, go!