Little people rule my life. They offer an innocent, wise and precious view into the developing human psyche, and they humble me on a regular basis.
When I’m working, I’m either developing and presenting storytimes for little people, or developing professional resources for other children’s librarians who present storytimes for little people.
When I’m not working, I’m also at the mercy of a little person. One might assume that since I have a 3 year old at home, it must be easy to put storytimes together and get through the piles of books and apps that I need to review. The case is often the opposite. Somedays I’m not allowed to sing at ALL, or if I am, I’m not allowed to sing “storytime songs.” Some days I’m not allowed to read anything but Richard Scarry, let alone try out new books or apps that I’ve never used in a program before. Somedays Jude (below, with Nancy Pearl) is totally jazzed about the fact that his mommy is the “story lady” and sometimes, if he attends my programs, he gets upset that I have to pay attention to the other kids.
I know many children’s librarians who are also moms with young kids. Together we deal with the modern-life struggles of getting to preschool and then work on time, showing up to work with peanut butter smeared all over the back of our shirts, and having to make tough decisions like “Should I keep him home from preschool today with that runny nose? I have class visits all morning and there’s no one who can take over for me on such short notice!”
Having a child of one’s own certainly informs one’s professional practice, and I find that since I had my son, I *get* a lot more about why children’s librarians do what they do. I’m a better children’s librarian now that I know what it’s like to have a kid of my own, and I’m a whole lot less judgmental of the parents that I see in my library and elsewhere.
Working with people who understand children and motherhood is also a huge relief. The children’s departments I’ve worked in have been predominantly staffed by women, many of whom are also mothers (with kids of various ages). My pregnancy was a vomity one, and once when I tossed my cookies in the middle of a training session, I was given looks of sympathy, a garbage can and regaled with similar morning-sickness stories. Then we went on with the conversation as if nothing had happened.
It’s hard being a working mom; it’s really, really hard. But every day I am grateful to be a member of a profession that KNOWS how hard it is, and that often has flexible hours and people to make it just a little easier. Rock on, children’s mombrarians!