Today we’re talking about all things related to motherhood! We’ve invited a mother of two to speak to us about how she balances her professional career with her personal life. From her experience with breastfeeding to dealing with mom guilt and carving out time for self-care, we’re sure there are parts of her story that may be similar to your own.
Please welcome today’s featured guest: Min Jeong Kim.
Min Jeong is a Korean-American middle school math teacher. She has an extensive background in mathematics, music, and childhood education and is currently entering her 8th year of teaching middle school. She loves her career because of how much she learns from her students just by being around them and teaching them. She and her husband Min Sung have been married for almost 10 years and have two young children together: 5 year old Adele and 2 year old Brayden. Min Jeong immigrated to the US with her family when she was 10 years old so she is bilingual and her Korean background is a very important part of her identity. She hopes to share her love for her culture with her children by teaching them how to speak and read the language.
In her free time Min Jeong can be found swimming, golfing, and playing piano and singing. She and her husband both love being active in their communities: her husband is a detective in the town they live in and she is participating in an upcoming election for a Board of Education position. Min Jeong always seeks out various ways to stay motivated and enjoys taking on challenges and learning new things whenever possible. Keep reading to learn more about Min Jeong’s motherhood journey!
1. What is your favorite part about being a mom and what would you say is the most challenging part?
I LOVE being a mom. My kids are everything to me so even the challenging times are precious moments to remember because I know that not everyone can become a mom even if they want to be. Sometimes being a mom makes you feel like your own identity as a person and who you were before you were a mom is disappearing and being stripped away, but when you see your own children smiling and pouring out their love for you, you forget everything and think to yourself that you are so blessed to have them.
2. Were there any differences between your two pregnancies? Do you think your relationship with and how you view your body has changed at all after giving birth?
My pregnancies were very different for each child. I gained about 50 pounds for both of my pregnancies. I was more swollen for my first pregnancy, but felt slightly better with way less nausea. I pretty much had morning sickness throughout my entire second pregnancy and I also had acid reflux so I basically had to go to sleep sitting up at night time. I had terrible acne towards the end of my first pregnancy, but my skin was gorgeous during my second.
In the very beginning, I was sad about how much my body had changed after giving birth and the fact that it will never return to the way it was before. However, I am very thankful that I was able to have children and I feel very blessed to have given birth to two healthy children without any complications. I would absolutely choose to become a mom over and over again even if I already knew there will be permanent changes to my body.
3. Would you mind telling us about your experience with breastfeeding?
I would say breastfeeding was one of the most challenging experiences that I ever went through as a first time mom. I breastfed both my children for about 14 months each. My goal was to do at least a year for both children, but once you get the hang of it, it is much easier to just latch the baby then get the bottle of milk and warm it up. So, I decided to go past my goal and stop breastfeeding when they turned 14 months old. It was much harder with my first child because it was my first time being a mom. I knew a little bit more with my second child, but it was still challenging because I was working both times.
4. How did you adjust to a new normal once you returned to work? Did you suffer from mom guilt? How did you overcome it?
I have a lot of help from my husband and my parents. I was able to return to work and adjust to a new normal even after I became a mom because of them. Additionally since I am a teacher, I would come home much earlier than some people who work until late. I also had summers off so I did not suffer from mom guilt about returning to work. I enjoy what I do and I also think coming back to work returned some of my sanity - I felt like I got myself back a little bit. I do feel mom guilt at times when I go out with my friends or do things without my kids because I miss them whenever they are not with me.
5. What was it like to teach during the pandemic? Do you think virtual school made it harder to balance your personal life from your professional one?
Teaching during the pandemic was definitely not ideal for my students. It was also hard for teachers to learn and adapt in a short period of time without complete training or guidance since it was a first for everyone. We never had to deal with virtual learning before the pandemic. Although virtual schooling made it harder to balance my personal life with my work life, for the most part, there were some things that made my life a bit easier as a working mom. For example, in the beginning of the pandemic, I was able to stay home with my children longer and was able to breastfeed my son at home without pumping! That was so amazing.
6. What does self-care look like to you?
Although a lot of times moms say they will take care of themselves first (as the saying goes: ‘happy mom, happy baby’), we often forget and make our children our priority every single second. I believe self-care is very important, especially for us moms. We need to feel good about ourselves in order for that energy to transfer to our children. Self-care can mean carving out some alone time or making time to have brunch with close girlfriends. It can also mean making time to exercise, to go shopping, to get your nails done, etc.
7. What advice do you have for new working moms and new moms in general?
I would say please do not feel guilty. Do the best you can and our babies will be fine!
We hope Min Jeong’s story resonates with some of you and that you take the time to care for yourself as well as you care for your families. To all the moms out there (whether you’re a new mom or an experienced one), you are doing great, you are loved, and you can do this. Knours will always be here to cheer you on!