It started nine years ago after my husband completed a Masters degree in educational leadership and transitioned from fifth grade teacher to assistant principal. He feared alienation from his fellow teachers, and I lamented him losing spring, summer, and winter breaks. Being married to the principal has its pros and cons. Here are just a few of them.
He’s way more stressed out.
I guess there’s some pressure and high expectations when running an entire school and apparently, it’s tricky keeping all the parents, staff, students, and administrators happy and cohesive all the time. It’s kinda like being the mayor of a tiny town.
He’s gone a lot more.
Even elementary schools host dozens of events from concerts to family fun nights, and my guy tries to be present for almost all of them, so I’m frequently the principal parent at home.
He can get stuck in principal mode.
Keeping kids safe and on task are among his core responsibilities, so it’s hard to relax that focus, even after the bell rings. And just like their dad, our kids have been at school all day trying to keep it together and be “shining stars.”
They’re pretty tarnished by 5:00. So when he insists on “absolutely no running in the house,” I remind him it’s their home, not his halls.
He’s got principal perspective.
Like many parents, I often stress about my minor parenting missteps. My husband, who has seen the sad realities some kids experience, can quickly remind me that our kids lucked out.
He rarely lets loose in public.
Bumping into a student or family from his school is inevitable when we’re out—even when we’re out of town. These moments often occur just as our children begin fighting or throwing temper tantrums. Cue whispers of “Did you see the principal’s kids??!!!”
I censor myself in public.
I’m amazed by how many people in our tight-knit community recognize me and our kids as being “The Principal’s Family.” We live in a pretty laid-back area, but I still watch what I discuss when out with my girlfriends, cause no one wants to overhear tidbits on the principal’s sex life. Eew.
We’ve gained another community.
His staff and school families know us, ask about us, and always wish us well. They’ve helped us celebrate and mourn and make us feel at home every time we’re at their school.
He drinks with other principals.
Being the boss can be isolating, especially when there’s not a vice principal. So principals regularly meet up to blow off steam, support, and coach each other. But mostly they drink.
My kids play at his school.
When he works Saturdays, we typically drop in for lunch and then play in the gym, read books in the library, or have the run of the playground.
His bad days are really bad.
Over the course of his career, his bad days have included exchanges like,
“Hi, Honey! How was your day?”
“I had to help the janitor clean up poop in the bathroom,” or “I had to restrain a student who was knocking over desks,” or “I had to call the police.”
Thankfully those days are very few and far between.
He’s become a braggart.
His staff is the best, his families are the greatest, and his students are spectacular. He’ll talk endlessly about the awesomeness of his school, but never stops trying to make it better. I imagine it’s like working with a cheerleader and boy scout rolled into one. “On my honor, I will do my best to make this school totally rock! Gooooo team!” If only he could bust out flips during staff meetings …
He’s totally devoted.
We’re his number one priority, but after that his heart, soul, and energy belong to his staff, students, and their parents.
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