Here at Vibrant Health, we believe health is an inside job, unique to you. After all, you’re one-of-a-kind and your needs are complex – that’s why your supplements should be too.
To celebrate all of the beautiful complexities of our lives, each month we’ve been highlighting individuals in our community – taking a peek into the behind-the-scenes of their work life, wellness rituals and all the wonderful things that make them who they are.
It’s no doubt that this past year has brought on many challenges — especially for educators and parents navigating the new “normal.” And with Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation Week coming up this month, we wanted to pay tribute to someone who does both: a local kindergarten teacher and mom of two Alex Reale.
In this month’s interview, we got to chat with Alex about balancing motherhood and career, her go-to self-care activity, and the valuable lessons we can learn from children. We hope you enjoy our series…and remember, keep being you!
Name & occupation:
Hi! My name is Alex Reale, I am a full time Kindergarten teacher, wife, and mom to a five-year-old daughter and two-year-old son. I am also an Independent Stylist with Color Street.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Organized, competitive and creative (kinda!)
Teacher Appreciation Week is coming up May 3-10, and we’re more grateful for teachers than ever! How have you adapted and grown through the challenges this past year?
This year has been a challenge for sure and all the kind words from current and former parents have been overwhelming. Last school year (19-20), I was returning from an extended maternity leave after my son was born in March 2019. Getting back into the swing of things with two little ones was already difficult enough.
When COVID hit in March and we were sent home, it was different. At first we assumed it would only last a few weeks so I tried to enjoy each day with my own children (knowing that they are only little once and I wouldn’t get the time back). But as the weeks turned into months it became stressful.
Once we knew we most likely were not returning that school year, it was a lot of late nights recording lessons and catching up on work. (My husband was essential and working outside the home the entire time and our daycare shut down.) I learned way more about technology than I ever thought I would!
While it was challenging, I am grateful for it because it also brought me my small business Color Street. I started as a hobby and it was something that became self-care for me. It pushed me outside my comfort zone reaching out to friends/family for help, helped me with zoom/live meetings and gave me many new connections I didn’t know I needed.
Being a mom throughout the pandemic is not an easy task. What’s something you’re grateful for?
For one thing, while I know I teach Kindergarten and many ask me why, I ask WHY anyone would teach pre-school. I love my children but they are tiring! At the start, having a 12- month-old and four-year-old was exhausting — many crafts, outside adventures in the yard and trying to keep everyone busy and happy (never letting them see the fear that was around us).
I am grateful I got to be home for my son’s first steps and I was able to do thousands of crafts with my daughter. We were able to cook meals and practice things we may not have been able to do if we weren’t home together each day.
How do you balance life as a teacher and mom?
I have a very good friend who always says, “You can be a good mom, a good teacher or you can have a clean house but you can’t be all three each day.” I try to tell myself that. Some days are better than others. I pride myself on always having it “together” but I have learned that it’s okay not to.
I think at the end of the day, if you know you did your best (even if it wasn’t as good as the day before), you’re doing okay.
What’s one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned from the children over the years — either your own or in the classroom?
I can tell you that with everything going on, I have learned that kids are resilient as hell (excuse my language). Adults worry way too much. We need to learn to be a little more carefree.
When my own children went back to school, I had such a hard time with the idea of my four-year-old wearing a mask all day. To her, it’s annoying but she does it (always picking a matching one to her outfit), doesn’t complain, and is happy to be at school.
My students at school are so happy to be in school that it makes going to work each day worth it. Since September it has been a battle of when will we be put in quarantine and will I have my stuff (easier to teach from home sometimes with everyone on the same call). But when a student says to me “I love that today is my day to come to school,” it makes it all worth it.
Favorite healthy on-the-go snack or work lunch to fuel your day?
Is coffee a healthy snack? Haha! I have gotten better adding healthy options into my day since I am always rushing somewhere. Protein bars (any kind with peanut butter will do)!
When you’re not working, what do you do in your spare time for self-care to fill your own cup?
This might sound silly but my small business is my self-care. I like pretty nails and I can’t go to the salon ever. So Color Street has become more than a business for me. I am able to connect with others through parties, team calls (my only adult time!) and while some think it’s an added stress, I truly enjoy helping others have pretty nails too. And it keeps me from worrying about all the other stuff. When I can’t sleep, I look up new manicures!
What does wellness look like for you?
I was never a gym person or even someone who worked out regularly. I played volleyball in high school and college and then went on to coach high school before starting my family.
Once I had kids and wasn’t “coaching/playing” every day, I knew I should do something. I don’t love it, but 6:00am workouts that are under 30 minutes are my thing. If it doesn’t happen in the morning, it’s not going to. Most days it’s a struggle to get up but I always feel better once it’s done. I am currently loving to hate Shaun T each morning as I finish up Insanity Max 30.
Thank you for being a part of our community! Want to be featured on our Vibrant Health blog? Send an email to Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org