About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What Do I Do?

   When you meet someone new, one of the first questions that is asked is, “What do you do?”  And, almost automatically, judgments are made.  A firefighter is brave, a teacher is patient, a doctor is intelligent.

   I was always proud to say I was a teacher.  It had been my goal, and I had made it my career.  And even if society at large doesn’t seem to hold teachers in the esteem I think they are deserving of, I could say proudly that I was a public school teacher.  I believed my work was important, that each day I was doing my part to try and make the world a better place. 

   Now, my answer is more complicated.  I am no longer a teacher.  But, do I need to qualify that answer?  Do I say, “I used to be a teacher.”  Because then that invites a flurry of other questions, such as:  “What did you teach?” and “How long did you teach for?”  and “Why aren’t you teaching any longer?”  Do I want to give an acquaintance a brief medical history, detailing my need to leave my teaching career due to my autoimmune disease?  Do they want to know?  Do they even need to know?

   Do I want to answer, “Writer”?  Because since I’ve left room 7, I am writing more and more, submitting my work, and getting notified that some of my essays are being selected for publication in soon-to-be-released anthologies.  But, if I answer “writer” then I will be asked, “What do you write?” and “Where has it been published?”  and “How much do you make?”.  I write personal essays that have appeared in different publications, although not all are as well known as the Los Angeles Times (which by the way did publish one of my essays many years ago).

   My last alternative is to answer, “I’m a stay-at-home mom.”  Something I have never been able to say.  Since leaving my students, former co-workers have asked  if I’m bored being at home.  The answer is an emphatic, “NO WAY!”  I have so many things I want to do, and am curious about.  I have books to read, DVDs to re-watch, closet shelves to organize, new recipes to try out.  I am learning, that just because I used to do more in a day, doesn’t mean it’s good to do things that way.  I am learning that it’s okay to take my son to and from school, do some writing, meet a friend for lunch, prepare dinner for my family, do laundry, and make that my day’s activities.

   So, let’s role play.

   Parent at my son’s school:  “So, what do you do?”

   Me: “I’m a stay-at-home mom.  What do you do?”
   And, I’ll leave it at that for the time being.  If the parent expresses an interest, asks if I used to work, or how I spend my time when my son’s at school, then I’ll give more information.  

   Truth be told, being a mom is my highest honor and highest responsibility, my most difficult job with limited amounts of vacation time, and, it is the one that gives me the most joy.


  1. I know you thought you would be a teacher until you retired,but your health is very important and dealing with the medical condition you have you just can not go on teaching,and your doctor had wanted you to retire a while ago and you kept on going.You were a wonderful teacher,and made a hugh difference in all the children you taught.You were liked not only by your students(even students that weren't in your class)but by the parents and faculty also.Being a stay at home mom is a HUGH 24 hour a day 7 days a week job and you are doing great in raising Ryan.I love you and I am very proud of you.

  2. When I am asked about my daughter, I still say, she is a teacher. I am aware that she is not teaching in a public school, but none the less, her focus is teaching her son. You are to be complimented on your efforts as Ryan is an exceptional child. How you find the time to write and become published is beyond belief. You are an exceptional Mommy, Wife, and Writer. I am proud of you.

    Love, Dad

  3. Honey,
    You are a wonderful Mother, writer, teacher, wife, and best friend. I am so proud of how we are raising Ryan.
    I Love You!

  4. You could tell them you are a full time best friend!! You are Paul's best friend and my best friend so that's a BIG job!!! I am so proud of you and your decision to stay home with Ryan.. We both know it was time and it opened many new doors for you.. I love your writing and I can't tell you enough how proud of you I am.. Love you