*Check out my update here*

Today is a strange day for me. My facebook news feed is full of updates on all my former colleague’s first day’s back at school. I’m closely watching the updates from the Kindergarten class and the wonderful teacher that took my place when I left to stay home with the boys. TRCS was my home away from home and I feel like though I’ve been living the life of a stay at home mom since June, today was the final day of no going back.

I don’t even really know where to begin to describe what’s going on in my head and heart or even where this post is going to take me. Part of me wants to hash out the pros and cons of staying at home with the boys with the conclusion of going back to work, but I feel doing that would be just to justify something that I know is not right for me and my family right now. Where’s the crystal ball? Where’s the insight to know whats best not just for my family but what’s best for me. Because though my family is super important, I know that a content mom is better for them that a mom that is home out of obligation or tradition or something other than my own well thought out choice to stay home.

There are so many people that have written about this. Blogs and articles from both sides of the camp – really all 4 sides. Those that are in the place they want to be and are content with their choice and situation and those that are not in the place they want to be and are determined that the grass is truly greener for them on the other side. I’ve read them all. Maybe not all but a good deal of them. And all of them have great points that I agree with. The problem is that none of them are me. None of them have my family. None of them have my heart for teaching. None of them have the love and devotion to my family. All the reading in the world of other’s situation isn’t going to figure it out for me. It really has to be me. Poor Brad – I’m sure it’s going to be a long talking night. Maybe I’ll spare him some by “figuring it all out” now. Ha. I wish 🙂

I lived the life of a working mom (not that stay at home mom’s don’t work. I’m in that camp now. We work, let’s move past that debate and agree I’m saying working mom for the sake of not typing out “working out side of the home mom” every time.). It really wasn’t pretty. Both Brad and I were working full time. The boys in full time day care. I didn’t see much of them, and the time together was full of rush to get dinner on the table and get baths and a little play time in just in time for bed. Then there was all the chores of house cleaning, dishes, and everything else that needed to be done to get them ready for day care the next day. I would crash on the couch around 9pm just to finish lesson planning or report cards or other work that I brought home so I didn’t have to stay longer at work away from the boys than necessary. After that picture I just painted I feel silly for even the thought of going back. Except – I loved my job.

I didn’t just love my job. I loved the people I worked with, the professional contribution I made to the school. I loved the time spent with my students and guiding them to grow as readers, writers, mathematicians, musicians, and thinkers of the world around them. I loved the challenge of the challenging student and working with all parties involved to come up with strategies and solutions to make their life at school successful. I loved being part of their foundation to school and life. I loved that I loved what I did.

And let’s get really honest. Society doesn’t really recognize the job as mom as something that’s of any prestige. Not that teachers are in the stratosphere or anything, but lets face it. To become even qualified to be hired as a teacher you have to go through at least 6 years of schooling, one of those years being in a classroom under the supervision of an experienced teacher who’s helping to decide your fate of if you’re cut out for it or not. Qualifications to become a mom? Really nothing. {And yes I’m bracing to get a lot of flack for this – good thing not too many people read my blog yet!} Pretty much anyone can become a mom, some by accident even. {Not that GREAT mother’s don’t come from that… }

Be it right or wrong, I am a person that is driven by being successful and perhaps it’s my measure of success that needs to be altered, but when I do a great job at teaching there is   reward. Either in verbal praise from my administrator, the light bulb that goes on in the minds of my students and the smiles on their faces, recognition by my peers, or the rise in requests from parents for their children to be in my class. When I do a great job at being a mom there is a reward, but it is different. Sometimes it’s even reaped as an angry 3 year old – because he didn’t get what he wanted. Not exactly the “pat on the back” the “working” world is looking for.

I see many super successful working mom’s – had many of these as parents in my classes – those that have respectful, darling children and even have time for extra curricular activities, and that really makes me want to try that again.

Now I say all of that from the side of my heart and brain that wants a classroom and a teaching job back. But there is an equal part of me that realizes there’s so much more to it all. Family is around a lot longer and through a whole lot more than a job or career will ever be. Family will love you when you mess up, and lets face it — you really can’t get fired from being mom. {Talk about job security!}

Riley has been super cranky all day. He wouldn’t take his second nap so I got to carry him around (all 25+ pounds) all day long, because the second I put him down to try to do something he would start crying again. But putting him to bed, holding him, rocking him while he’s all tucked up in my arms on my shoulder  – I’m what he needs, and he is what I need. All the crankiness is worth it to be the one (sometimes only one) who can make it all better just by holding him. When Landon gets an “owie” no matter how real or fake, it’s always my kisses and hugs that make it better. When he wakes up from his naps half asleep still, it’s my lap he wants to crawl into and snuggle while he wakes up.

All too soon the boys will be old and grown and I’ll get eye rolls for an offer to kiss a “boo boo”.

The side of my heart and brain that knows that for the time being – at least until the boys are of preschool age – I need to be at home with them. The argument for it is way shorter, but so much more valid. For sure I have to sacrifice something I love for it, but that’s a huge part of parenthood as well.

I do crave for professional time, the recognition from other adults that I’m doing it right, but I also realize that it’s a very “materialistic” thing. I get plenty of recognition through kisses, hugs, laughs and giggles. Even the fits and time outs tell me I’m doing it right (most of the time at least).

I know for sure that I will go back to teaching full time, especially after the boys are old enough to be in preschool or Kindergarten, and will stay there until I die a long time. But until then I’m pretty sure I’ll stay where I am. I have a few small, very part time options that I’m looking into to keep me in the “game” without a ton of time away from the boys, and I think for me that will be enough to “hold me over” until I can go back into the classroom full time.

I also really feel this is a faith lesson as well. Just like with our house I know that God’s plan for ALL of this is greater than mine. Who knows what super job he has for me that won’t even be opened until the right time. It will all work out.

I think ultimatly what I need to tatoo to my forehead {backwards I guess so I can read it in the mirror….} is: there are a lot of great teachers out there, but there is only ONE great mom for my children.

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19 Responses to On staying at home {at least for a little while}

  1. Jody says:

    Jessica, you are definitely right. There are plenty of times I wished I could stay home to be with my children. They are growing so fast now, and it’s only recently I’ve realized that and put some of my passions on the back burner. You are so blessed to be able to stay home with your children, especially during these young years. Enjoy it (even though you might want to go crazy sometimes!). I like your idea of keeping your foot in the door. It might be a nice way to keep your sanity for now. 🙂

  2. “There are a lot of great teachers out there, but there is only ONE great mom for my children.” That says it all. I felt the same way about my decision to leave teaching and become a stay-at-home mom. It probably took about a year to adapt to my new job, but I love it and there’s no place I’d rather be. 🙂

    By the way, Brad and I just got substitute-teacher certified (for the 3rd time in our 3rd state!) and it’s a nice way to get back into the school occasionally. You can do it as often or as little as you like. With a familiar school already in place, you could sub for your teacher friends, and visit your old students on occasion. Another option is teaching Sunday school. It’s only one day a week, but it’s an opportunity to continue doing what you love on a smaller scale. 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Subbing is something that I’m exploring as a possibility, though with the move to Chico, it would be a new break in to the schools up here. Also comes the issue of child care those days. We’ve already decided that if I do any kind of work, day care would be a nanny, then comes the financial factor that the majority of my income would then be going to child care! So many sides and levels of complication to something that seems like it should be so seemingly simple! I think the thing that my super-planning-brain has the hardest time with is the unknown and indecision. If I were to just make plan (even if it’s something that I don’t like) I’m usually better off than not having one!

      • Well then subbing is probably not a good option for you. 🙂 I wasn’t sure if you had family nearby who could watch the boys every once in awhile so you could do a little teaching. Otherwise, there are opportunities for teachers everywhere, even if you don’t get paid for it. I follow this gal at Blogging with Amy, and her husband tutors on-line from home. I think your blog is a great way to showcase how you are teaching your boys, and reaching out to other moms hoping to teach their own kids. 🙂 Keep up the good work!

  3. Michele says:

    Your blog post is exactly what has been going through my head in the past week! I came across your blog while reading other people’s experiences about leaving teaching to stay at home. I took last year off as my maternity leave from teaching but decided not to return this fall. However, my position at my former school opened up again recently because the person they hired left. My coworker friends immediately told me since they knew I was feeling the pull of being back in the classroom and I’ve spent this last month wondering if I made the right decision to stay at home. Long story short, with only a couple days to make the decision (teacher PDs start next week), and after talking through it at length with family and close friends, and weighing every option, I made my final decision today to not return this year. I feel more at peace with my decision than I did at the end of my leave, maybe because of the intensity of the last couple of days and having to lay it all out there while weighing both sides. But coming across your post has made me feel so much better about what I went through and my decision, and I wanted to let you know I really appreciate you sharing your own experience. Everything you wrote truly resonated with me.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Michele,

      It is such a hard decision. I’m glad my ramblings helped in some way. I think that even after it’s all decided, I still ponder it, but I too feel a sense of peace about it all knowing that this is the “plan” for now. I do think that for me, I need something, so I’m still looking for the right position – as long as it’s VERY part time. I’m also going to start teaching in the children’s department at my church – so I’ll be able to get a little bit of it out of my system that way as well. Good luck with your adventures!

      Jessica

    • Christina says:

      You both made the right decisions…you can ALWAYS go back to teaching but you can NEVER get back the years that pass while our children are young. Furthermore, you have still have the most important job/career…teaching your own children which has the most valuable rewards that you will cherish. I wish you all the best.

  4. Laura says:

    Thank you for this. I found you via pinterest via your freezer meal post. I always like to see who these pinteresting people are that I pin. 🙂 My sweet baby boy is almost a year old now, and this school year marks the beginning of the second year of me staying home. It has been quite a journey – very similar to what you have documented here. Thank you for putting into words how I feel, too.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Laura,

      Welcome 🙂 I’m surprised at how many teachers/former teachers have contacted me about this post! My youngest is almost a year old now too – and though I really do miss being in the classroom I love the memories I make with them at home. Though I do have to admit it’s almost a daily/weekly thing that I go back and forth about finding something part time or not. I’ve just set my mind to the fact that if the right thing comes up I’ll know it’s meant to be – but I’m not going to settle for something that’s not the “perfect” job for my situation. Best of luck in your journey as well!

  5. Amber says:

    I’ve been a stay-at-home mom almost the full 6 years since I became a mother. When my youngest was less than a year I had the opportunity to teach again (I do adult ESL at the college level) and taught for two semesters. It was amazing to be back in the classroom, but child care was so difficult and the pull to stay home so strong. As we’ve added children to our family I am so grateful we made this choice. My husband has been in medical school for three years now and financially it’s a rough road. But I know it’s best for our family if I do not work. That has been reiterated to me time and again and I trust that it’s God’s directive for us and that he will continue to bless us for listening to Him.
    I wanted to say that when you spoke of carrying your son around all afternoon and not getting much else done, I know so many women who choose to work because they do not want that. Whether that’s right or wrong, I’m not judging, but I think it takes an amazing amount of stamina and dedication to be a stay at home parent. I love that you followed that up with sweet feelings about putting him to bed and being the one to comfort him. Those moments are so much sweeter because of what has been experienced and sacrificed to get to that point.
    I’ve rambled enough 🙂 I do that often. But I wanted to say hi! and add another voice of understanding and support for you! I’m stopping by from the Sunday Parenting Party.

  6. Amie says:

    It was wonderful reading your post, because I realised that, that was me two months ago and now I am in the most amazing place in my life. I went on maternity leave mid-2009 from a career I loved with all my heart and soul. I put every part of my being into teaching my Year 1 classes for a decade. I was determined to return after the first year, but I fell pregnant with twins, so I had another year of leave. I received more leave for the twins and was set to return to teaching next year, except I loved being with my children. I loved them as much as I loved my career. I was torn. I got so messed up with my decision! I worked through it, cried alot and realised that staying at home, raising my children and giving them the best early childhood education that could possibly be offered (because they are with mummy) was what I REALLY wanted to do! I have made myself available for sub work one day a week and love being back in the classroom…but I love leaving the job at the school gates and returning to my little family more. Big hugs on your journey! There are actually a lot of us out ‘there’ and there is a whole world of opportunities! Who knows where your growth as a mumma will take you! We’re all here to support you along your journey. xox

    • Nicole says:

      Well said re Best early childhood education they can get….my son has learned so much with me in such a short amount of time…i’m amazed!! Good Luck to you and your family!

      Nicole

  7. Kelly says:

    Wow! I cannot believe how much this sounds like me! I started my 10th year of teaching last year & things started going crazy. I didn’t see it coming but stuff started happening at my school and I resigned in October. I decided it was all a sign that I needed to be with my son who was 2 at the time. I knew Iwanted to keep him socialized but I HAD to still make money. For that reason I opened an in-home daycare. It’s not the ideal situation but it’s working…..most of the time! I am with my boy every day and he has 4 other friends running around here that he plays and learns with every day. My husband is still teaching so it makes it a little rough because we don’t have that connection of teaching anymore but it’s okay. My plan is to keep my boy home until Kindergarten & then hopefully I can go back to teaching. I’m hoping to go to my husband’s district which is where my son will go so we’ll all have the same schedule. Thank you for your posts on your feelings about being home vs. teaching. There are many feelings I haven’t been able to put on paper but I feel them. I’m struggling but I’ll survive.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Kelly!
      I can’t believe how many teachers have responded to this (either here in comments or emailed me) about how this resonates with them. I hope that all your plans work out for you and that there’s openings in your husbands district when the time comes. I really struggled with all the the thoughts and feelings, and found that it does help so much to just put them all down on paper. This post was honestly a spewing of random thoughts and feelings about the start of the school year and me not having a classroom. I really didn’t know where it was going to go or the conclusion I was going to come upon, but as I was typing it, things just started to make sense. Maybe writing things down would help. My poor husband also gets the hour long “conversation” (me just talking through things) and that helps too. I hope you find something to make your time with your child the best it can be!

      Jessica

  8. The Monko says:

    This is a great post, its thought provoking for both SAHMs and “working mums”, and at the same time so intensely personal to your situation. Thanks for sharing this on the Sunday Parenting Party, I’m pinning this to our board.

  9. Nicole says:

    I happened to stumble across this blog! I am a kindergarten teacher and have been on the fence about staying home with my 22 mont old. I have been given the ” well i dont think you should because….blahh blahhh” from most. However, I have had 8 sitters in his little 22 month old life,, 4 were garbage, the other 4 had to move, get a job , deal with life etc…. Nonethe less my poor boy has been shuffled around too much. I cant do it anymore, my day vare for this school year is not reliable as well….so I was hunting down a new sitter with two weeks to go before work starts…….I have had enough.

    I am putting in my resognation Monday, and I am overflowing with emothions, happy and freaked out at the same time. I love my class, I love teaching, but I love my son more.

    I am glad to read this, your words spoke to me….Hope all is well.
    Thanks for posting….Nicole

  10. Nicole says:

    excuse my typos from above post
    I need a new laptop, keys are stuck 🙁

  11. ashley says:

    Omgoodness, I could have written this. 🙂 I have been a kindergarten teacher for 4-5years and just left to be a sahm to my daughter and our second child that is due Christmas eve. I loved hearing someone going through the same thing. I consider how crazzzy life gets during the school year….how much I love teaching but how terrible I feel as a mama. Leaving my daughter 8-10 he’s a day, where she and my husband get my leftovers at the end of the day. House is a mess, laundry needs to be done and a tired and stressed mama. But, this week school starts back….I am missing my friends, my boss, my students, planning, decorating, meet and greet…etc. My heart is torn….but the peace I feel knowing I am fulfilling my purpose of wife and mommy right now makes it much easier. 🙂