to teach or not to teach

…these are the two options that have been frequenting my thoughts for the past 8 (almost 9) months.

This is a post that has been sitting in my drafts for a long while because I wasn’t sure if this was something I should post about. If this was something that I should share with the internet because of the people I do and don’t know who read this blog. But lately I have been thinking about it more (for obvious-upcoming-birth reasons) and have also felt the need to finish my thoughts and hit publish. I have also been confronted with this topic more and more the closer we get to meeting this little girl and I realize that this is something that EVERY woman-becoming-a-mother must think about in some capacity.

I haven’t really openly talked about my options for next year much aside from conversations with my (wonderful, patient, etc.etc.) husband because I don’t think I have really known what I want for this next year or what my opinions on working vs. not working were. I don’t like talking about big life changes when I don’t really have an answer to give because I feel that it leaves me feeling others unfulfilled or worried. Basically, the decision is mine. We are fortunate enough to be at a place where I am able to consider my options and really weigh both as equally as possible. (However, to clear up any questions – the final verdict is still out and I am nowhere near making any sort of decision at the moment.)

This weekend we had dinner with an old college friend who just had her second (adorable) little boy and once again I was asked, “So, what are you going to do about next year???” She is a fellow teacher and decided to stay at home after being confronted with a series of decisions after their first son was born almost two years ago. She is definitely an advocate for taking the time off to get to know your kiddos and kept talking up their whole situation and choice. That night, instead of leaving with a feeling of confirmation or being able to side one way or another I left feeling torn. Honestly, I was a little frustrated because I had been doing such a great job pushing these thoughts to the back of my mind for so long and there I was having to think about them again. No one likes thinking about hard decisions.

It left me asking myself why. Why do I feel so torn? Where is my mind on all of this? Where is my heart?It also left me asking my husband what his opinions were. Which as awful as it might sound is something I had yet to do…or I at least I hadn’t been giving his thoughts a fair chance.

A part of me is completely unaware of what my husband and I are about to get ourselves into. We have a vague concept of babies and are both so excited about this next venture in life – but at the end of the day we have no clue what to expect. I don’t know how I am going to feel when I finally meet this little person, I don’t know how my body is going to be effected, I don’t know if everything will go smoothly or if there will be some bumps along the way. I don’t honestly know if I feel really, truly comfortable not being around my kid for the majority of the day and letting some other person bond with her.

On the other hand I look at where I have come in these past three years of teaching. All that I have learned, all that I have grown to love about my career choice and I wonder…am I throwing it all away? To stay home? To…just. be. a. mom. Why can’t I be one of those people who is so completely in love with this concept of being a stay at home mom? Will I be seen as lazy by friends, family, coworkers, parents of current and former students, my boss? Just because there is a part of me that wants to be with my family? This school year has been tough. Pregnancy aside, I would have to say that this year has challenged my philosophies on education more than any other year and for once I’m not entirely sure where I stand. Where do I go from here? I have always been very open and honest with myself and others that I have never wanted to stay in the classroom forever. I have always had thoughts of pursuing higher education, possibly obtaining a masters in counseling, looking into other career opportunities with kids, etc. But just I don’t know right now and to say that this is something that completely terrifies me is a huge understatement.

There are so many people I have talked to since announcing our pregnancy that have shared their thoughts and feelings. Both working and nonworking moms alike have been very open and honest with me about their personal feelings on this subject and that no matter what our decision is in the end everyone has assured me with the same sentiment: all that truly matters is what’s best for our family. I just wish I knew what was best for our family right now. I’m really looking forward to this time in Lent to focus on this big question and seeking some clarity and answers. I think the Gospel reading during mass yesterday said it perfectly and that really even if I never receive full confirmation one way or another – I can’t waste my time worrying right now:

“Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?”

Mt. 6:24-34

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6 thoughts on “to teach or not to teach

  1. Joanna, whatever your decision is, we support and love you. I’m glad I can say that I know you. You’re a great teacher, will be a great mom, and God will always make your path straight.

  2. I would support your decision no matter what you decide to do. It does disturb me that you perceive being a SAHM as a choice in which you would be considered “lazy.” Being a Mom
    is one of the most challenging endeavors that you are about to undertake! There is nothing
    “lazy” about this new venture. You will be engaged physically, emotionally and spiritually as you raise your child. It is an amazing journey! I’m not sure but I wonder if you are concerned about losing the daily “social” interactions that you get at your job. There is “social” activity outside the school corridors! You are truly blessed that your husband will be able to supply your family’s needs financially and this allows you to even consider a “SAHM” choice! I will
    pray for you as you work on this decision. Love you always!

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