A few months ago I shared some thoughts and feelings that I couldn’t quite shake. Now that I have come to a final decision I thought I should follow up to that post. The debate that was plaguing my every thought at the time was my decision between returning to teaching in the fall or staying home.
At the time, I was preoccupied with what others would think of my decision. Would I be seen as a neglectful mother if I went back to work while having the option of staying home? Would I be seen as undriven – giving up on my career and a degree I worked so hard for? Or would I be seen as lazy by not making my schedule and my life as packed as possible.
I spoke with coworkers, family and friends and it seemed that everyone I talked to had a set opinion on this situation. Some had always envisioned being a stay at home mom, some couldn’t bear the thought of being away from work longer than 6 weeks, some didn’t really have a choice in the matter and either had to stay home or return to work. It seemed to me that everyone had taken the time to think about this decision and had a clear cut answer. I had been thinking about this choice I would have to make from the moment I found out I was pregnant. Why was it so difficult for me to decide? In all honesty, I struggled with this decision until the day I resigned.
About two weeks after bringing our girl home I started feeling antsy and isolated. All I could think about was teaching, getting back into my classroom and being surrounded by my coworkers. I was craving adult human interaction – which I think is pretty normal for a first time mom at home with a newborn she knows absolutely nothing about. At that time I thought – there is nothing else I can do, I need to go back and teach in the fall. Staying at home is going to drive me mad.
A few more weeks passed and I started to get to know my daughter. We started to slide into a routine (as much of a routine that is possible with a 5 week old) and I started considering my options a bit more. But the thought remained…I just couldn’t imagine not going back to my classroom in the fall. For the past three years I have done the same thing. I have thrown myself into my work and my school and essentially for 9 months out of the year I have been unavailable to those around me – including my family. But then again, I couldn’t imagine not being with my daughter. I really couldn’t bear the thought of taking her to a daycare and letting someone else experience all of her firsts. The most mind boggling part of this entire process is that I have never wanted to be a stay at home mom. I never imagined this choice being so difficult.
While I was pregnant I interviewed 10 different daycare facilities. I took it on as a full time job and I saw what was being offered in the infant childcare department. Out of those ten tours I only felt semi-comfortable with one daycare. I even took our deposit in just in case I did decide to go back in the fall. After dropping off the deposit I got in my car and cried. Hormonal tears, tears because I couldn’t imagine dropping my girl off at daycare, but mostly tears of frustration because I still hadn’t come to a decision and I was tired of my heart feeling so torn.
The last week of school – after a lot of prayers, thought, and time I made my decision. I scheduled a meeting with my principal and resigned. I’m not entirely sure of the moment when I figured it out. But my thoughts stopped being so back and forth all the time and I think I just accepted the options set before me. I also considered both options fully. I have not necessarily been as happy as I could be this past year teaching (pregnancy aside) and I have been feeling restless – like it was time for a change of pace in some way or another. Packing up my classroom was one of the most bittersweet moments of my life. That school was my first big girl job. I made friends and grew in ways that I never imagined but I know that this is the right decision for us right now. I know teaching is not out of my life forever (I don’t really think it can be). Instead of 20 little people needing me all day I’m going to be with one little person that I need just as much as she needs me.
And so life goes on, I’m excited about this new adventure and what it’s going to bring our way.