Tuesday, February 12, 2008

WHERE I AM AND HOW I GOT THERE

I got this great idea from Cammie. You can read her thoughts here. The topic is the journey from working to stay-at-home-mom, or SAHM.

When it comes to the work or not to work decision, there seems to be 4 categories, by my way of thinking. You have the mom who works and wants to work. There is the mom who doesn't work and wants to work. There is the mom who works and doesn't want to work. And finally the mom who doesn't work and doesn't want to work.

Now without getting into a debate, please remember that I am a mother of 4 boys 8 years old and under. I KNOW that staying home, doing 20 loads of laundry a week and facing each month where my hubby is gone 17 days (including nights) is work. I'm talking about being on someone's payroll where I provide a service and get a paycheck for said service. THAT is how I am defining work. That being said, let's continue.

I was in my last year of college when my first son was born 8 1/2 years ago. When he turned 8 weeks old, I started my last semester of classes, taking 20 hours. The following spring, I did my student teaching. I had a wonderful babysitter. I hated to leave him,, but so excited was I to be so close to earning my teaching degree that I didn't really have problems leaving him with Ms. Rosalie.

About 3 months into my student teaching, I found out I was pregnant with DS #2. I was put in a position of having to work. We were about to move to North Texas, my hubby was going to be a pilot for American Eagle (and as glamorous as that sounds....I made more as a first year teacher than he did....and I made about $32K) I had two BABIES to support...and suddenly found my hubby based in Puerto Rico.

Even though we were in hard times, I LOVED teaching. I researched and found a wonderful daycare facility. I was always asking questions, popping in for "surprise" visits....my children thrived, loved their caregivers and did not have problems being dropped off every day.

During my 3rd year of teaching, I got pregnant with my 3rd child. Excited we were. I was still at the wonderful daycare which was great, since I had NO INTENTION of staying home. To say that I had a choice...well, I don't know if that is accurate. Certainly, if my heart was set on staying home with my 3 boys, my hubby and I would have found a way. However, I was teaching a math class for 7th grade. My school district was great and the teachers I worked with were my best friends (One still is ;) )

After three boys, none of which were in school, people started to make comments - some less sensitive than others. Things like, "You work AND pay daycare? Honey, you can hardly afford to work." That is one of the dumbest things I've heard. I mean, first off, you have NO idea my financial situation. If most of my paycheck goes to daycare and I only bring home a few hundred a month...well, that might be the few hundred that makes the difference in us MAKING IT or NOT. Also, who are YOU to tell me what I can and can't afford? I mean, really!

I always felt I would teach for awhile, but I knew that I would not retire from teaching. It was always in my mind. I also knew that I would miss teaching. My prayer had been, and still is, for God to give me the heart's desire to do what I'm supposed to do. I trusted in that. I had to as I had always felt I was a better mom while working. Though I loved the teenagers, I just didn't think I could be happy with the thankless job of housekeeping, wiping heiney's and snotty noses, and joining the PTO.

During my 5th year of teaching, I was in a new district. I LOVED this district. In fact, I love it so much, that is where my oldest 2 children go. The principal is wonderful, the teachers are great...and many are good friends of mine, and the whole air of the place is wholesome and positive. During this year, I taught 5th grade...not my ideal grade to teach, I love 7th, but I still LOVED my class. THIS was where I wanted to teach for the rest of my teaching career. To be down the hall from all my kids and my friends was a very comfortable idea.

I got pregnant with number 4. I had started school in mid-August. I happily went to school daily, loving life and loving the fact that I was pregnant with my 4th son. I found out I was pregnant on a Tuesday in September. I told my principal that following Thursday. I told him my intention to not return that following Monday.

It wasn't that I had to stay home. I had my oldest in school. I had a new, wonderful daycare for sons 2 and 3. I was in a job I loved. Hubby was in a job he loved and making more money so the choice was mine. I was also making quite a bit more than my first year. But remember the prayer? The one that said my desires would change to fit the need? It did....it slapped my upside the head! I knew...and STILL know, that for the time being, I am a SAHM.

Now the question is, "Will I go back to work?" Honestly, I don't know right now. First off, I know I won't be released to work until my third son has his ear fixed. (I'll blog on that another day.) I also know I won't be released as long as my 4th is at home. That only gives me 2 or 3 more years at home. However, I also feel that, though it is important to be home when kids are learning to read and write and potty by themselves...well, it is even more important to be home when they are starting to "hang out" after school. You see, I'm one of those moms that feels it is my responsibility to be ALL UP IN THEIR BUSINESS as they grow.

Am I happy? SO HAPPY! Do I miss teaching? Yes, I do. When I go to conferences and see my former colleagues in meetings, I want to join them. I savor the days when someone says, "You're a teacher, can you help me?" I have dumped myself, fully, into the Christian Eduation department in our church...it scratches that itch I have for teaching.

My prayer remains the same, "Father God. You know my desires. Please have them fit to your will. Change them as I need to change. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

7 comments:

Ashley said...

What an awesome testimony of how God can (and will!) change our hearts and desires. Couldn't help but laugh out loud at your comment about being all up in your kids' business ... so true, but funny! Loved this post! :)

Mommy Spice said...

Oh my goodness. I can't believe you blogged this. I have to chime in on what I'm dealing with right now. OK....first of all, let me tell you what my salary was my first year teaching in 1993... $18.5. Oh yes, I'm serious!!

Now, here's what I'm going through. I got to teach 10 solid years before adopting Spicy Girl. I loved it. I'm glad I got those 10 years. We made the decision for me to stay home once we adopted, which was our original plan (stay home mom). It's been financially difficult, but I've loved every minute of it. Now, S.G. starts school next fall. Financially, it would be a great help for me to go back to teaching full time. Again, I loved teaching pre-S.G., but do I want to go back full time now? Nope. NOt really. I don't want to come home completely wiped out every day. I'm an awesome teacher. I put my ALL into it. There's not a whole lot left when I get home. I am a whimp I guess...anyway, I have really been praying for God to change my heart on this. I know it would be so helpful for me to go back. And I do love teaching. I just don't want to dissapoint my husband and daughter when I have less time and energy for them. Will that happen? Ugh!! What to do?

Of course, there's the question of where in the world we're going to be next fall. It would be nice to know.

Miss May said...

I admire and love you...still thinking of you daily.

zoinatt said...

I totally understand you feeling on the people butting into your financial life. I get that whenever I roll around the idea of daycare. I feel that way too even if I bring home $100.00 it's $100.00 more then I bring home now.

RFOL at the up in their business comment that is TOTALLY how I feel about my kids today and will always feel that way. :)

Mommy Spice said...

I'm enjoying listening to your Beatles tunes. Oooh, takes me back.

Ashley said...

Yes I did finish all of those things (after many many many hours!) ;)

Panda-Mom said...

What a great post! Thanks for sharing the views and truths about this topic. Being a SAHM will reap benefits we might not ever see, but know God is blessing your family eternally for your sacrifice. ; )