The end of the school year has arrived (which I’ve found can really vary depending on where you live–in the south it’s generally mid to late May, while up north it can go almost until July, and I’m not even sure about the west/mid-west)! I haven’t blogged about school nearly as much as I’ve come home to share stories with my husband, but it’s really been (understandably) a huge part of my year. Whether it’s because I’m up late at night grading papers, or because I’m praying/worrying over my students, or just feeling thankful for finding a wonderful school (which can be a rarity these days), I can’t really go even a couple of hours without thinking about my job.
And it’s that very fact that has forced me to consider, off and on since last fall–will I be able to continue with two of them at home?
It’s a question that I’ve avoided for a long time (maybe because deep down, I already knew the answer and I didn’t want to face it), but now that time is running out, I am forced to make a decision.
Between the rough year that Jake has had at daycare (bringing home illness from his classmates at LEAST every four weeks, if not more often), and the late nights I’ve spent nodding off while trying to grade papers, the decision has really been weighing on my mind lately.
Would I be able to survive next school year with two of them at home? Probably…if we’re only talking about survival. But would I want to just SURVIVE? Is that really fair to my students (or my babies at home…or my husband, for that matter)? Don’t I always try my best to EXCEL?
So I’ve made the decision. I’m going to stay at home.
It’s an easy decision for some. A no-brainer for many of the moms that I’ve spoken to at church. But for me it was difficult. It’s not just that I’ve found my dream job, or that I feel like I’m fulfilling my calling in life when I’m in school. Being a teacher has become the way that I define myself–it’s a category that I fit into. It’s who I am. Which is something that people who are just punching a clock or cashing a check don’t really understand. The reason that I stay up late at night, way past the hours that I actually get paid, is because I’m doing what I’ve been called to do and I LOVE it. So it’s hard, because I’m giving up something that I love at a place that I love.
But are Jake and Teddy worth it? Of course. Will I regret my decision later? Probably not–according to many of the folks with older children who I’ve talked to. I will always have my degree, and I’ll always have the option of returning to work for the rest of my life. But I will never again have the option of staying at home with my toddler and newborn and spending quality time with them. It doesn’t feel like it right now that I’m in the midst of it, but EVERYONE keeps telling me that they will grow up so fast.
So I’m going to try to forge a new identity–in being a stay-at-home-mom. And I know that while it’s new and different and I’ll probably feel a little sad when August rolls around and everyone is heading back to school, this is the right choice. And though at my new job, I will stay up late at night,
way past the hours I get paid without EVER getting paid, I’ll do it because I’m doing what I’ve been called to do and I will LOVE it.
But meanwhile, allow me to get emotional over some of these end of the year reflections that my students wrote for me on their school blogs. I didn’t ask them to reflect on ME as a teacher (just the class in general), but that’s what so many of them did, and it made me feel even more sentimental about leaving that I already did:
Those comments went on and on and ON…but that’s about as far as I can get without breaking out the tissues. It’s been a great year! 🙂 I will really miss those kids!