Today I opened a large 8×10 frame that housed my teaching certification and put a family picture in front of it. I have a habit of doing that- layering photographs in my frames. It’s like a little mini time capsule- so fun to see what’s buried under the photos.
But today this was more than just updating our family picture or reflecting on captured memories. Today, it represents so much more: I’m saying good-bye to my teaching career (for now) and stepping into my role as SAHM.
I couldn’t be more excited, scared, happy, and nervous all at the same time.
It feels like one of the biggest decisions I have ever made, though I guess getting married, having kids and buying a house are all big decisions that led me here in the first place. 😉
The magnitude of this choice has been weighing on me for years. 8 to be exact.
In 2005, when Barry and I got married, I was in the middle of finishing my degree. I had just found out that I did not get accepted into the art program I so desperately wanted to be a part of (the rule of thumb was apply twice and always get in the second time- what a shot to the self esteem!). I had to make a decision…reapply in a year, find a new program or change my major all together. The rejection had me rethinking all my plans, and I began to wonder if completing my degree was even worth it.
We knew we wanted children eventually, and I was adamant that I would stay home like my mother did. So why waste time and money on a degree when I may not use it for very long?
The reality was we were newly married, young and unprepared for children at the time. A degree was a good, solid foundation and I needed to see it through.
I was so hurt by the art program, that I didn’t want to reapply mostly out of embarrassment. So I had my cry fest, did a lot of sole searching and was led to a career in teaching (which, looking back, I had consistently been placed in a teaching role as a theme in my life, I was just too caught up in other things to notice). Best decision I could have come to and I thank God every day I was brought to this place.
I worked hard for my degree. Barry and I struggled through our first year of marriage, paid for my remaining courses, and I graduated with my BFA. Art is my passion, and this was just another means to express myself and be creative.
My first year teaching was so amazing. It was all so shiny and new. I loved everything about it- planning lessons, the smell of newly sharpened pencils, my painting apron, building relationships with students, learning how to be a teacher. A degree got me the job, but my students taught me everything I know. I remember my first day, being so nervous and thinking: they know they left me in here…all alone…completely trusting that I’m teaching and that I’m good at it. With someone elses’ kids…lol
But you know what? I am good at it. And I have grown so much since first stepping foot into my classroom in 2009.
Barry and I had decided that we didn’t want to start a family until I had established myself in my career…but as fate would have it, 2009 was also the year that began our fertility struggles and our attempt to build a family.
I’ve now been teaching 5 years. Our family has changed and I have changed.
We have three beautiful children and they need me. I’ve cried and doubted and worried about this choice.
Will I be good at it? Will I get bored/depressed? Will I lose touch? Will I have anything else to talk about? Will motherhood be the only thing that defines me? Am I ok with that? Will my photography business flop? Can we really make it financially?
At the end of the day, as nervous as I am to make the switch (mostly because of self doubt and fear), none if that matters because my children need me and I want to be there. I’m being called to this role…this job (because let’s face it, has difficult as work can be, children are a JOB too. A hard one.).
God has been preparing me for this moment, and resisting change won’t make it less so.
For five years, I’ve been able to build new friendships professionally and personally. Parents have trusted me with their precious children. I’ve grown and challenged myself in my field. I’ve gotten to be nurse, teacher, role model, surrogate parent, moral compass, friend, wardrobe specialist, janitor, spiritual advisor, planner, curriculum specialist, psychiatrist, mentor, learner and so much more. I will never forget my students and the way they have grown me.
Now I get to focus all of this on my own children and I couldn’t be more excited or proud of this opportunity.
God is so good and I’m looking forward to this next chapter.
I’m asking for prayers in this new transitional time. Prayer that I would see God’s will and purpose clearly for our family, that we would be good stewards of our blessings, that I won’t find myself overwhelmed or out of touch or withdrawn from my support group (like finding myself under the bed trying to pull a rug out from a bed that weighs 700lbs and crying <—true story…or neglecting daily showers…or going out in public looking like a #hotmess)…you get it. 😉
This is going to be awesome. This is going to be hard. This is going to be worth it. Every single second of it.