*Before I begin, I feel compelled to give a small disclaimer. I am not discrediting the hard work and difficulties that come with being a stay at home mom. I’m simply giving my account of what it’s like to be a working mom at this stage in my own momhood.
Before I could even read and write, I knew I wanted to be a teacher some day. I would line my stuffed animals up, use my little chalk board and Dr. Seuss library, and teach those animals from sun up to sun down. When my mom found an old school house desk at a garage sale, I would force my younger brother to sit and learn as I taught him how to read A Pig Can Jig. Teaching was all I dreamed about.
Mrs. Schaefer, my first and second grade teacher, sparked a fire to read inside of me. Mr. Rauh, my fourth grade teacher, brought poetry to life. Mrs. Hanson, my fifth grade teacher, finally helped my brain to think mathematically. I could sit here and list teacher after teacher throughout my career at Stewartville Public Schools who solidified my desire to teach.
Even though I always wanted to be a teacher, I took a different route to the classroom. I hemmed and hawed my way through multiple different majors (elementary education, communicative disorders, English literature…), until I finally obtained my special education teaching license at age 27.
The moment I stepped foot into my classroom, I knew I belonged. This was it. I was meant to be here and teach these kiddos. But, a few months later, my heart was pulled from my classroom. My first son, Charlie, was born. I spent the first 6 months of his life (12 weeks maternity leave and summer break) at home with him.
When it was time to go back for the school year, my heart ached. Dropping him off at daycare, my tears flowed. Staying late to correct papers, write IEPs or meet with families, and I’d miss precious moments with my baby. He’d be sleeping peacefully by the time I got home.
I remember the time our former daycare provider texted me that Charlie took his first steps. My heart was crushed. I’m missing these sweet moments! And for what? To fulfill some “calling” I’ve always felt?! Wouldn’t my life be more fulfilling if I could just stay home with my sweet family every day?!
The answer to that question -maybe so, but maybe not.
For the first 27 years of my life, there was no doubt in my mind that teaching was for me. Why am I just now doubting this? Every time I’m in front of the classroom, I know this is what I was meant to do.
In order to get that sought after degree, I ended up with $60,000 in student loan debt (Thank you private institutions…). How can I justify staying home on one income when I loaded our family down in debt to become a teacher?
Maybe being a working mom makes me a better mom to my kids.
Now, when I say this, I don’t mean working moms are better moms. BUT, me, personally. I need this career. I love this career. Even on my worst days in the classroom, I still come home so ready and excited to spend a few hours loving on my boys. I feel refreshed to get into mom mode. I’m afraid if I wasn’t working, I wouldn’t be this refreshed and activity packed mom that I strive to be now.
Honestly, I decided to write this post because I was having a pity party kind of day. My students weren’t meeting my expectations that day. My co-workers were on my nerves. Facebook was filled with the amazing things my stay at home mom friends were doing. I had HAD it with being a working mom. I started figuring out financially how I could stay at home, and I started thinking of ways I could present this idea to my husband.
But then I stopped, reflected on the fact that today just wasn’t a good day at work, and realized that for me, being a working mom makes me a better mom. Maybe some day we’ll decided that teaching isn’t what I should be doing anymore, but for today, I’m thankful for my life as both a mom AND a teacher.