*Originally posted on E, Myself, & I (10/11/13).
This post has been a long time coming. For some reason, it has been SO hard to write. Not because I don’t have things to say, but because I have SO MUCH; and because I have so much fear of saying something that will be hurtful to someone else.
The title “working mom” defines me in so much as anything in this world ever will. Although it carries all kinds of connotations, for me, it is the blending of two things I love so much – being a wife/mother and being a teacher. Before I go any further, I should probably just say that I firmly believe that I am called to BOTH of those things, and that, with God’s grace, I can be good at both of them.
There are days (like yesterday) that every bone in me craves staying at home and drinking coffee from an actual mug, snuggling with Sam on the couch, and actually putting away the clothes that have been sitting in my laundry room for weeks now.
There are days when my heart hurts over not knowing Sam’s preschool teacher because I’m never the one to take him or drop him off (and days when I fear that she thinks I’m the worst mom ever).
There are days when the sting of another blog or another friend saying that they gave up their career in exchange for raising their kids hurts – bad.
On those days, my insecurities come out, and I question my decision to go to work every day. On those days, I question why God calls so many of my friends and mentors to stay home full time with their babies, but He has called me to the classroom. I wonder if I am mishearing Him, or being selfish, or setting myself up for a future of regret and worry that I somehow robbed Sam of something precious… On those days, being a working mom is SO hard.
But there are other days when I sit at my desk and eat lunch with nine senior girls and talk about real life. When they bring me their college essays for help and leave feeling excited and confident about the future.
… When something finally clicks, and a unit comes together perfectly, and I have literal chill bumps from the adrenaline of finally getting all my ideas down on paper (I know – #nerdalert).
… When students tell me they have never read an entire book, and they just devoured the one we are studying. Or the moment that I see them “get it” in a discussion about themes and I know reading will never be the same for them again.
… When I ride school buses, listen to clips of the latest “it” songs, flip through prom pictures, and laugh – A LOT.
These are the days when I am SO thankful for a job that keeps me young, gives me life, challenges me every day, and helps me be sure of my purpose.
Y’all, I love my job. If you’ve read this blog for any time, you know that teaching is a passion of mine, and a part of who I am – I’ve been “playing school” for as long as I can remember.
BUT, I also love my baby. SO SO much. All those years when I was playing school, I was also playing “house,” and dreaming of the day when I would have my own little family. Being a mama has always been a desire of my heart and a part of my identity, and no less now than ever.
One of the things that I struggle the most with in the whole Working vs. Stay at Home Mom debate (which I think is junk, by the way) is the assumption that the only reason people work after they have children is because they have to or because they are somehow choosing the extra income over the extra time with their family. Even though I know this isn’t the intention (usually), whenever a SAHM talks about the sacrifices she has made to stay home with their kids, I hear “but we all make sacrifices… I’m choosing money and you’re choosing time.”*
In my case, I am choosing to be a working mom. Yes, I’d be lying if I said the money doesn’t matter at all, or that I don’t enjoy some of the perks of having a dual-income household; BUT, that has very little to do with why I work. We have lived on one income, we have lived on a part-time income, and I have spent extended time at home with Sam (think: summer breaks). I KNOW we could do that (and maybe one day God will call us to again); but, for now, I work because I really love it, AND I love who it makes me.
I love that every day is different for me and my mind is constantly challenged.
I love that routine helps me function and make better use of my time.
I love that I have a good reason to get up and put on a cute outfit every morning.
I love that Sam will grow up watching his mama work hard at something she cares about.
(I also love that he pretty much will never be able to get away with anything when he is older because I am a teenager expert – haha!)
I love that Sam is secure and confident in my love for him not because of the QUANTITY of time we spend together, but because of the QUALITY.
I love that there are SO many people in our lives that love Sam like their own – his grandparents and our amazing nanny for starters.
I really think I am a better mom/wife/etc. when I am working.
My boy is HAPPY. He is well-loved. He is smiling when his daddy gets him out of the bed in the morning. He is smiling when Ms. Jennifer gets there in time to cut up his banana. And, he is smiling when I get home in the afternoon.
I don’t know what the future will hold; but, for now, this works for us.
(Photos by HoweCaptivate)