If you’ve been reading here for anytime at all, you know that I feel passionately called to BOTH my role as a mom AND my role as a high school English teacher. For this season of my life, God has made it abundantly clear to me that I am better when I am working and that He is not finished with my ministry in the classroom. However, that choice – as confident as it may be – does not come without its questions, sacrifices, or guilt on occasion.
Today, I’m joining up with Linda Kardamis from one of my very favorite blogs – Teach 4 the Heart – to share about two different perspectives on continuing to teach after starting a family. Here’s a little preview of my post over on her blog explaining some of my heart behind deciding to work after having a baby… (You can read the full post here.)
I discovered an interesting paradigm during my pregnancy with Sam. At work, no one really ever asked me if I was going to come back after the baby was born; it was just assumed that I would. Instead, the questions revolved around how long I would be out, who would do my long-term subbing, and who would keep Sam once I started back. At church, on the other hand, I suddenly noticed that most of the mos around me (women I loved and respected a lot), had “given up” their careers to stay home full time after children. I was asked frequently whether or not I planned to go back to work; and, to be honest, I often got the clear feeling that the only acceptable reason to work after having kids was because I “had” to – for financial or other reasons.
In the end, although I was a little tormented by some of those opinions early on, I knew what my decision would be. As the daughter of a phenomenal teacher and the colleague of many excellent mothers, I had great examples in my life to prove that I COULD follow both of my dreams – motherhood and teaching. And, now three years in to this “working mom” gig, I am convinced that with a lot of prayer, grace, and a little extra planning, I can actually be GOOD at both of them.
I found Linda’s blog shortly after starting Sam & Scout and consider it one of the BEST resources out there for high school teachers today (especially Christian teachers). She posts incredible content almost every day on classroom management, faith in the public schools, work-life balance, and motherhood. She has one little boy too, and we immediately connected over all of our shared passions and loves. However, one major difference stood out among us… While I chose to continue working after having Sam three years ago, Linda hung up her official “teaching hat” for a few years after the birth of her son and, instead, stays connected to education through her blog etc. these days. I am honored to have her here today to share a little about her decision to STAY HOME after starting a family and some tips for adjusting to that new life. Please welcome Linda!
For many, the choice of whether to keep working after having a baby is quite difficult. There are so many factors to consider and so many emotions at play.
For me, the choice itself was easy, as I’d known for years that when I started my family I would stay home with my children. The tough part was navigating the adjustment and figuring out what my new role would look like.
Why I Chose to Stop Teaching
- Because training our children is our responsibility. The biggest reason I chose to stop teaching was because my husband and I believe that training our children is an incredible responsibility and that we want to be the ones to teach and train our children. And we just don’t see how we can fully do that if we only get to be with them for a few hours each night. Now that my little one is fast approaching the terrible twos and I’m working daily to teach him not to throw temper fits, I’m so glad that I’m here to train him every day. These years are just too important to trust to anyone else.
- Because they’re going to grow up too fast. Even though some days seem endless, I know these years will soon be gone and my kids will be school aged then teens then adults. I want to savor each moment that I can with them because I’ll never get these years back. I want to be there to see their first words and their first steps. I want to laugh with them, play with them, and dry their tears. I want to be a part of every aspect of their little lives. And while I’d certainly still get to love them and spend time with them if I were still teaching, I would miss out on so much.
- Because my family comes first. I’m well aware that family can still be one’s first priority even if they choose to keep teaching, but for me I strongly felt that putting my family first meant leaving the classroom. Yes, I have a strong calling as a teacher, but my calling as a mother supersedes even that. Furthermore, I don’t consider myself to have stopped being a teacher; I’m just taking a few years off. I’m really enjoying this season of life, knowing that, if God wills, I’ll be back in the classroom again at some point in the future. It’s not like teaching is going anywhere while I’m gone…..
- Because I know this is God’s plan for my life. Okay, this is actually the most important reason I chose to stay home. As a Christian, I believe God has a plan for my life. And I was and am confident that being at home is exactly where He wants me right now. And, really, that is all that matters. If you’re a follower of Christ, He will lead you and show you exactly what His plan is for each season of life. And knowing that you’re right where He wants you gives such a perfect peace, even in the midst of challenges and mixed emotions.
Finding My New Role
Even though the decision itself was easy for me, leaving the classroom wasn’t. First of all, my husband was quite concerned about our having enough money once my paycheck was gone. And secondly, I absolutely loved teaching and was really struggling with the idea of leaving it behind. I even found myself tearing up from time to time.
The reality, though, is that God has been incredibly good to me and has guided me each step of the way. I share more about how God provided for our financial needs in my post Yes, You Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom (Even if You Don’t Think You Can Afford It) and I share some about letting go of my death grip on teaching in my post Can Good Things Become our Idols?.
But perhaps one of the most incredible things of all has been how God has allowed me to stay involved in the sphere of education through writing and blogging. I have absolutely loved being able to share what I’ve learned with fellow teachers through my book Create Your Dream Classroom and my blog Teach 4 the Heart.
When I first had the idea to write an ebook (actually, it wasn’t really my idea. I’m convinced God put it in my head), I didn’t think much beyond that at all. I just started writing, with no idea where it would lead.
In the year since I finished the book, I’ve seen some pretty amazing things happen. My fledgling blog at Teach 4 the Heart has started to gain some traction, and I’m starting to explore new ideas and opportunities. It’s just been awesome to see how God has led step by step, and I know He’s going to continue to lead and open doors.
I was really worried about leaving teaching behind, but when I surrendered it to God, He gave it back to me. Not only am I teaching my son but I’m also able to teach fellow teachers, and that has been incredibly rewarding. I’m also getting some inklings that He’s just getting started, and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for the future.
What About You?
I know many of you may not be Christians, but I just can’t share about my experience without sharing what God has done because it really has been all His doing. Lest you think I have an unusual or unique story, I don’t. I’ve seen God do incredible things in many people’s lives as they follow Him wherever He leads.
If this concept of knowing God and having Him be a part of your life is intriguing to you, check out godlife.com to find out more about having a relationship with Him.
And if you’re about to start a family, my biggest challenge is to not let finances dictate your decision. These days there are so many ways to make money from home – you just need to find them. So search your heart, pray, seek advice, and talk to your spouse. But make the decision based on what is best for you and your family, not your pocketbook.
What about you? Did you keep teaching or step away when you started a family? What advice would you share with young moms?
*Read my post at Teach 4 the Heart here.