I have been dreading this post for a number of reasons.
First, this announcement means that my decision is real. I am giving up something that I love for someone that I love even more.
I worried, and still do, about disappointing my mentors, my family, and my students (past and future). I worry that my decision means that I may never have the job that I fought so hard to have.
I have decided to stay at home with my little boy for the foreseeable future.
I talked to a number of people; and predominantly sought the counsel of women who I deeply admire. I spoke with my mother-in-law who recently retired her position as a principal after forty years in education. I consulted my mom, who chose to stay at home with the four of us until finances forced her back into the workforce. I conversed with a few colleagues who are both incredible mommies and consummate professionals. I asked all of my new mommy friends what they would do if given the choice to stay at home.
You know what all of them said?
If you can make it work, stay at home.
I used to think women either wanted to stay at home, or they wanted to work. I had no idea that this decision held so much room for gray. I vacillated every single day between my two decisions. One morning I would wake up and say, “I am going to stay at home.” The next, I would wake up and say, “I will definitely go back to work.” Every morning I would be resolute in my decision. Every evening, I would have a heart full of anxiety and a head full of pros and cons weighing heavily.
‘The pros of going back to work?
1. I get to take a shower every morning.
2. I get time to develop my strengths and work on my weaknesses as a teacher.
3. I get to pour into students.
4. I get to keep the job that I love.
5. I am only a few miles away from baby B.
6. I get adult time every day.
1. I miss out on valuable time with my baby boy.
2. I might miss milestones that he hits every day.
3. I won’t be the recipient of his smiles.
4. I won’t get to soak in every minute with my boy.
5. This infancy that I have grown to love is so fleeting, and I will miss a large chunk of it if I return to work.
6. Someone will get shortchanged. It will not be my family.’
The last con plagued my mind like a popcorn kernel stuck in my molars. I couldn’t shake the notion that someone would get my emotional and intellectual leftovers. I realize that my desire is to be all or nothing in my profession. I do not want my students to suffer because I would rather enjoy the time with my infant…each day growing more resentful that I was at work and not with my baby boy.
Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that I had to step out in faith and believe that God will provide a job when I am ready to return to work. I love my job, but it is just a job. My son is the most precious person (aside from my husband) in my life. I am sobered by the realization that this time will never happen again. Sooner, rather than later, this little boy won’t need me for everything anymore. He won’t look to me to clap for him when he plays with his hands and feet. He won’t need me to carry him to get to where we are going. He won’t need me to feed him. He won’t want to spend every moment with me.
All of these things break my heart, but that is part of being a parent: equipping our children to be strong and independent men and women. If I raise my son the way I want to raise him, he will one day leave our family and cleave to his own. He will be a wonderful father and husband. He won’t need us anymore…but he will want to come home to spend time with us.
Looking long term, there was no way I wanted to miss out on this time. Not a single moment.
Going to work would have been difficult. Staying at home will be difficult. In either situation, I was giving up something that I truly love.
This decision was, by no means, a clear decision. Signing my resignation paper was impossible. The weight of the pen felt like an anchor in my hand.
Then, I looked at the little boy in my arms. My heart began to flutter at the gift that I have been given: the opportunity to stay at home with my little boy and continue watching him grow. I get an opportunity to be everything to him. I do not take this responsibility lightly, and I hope to never take this role for granted.
For now, I am a stay at home mom.
In the future, I will be a mom and a teacher. I choose to believe that God has called me to both roles, but for now, He has me exactly where He wants me. Staying at home with my baby boy.