Someone asked me the other day if I missed teaching. I get asked this question a lot. The answer is no. This is my third year out of the classroom, and I will admit, the first year was the hardest. It was never really our intention for me to stay home just then, we always planned for my days at home to begin when we had baby #2. So I actually went back to work when Nugget was three months old. It was awful. I didn't dislike teaching, not one little bit. But everyday my stomach was in knots and I yearned for my baby girl. The one who was at someone else's house. Growing and learning and changing by the minute. And I was missing it. Someone else was taking care of my baby, and that just didn't sit well with me. I had waited my whole life to become a mother, yet there I was, being a teacher instead. I was back at work for all of three weeks when I had the following two weeks off for winter break. We decided then that I wasn't going back the following school year. We pretty much knew it was a forever, life changing decision, but just in case, I asked for a leave of absence.
While I was soaking up every second living my real dream of being a stay at home Mommy, I also knew the school door was open, waiting for me should I want to reenter. I wavered more than once. I had after all, gone to school to obtain my degree longer than I actually used it. I felt like I owed it to myself, my dad who paid my way through college, my amazing boss, I don't know who really.
It's a hard thing to do sometimes. To tell that stubborn people pleasing gene to go take a hike. And to not return. Because I always, always, knew where my place was. Once I made that painful leap and officially resigned, it was like the clouds parted ways and then sun shined down on me. I have not regretted that decision a single day in the last two years. Do I miss it? Not really. Do I want to go back? Not right now. Will I go back someday? Probably not. I have learned so much about myself since becoming a mother, and have found many other things that interest and suit me. But if times got tough and I needed to, I can't think of a better job than teaching.
In the end, it all comes down to this. My kids are only little for a little while. And I don't want to miss a thing. Is this job easy? No. But I never expected it to be. Is it rewarding a million times over and then some? Absolutely. I have bad days. I get frustrated. I yell. I cry. Some days I am worn out and stretched thin and overwhelmed. Some days, the grass looks greener on the other side and I think maybe juggling a career alongside motherhood doesn't sound so bad.
But then I look into their sea blue eyes, and I am filled with love. I want to give them the world. I want to be the one who guides them and teaches them, who tends to their joys and sadness. I want to make their days happy, their hearts smile, their tummies full, their boo boos better.
It is hard to balance it all, mostly because I don't have the option to be anything but their mom. I don't have daycare, I don't have babysitters, I just plain don't get a break. I have a husband who is out there busting his butt to help me live out this dream. And while we often disagree on who works harder, who is more deserving of a break, the truth is that we both work hard. In completely different ways. But for the common good of our family. So we just shut up and plug along.
I find my rewards in simple things, like I love you Mama's, chubby little legs hooked around my middle, invitations to read stories, do projects, and play games. Cries in the middle of the night that only I can comfort, a warm little body that slides in next to mine in the morning. Play dates with friends, visits to the library, trips to the park. Washing tiny little clothes and hanging them to dry. Trips to Target. Ice cream. Photos. Blogging.
My life isn't perfect. I don't have it all. But I am happy. And I am grateful. My heart is full.
So to answer your question, do I miss teaching? Not at all. Do I love staying home? With my whole heart. Thank you for asking.