Wow, life has been much crazier this semester than I ever thought it could be. Recently, I feel like God has laid some things on my heart, and now Robert and I are just praying through them and waiting til we both feel complete peace before we make a decision.
I LOVE my job (as I have mentioned many times), and I never imagined that I would do anything else. I love the school, I love my supervisors, I love all the teachers; it's a great place to teach. And, I only work part time, right? Who wouldn't love that opportunity? Well... part time has turned in to much more than I thought (with a lot of at home work). I am so busy trying to keep up with everything, and I am not able to do things the way that I would like. I'm the type of person who likes to do my best or not do it at all... and right now I'm not able to do anything my best because I feel like I'm torn in many different directions (even just emotionally/mentally).
As you know, I am pregnant, and will be having another little one in a few months (actually, I'm not due for another 4 months, but that'll be here soon!). This feeling of being torn in many directions is only going to get much worse very soon. I mean, I'm going to practically have three babies. Karis is currently 3 1/2, Ethan is 16 months, and I'm going to have a newborn in February who will need lots of attention. And, at this point, Ethan is VERY needy... he can't even stand it when I'm on the computer (hence the reason why I'm not on much any more). He tries to close it the whole time :). He likes me to hold him and/or play with him. Both of the kids' naps have been crazy and random because their days are never the same. They don't have much consistency. So, I can never count on naps to get things done.
My house is a wreck all the time, I'm not organized at all (you should see my "to file" folder), I can't keep up with a meal plan or plan well for grocery shopping, cloth diapering is difficult because the time to wash/dry/fold is not there, I'm not able to make much from scratch (I've given up pretty much), and I'm just not able to do things the way that I feel is best (everything we eat is simple and convenient these days).
Many people tell me to just cut myself some slack, and I'm trying, but it's not working so well... because I WANT to do certain things and can't. I can't spend time just playing with the kids because I'm so busy and/or stressed about school stuff.
Anyway... all this to say... I really feel like God has been laying on my heart that after this year, I need to be able to put my family first (well, second, after Him). I'm going to have three babies that need their mommy to be fully present in their lives. I don't want to look back later and regret not being there much for them because I was so preoccupied with something else (even if it's just in my mind). So, I am most likely (haven't made the final decision), not going to work after I have the baby (well, except for 2-3 weeks at the end of next semester to finish up my commitment). Robert and I have been talking a LOT about this as well as praying, and he has some concerns so we're not making it official. His concerns are things that can definitely be worked through, so I'm not too worried about it. Our finances are in a place now in which we could definitely make it without me working, but we don't have a lot of room for anything but necessities. I will, once again, have to learn to be very frugal (which I can do... we've been there before). He's concerned about the "what-ifs." What if the transmission goes out... what if we need new tires (which we do right now!), etc. But, we also know that if this is truly from God, that He will provide for those moments when we aren't sure where the money will come from. We are blessed to be able to receive pretty large income tax refunds (at least we did last year and this year we made about the same amount!), and this years' will be stashed away in savings for the "what-ifs" (and we can use those to continue to pay down our debt).
Other than financial, another concern of his is my emotional well being. He knows that I can't stand to be home all the time. So, if I decide to stay home, I will HAVE to figure out ways to get out of the house without spending money. Of course, I probably won't go into town much with 3 babies because that would be pretty stinkin' stressful :).
Some things that he thinks will be better are that the only schedule we will have to work around is his. I can adjust the kids' bed time so that they can be up later to spend time with daddy (plus maybe they will sleep later). We can be at late night things like camp fire (for outdoor ed) because none of us will have to get up super early. We will be able to see him at most meals when they have to be there because we will always be here. Hopefully, we will be able to be much more involved here. I think that will help with things that are tough. When he's off, I'm off. Right now, he takes off every Thursday to watch the kids so I can work (my mom watches them Tuesday and Wednesday), which affects his ability to get any weekends off (which is when I'm off). He won't be able to do that much longer any way because it interferes with his outdoor ed schedule. If I'm home, when he's off for several days in a row, we can go do something as a family because I won't have to work. Summers will always be tough... no matter if I work or not (because I'm home during the summer anyway), but as my grandma says, I will just have to "suck it up" and get through it. She reminded me that everyone has a busy season in life, and you just have to get through it. When my grandma was pregnant with my mom (baby #4), my grandpa worked a job in which he had to fly all over the place to do construction jobs. He would be gone for weeks at a time. I am at least glad that Robert doesn't have a job in which he has to be gone for long periods of time. I'll take his crazy hours over him not being here at all.
I've been looking at my family in a whole different way these past few months (because of some things that have been going on), and I am so thankful for them. God has blessed me generously with an amazing husband and beautiful, sweet children. I sometimes hurt inside because I love them so much, and I never want a job or money to be priority over loving on them.
I realize and know from experience that staying home is NOT easy. There will always be a long list of things to do, and I will never be able to do everything that I want to do... nor will I ever be perfect for my kids. But, I know that if I'm not distracted by outside work that I will be able to focus more on what's important.
Well... I better go. Ethan is awake and banging on his door (he is now in a toddler bed since we will have to use the crib for the new baby).
I will update you with our final decision as soon as we make it!