Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Working vs. Staying at home

Most of my life I have worked.  Since I was 15 in fact.  I stayed home (for the first time since I was 15) for a few months when Karis was born, but then I student taught and then worked (doing a special ed position which was stressful at the time, but I look back now and see the wonderful opportunities that I had).  Then I stayed home for the summer and realized that staying home wasn't for me.  So I looked for jobs.  I ended up getting a temporary position at the school that I student taught at.  Then God called us back to camp and I stayed home.  Very quickly I realized that I wanted to be working... even if it was just part time (and we needed the money... we had a lot of debt).  So I got a job working very part time at my church.  That was great for a while, but I wasn't teaching.  Through several different people, I found out about Faith Academy.  It was perfect.  I taught 8th grade English, part time.  It was stressful at first, but once I got into the groove of things, it was just right... I was doing what I loved, but I was with my kids the majority of the time. Then, I decided to move to the new K-2 program the next year (because I thought that because I was trained in elementary that it would be a better fit).  So, I taught 1st grade last year.  I struggled with it.  I realized that first grade wasn't for me.  And, because I was pregnant with my third child and was stressed out, I decided to stay home after I had him.  I also thought that was what was expected of me.  You see, at the time, I was obsessively reading blogs.  I was reading about what all these other moms did... they stayed home with their kids and that made them better moms, right?  I was a bad mom for working, right?  So, I convinced Robert, against what he really thought was best, that staying home would work out okay.  And, you know, I'm glad that I ended up staying home the Spring semester of last year because I went through a LOT emotionally.  My brother died on November 30th, and it didn't really hit me until about January.  Then, I had Levi and went through postpartum depression.  There would have been NO WAY for me to be teaching.

While I was going through postpartum depression, I had a lot of "ah ha" moments... I began to realize that for the past several years (well, my whole life really), I have always tried to do what others wanted me to do (or what I thought they wanted me to do).  I always did what I thought was expected of me.  I kept trying to stay home because I thought that's what others thought I should do... You know what I learned through this process?  I'M NOT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.  I am ME.  God made me with different giftings, passions, desires, struggles, etc than everyone else.  For some, staying home is exactly what God called them to do.
I also realized that every family does things differently.  For some, living in the middle of the country... away from everything... homeschooling... growing everything... having milk and meat animals... etc... is right for them.  For some families, living in the city... having everything right around them... going to public/private school... having working parents... etc... is right for them.  GOD MADE US ALL DIFFERENT FOR HIS PURPOSE.  God places us in different places for different reasons.

One other thing that I have been learning through these past several months (and something that I've recently talked about on here), is that my husband is pretty wise, and I really need to be listening to him more :).  He usually knows what's best for me before I do... and you know what?  I try to ignore him :).  After I learn the hard way, I realize that he was right all along.  He has been telling me to pursue teaching for a long time, and I do pursue it, then I end up just giving up when something doesn't come around immediately... then I decide to stay home because I'm impatient... then after I've decided to stay home, opportunities open up... then I turn them down because I was impatient and decided to stay home... I really have this bad habit :).

So... all this to say... I realize most people that tell me to stay home are just trying to be supportive.  And, I realize that some people think that staying home is what every mom should do.  But I'm here to tell you that I feel that God has given me a passion and desire to teach for a reason... and I feel that it is time to pursue it.  So, I am.  And my husband (who I should be following before others) is very supportive of this decision.  In fact, he encourages it.

I personally know myself well enough now to know that I am a better mom when I teach (even if it's just part time) because I personally need to be doing something outside of the home.  When I am home, I get in a rut... I begin getting depressed, anxious, lazy, frustrated, angry, etc.  When I have a chance to get out of the home some, I may be stressed at times, but I am much less anxious.  When I come home from being away from my kids for a little while, I am so excited to spend time with them... play with them... teach them... read to them...  When I'm home all day, I'm just annoyed and frustrated.
Theoretically I could take them to places during the day... the library... the park... etc... but realistically, that would be too hard on a regular basis.  It takes a lot of energy to get them in and out of the car, deal with them running off, deal with tantrums, fighting, etc, in public.
When the kids are able to be with other kids, they flourish.  I feel that being in a "school" would be so beneficial for them.

Again, I realize that not everyone feels this way about their family and/or their kids... and that's okay!  We are all created different!  And, I'm so thankful that we are.  God has a bigger purpose and plan than we could ever understand!

Another reason for me to work is that if we ever want to leave my in-laws, I will have to work :).  And, I personally want to eventually have my own place again :).  And, if Robert ever wants to finish school, I will have to work.  And, I know that God called us here to this area, so... yeah...

I don't really need to explain any of this because it doesn't really matter to anyone else... but it feels good to get all of this off of my chest :).  

1 comment:

Hope Rowell said...

Girl i totally understand. Our life has taken a completely different path lately, now I work full time and my husband will be the one to be home with the kids. Of course it's not choice we actually made but circumstances led us to this decision and it is what will work for us now. Don't worry about what everyone else thinks you should do, do what you feel you should do for your family. Good luck with everything.