Since the age of 16 and my first job at Sears, I have always held a full-time job. During most of those 11 years I attended school full-time as well. It wasn't something that I really had a choice in. I was brought up to be a hard worker, if I wanted things in life, I worked hard for them. My parents had always instilled the value of working for what you want in life, since hand-outs are never truly free.
I liked to work, I liked getting up in the morning and knowing exactly what the day had in store for me. It was a sense of accomplishment when I would get my yearly review or when a student would tell me they missed me over winter break. Never did I think I would be in a position where I wasn't employed.
When my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child, we were so excited! I rapidly started planning my maternity leave around the school calendar (since I worked at the near-by high school). It worked out perfectly. My little boys' expected due date was the week after April break and my leave would take me right into summer vacation, which meant I would have the entire summer off as well. I figured this would give us enough time to adjust to having a newborn and enough time to prepare for going back to work in September.
As the months flew by and my due date getting closer, I started to worry about going back to work the following September. How was I going to do it? Could I really leave my 4 month old baby in the care of someone I had only met a handful of times? Then the unthinkable happened.... I landed myself on bed rest 7 weeks before my due date! I had the perfect pregnancy, or so I thought, until my 33 week check-up. I had been having pre-term contractions and my midwife ordered me on bed rest, which meant no more work.
UGH! What was I going to do? I had lesson plans I was right in the middle of teaching, I had to start preparing the students for finals, there was no time to start my leave early. I HAD to work! But apparently my child needed me to slow down or he was going to make an early appearance, which I was not ready for. So, reluctantly, I took my leave early and stayed home.
During the course of those 7 weeks I slowly got accustomed to being at home. Even though I wasn't able to do much, I fantasized what it would be like if I could stay home with my boy once he arrived. As his due date grew closer, the idea became more and more appealing.
Then his due date came, April 20th, and so did he. Right on time! After the hoopla of the birth and the hospital stay was over and we were back home I was faced with the ultimate decision. I received in the mail my "letter of intent" that I had to sign stating that I was to return in September, a yearly formality. Never had I ever hesitated to sign it, I was always the first to mail it back to Administration. But this time, I held on to it for a few days, opening it and re-reading those few short sentences and that looming blank line with the "sign here" sticker pointing to it.
Could I sign it? Could I leave my boy after spending every waking moment with him for the past few weeks? No, I couldn't. But could I be a stay at home mom when I worked so hard to get where I was? I wasn't sure. This is where my amazing husband comes in. He made the decision easy for me. He told me that work will always be there when I'm ready to go back, but these moments with our son are so fleeting and I can never get them back. That was all it took for me to not sign the paper and to send in my resignation in its place.
It was a scary moment when I placed that envelope in the mail. I knew once it was sent out, I would no longer be employed, I would no longer be heading off to teacher workshops in late August, I would no longer be setting up a classroom. My entire world was now defined as a "stay at home mom", something I never wanted to be (until now). But my husband was right, I would miss my son growing up. And for what, to teach other children when I could be at home teaching my own?
Some mom's don't have the opportunity to stay at home, or for some it just isn't for them. But for our little family, it was the right decision. But it doesn't come without sacrifice and hard work. And 3 months later I realized I didn't give up a career, I just changed my career. Being a stay at home mom is a full-time job.
Updates to come!
|The face I get whenever I mention going back to work. How could I ever leave him???|