The decision to become a stay-at-home mom comes very easily to some women. They don’t think twice about resigning to spend their days playing cars, finger-painting, and doing laundry. I don’t mean to sound negative because, as I said in my initial post, I am now a SAHM, but it was a decision I really struggled with and still do.
I love teaching. And I was good at it. I enjoyed the time I spent with my students (most of it, anyway), and I loved trying to share my love of literature and writing with them. I usually looked forward to going to work in the morning because, despite how strange of creatures they are, teenagers are really fun. I never had the same day twice, and I always laughed, belly-laughed, at least once a day.
So, why quit?
It was different after G-Bug was born. I still loved my job, and I loved going to work. But I resented the extra hours I had to put in to do my job well. I’d spend several hours after 3:00 and nearly a full day of every weekend grading, planning, reading, contacting parents…all the not-so-fun administrati that comes with teaching. That’s the part they fail to mention in education classes. And before G was born, I didn’t mind it; granted, it wasn’t my favorite part of my job, but I did it. After he was born and I went back to work, I found out it was more difficult to juggle. I hadn’t considered it before, but I had to give up something.
Ultimately, I struggled with continuing to be good at my job and being a good mother and wife. I felt like I was failing at both. I couldn’t find a balance because something essential to both was having time for myself, as well. I needed time to recharge, and I wasn’t getting it. I spent all my time working, mom-ing, or sleeping. And I was resenting all of it.
I resented my job and my students for taking time away from my home-life. While I still enjoyed them, I found myself annoyed by things that wouldn’t normally bother me. I would get impatient with students who didn’t pay attention in class or who didn’t complete assignments. I was taking time away from my family to try to teach them, so why didn’t they care? I was angry because I cared more than they did.
I also started feeling like I was slipping at preparation and grading. I would be annoyed with Chris or G when I really needed to work, and they wanted my attention. I didn’t have the hours on the weekend to put into my job, and come Monday, I would be frazzled and felt like I was scrambling to be ready for the kids to come in.
And I didn’t have time for myself. I was always “on,” which is exhausting. I was always “mom” or “Mrs. S” and all the responsibilities that come with those titles. I wasn’t happy.
Honestly, neither was Chris; he was having to pull the weight of both of us in terms of meals and housework. Plus, he had his own full-time job and side business. He was 100 percent on-board for me to resign.
I was the hold-out. I’m well aware that I’m fortunate that this was even a choice I was able to make. I really struggled with it, though. I love spending time with G, but all day? That’s a lot of time. And a lot of diapers. And what about the fact that I actually enjoy my job? And money? And retirement? And my sanity?
I still worry about all those things. I know come August I’ll really question whether this was the right choice. But our household is much less chaotic than it was when I was working. Our sink isn’t always piled with dishes (only sometimes); we don’t eat out more days than we cook; our laundry is actually caught up (except the towels and sheets, which I’ll do today); and more importantly, I don’t find myself angry at my family for demanding my time. Both Chris and I have time to do the things we enjoy, and we have more time to spend all together. I think ultimately it was worth the sacrifice of my career.
Title from J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye