Right now as I type this my baby has just fought taking a nap for 30 minutes. We had crying, screaming, holding, milk drinking and more crying before he finally gave in.
Sometimes staying at home is rough. It’s any wonder why I’m about to write a post about why I quit teaching to stay home and how I think it’s worth it.
I want to say though that my decision to stay home doesn’t mean that I think YOU should. Everyone has different situations and here’s mine.
I NEVER thought I’d stay home. Not in a million years. I was going to teach until I die with no break. I told everyone that. I was made to teach. I love it.
Then I held that baby THE DAY I was supposed to be starting school. And honestly, it wasn’t holding Asher that even did it for me. It wasn’t even the months that followed. Jared and I had this beautiful chance to be home together during my entire maternity leave. He had quit the year before (he’s actually writing about that too, and it’s a good read) so he was doing odd jobs so we could travel and enjoy our time off. It was glorious. We went to Charleston which has been a dream of mine. What really did it for me when was when I returned in January. Hard is a vast understatement. Here’s an actual photo of my first day back.
This is not news to anyone who works and cares for their kids. You get your day job done then you come home and your job of mommy starts in. It’s non-stop.
I was trying to breastfeed and so I’d bring my pump to school and attempt to do it during music which was only 2 days a week and besides that there was no time for me to pump. You may say “they have to let you, it’s the law!” Well yeah, it probably is… I taught at a small private school and we were low on subs and we didn’t have people who can come watch your class on a whim. I had some great teacher friends who probably would’ve made something work but they have their own classes to teach too. It just was too much stress so I quit breast-feeding.
Asher just started walking and so far he’s fine developmentally, so for those who think formula ruins children’s lives (insert tongue emoji). Around that same time, I got super sick, passed out in the bathtub, woke up naked to paramedics around me and got diagnosed with Influenza A.
I was ALL DONE. Postpartum depression was apparently there, things were rough at school with a class I hadn’t even taught and who wanted their sub back, and I completely felt like I was intruding by being back. (Picture is actual footage of my first day back to work.) It was such a strange feeling to come back halfway through the year! Teaching isn’t easy. I normally taught by giving it ALL my thought process and energy but at that point I just couldn’t. I was worn down and tired. Just plain sick and tired.
Looking back I am SO overjoyed I’m not in the place I was in that photo. Even on the hard days, because contrary to popular belief- there are days that staying home is just plain hard. It’s not all yoga pants, Netflix and Starbucks…
Here’s just six of the million reasons why I’m overjoyed I get to stay home:
- When Asher has a terrible night, I can take a nap during the day when he does.
- I don’t have to please ANYONE. I don’t have to put on a show and wonder who thinks I’m a good teacher or not.
- When Asher started walking, I was there. When he started saying “beep beep” and calling our dog “boo,” I was there. I get to be his most influential teacher. #nopressure
- The stress of school is non-existent. There’s no lesson plans to do and no staff meetings to attend. I can focus on my family and my health.
- I can travel when I want to. One of my best friend’s is getting married in April in Mexico and I’d have to take off school, worry about what everyone was saying about me while I was gone and have to make it a super short trip.
- I won’t get this time back with Asher. He’s grown so fast already and I can’t imagine only seeing him on weekends and a few hours at night.
Around the time I went back to work Jared started a new job with NFIB (PS- they’re always looking for good salespeople!) and it appeared to be a great option. He was able to have flexibility, and when February hit it appeared we could make it financially so we made the HARD decision for me to quit. We weren’t sure at that time how much Jared would make but we had lived on ONE teacher salary before so we figured if he could at least make 40k, we’d make it work. Jared has blown my expectations out of the water and is doing amazing at his new job. And the icing on the cake is that we’ve made significantly more than we made COMBINED teaching.
This story is not everyone’s. And I know that not all of you can afford to stay home. But we had no idea if we could either. I just couldn’t take the physical and emotional toll it was having on me. We decided we’d cut to make it happen. I have talked to MANY other teachers who feel the same as I did. They are seriously struggling but just don’t want to make the decision because of the stereotype with quitting teaching. I’m not done forever, at least I hope not. I love the kids, the creativity and the moments when they “just get” something!
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I miss the classroom on occasion. For instance, when Asher won’t stop crying for no apparent reason or that one day he opened the cabinet door and hit me in the head while I was changing his diaper. It hurt for days. I’ve gotten to sub a few times and it’s been a welcome break to spend a day with old students who I adore. But as for everyday, I can’t do it right now. And that’s ok.
If you want to quit, it’s ok. You aren’t selling out, you’re not copping out.
You aren’t giving up on humanity by choosing your kid over someone else’s.
It’s ok to quit teaching. And it’s ok to keep teaching. Do you boo.
Top photo credit to: http://www.emilystarpoole.com/