Saturday, May 12, 2012

Big Decisions....

Hi Friends--

   You'd think becoming a first-time mother would be more frightening than the second time around, but it's not. Not for me, anyway. When I was pregnant with Connor, I was just so ready and excited to be a mom. I had always wanted to be one, and being pregnant actually eased all my anxiety (which I was suffering with pretty badly that year). I hardly worried about a thing, other than the normal worries that come with being pregnant.

   This time around, I have been worrying so much more. How is Connor going to handle it? When should we move Connor's bedroom? Potty training? How on Earth will we afford another one? Is it worth it for me to keep working? Can I possibly love another one as much as I love Connor? What if this one is a total brat (his big brother is a tough act to follow...)? The dialogue and questions just go on and on in my head.

   Some of these questions are easy enough to deal with. Connor will have a hard time, but all kids survive being "de-throned". With time, he will adjust to any changes that come about. I have been told by everyone I know with more than one child, that your heart just expands and I will love this one just as much.

   Other questions have been a lot harder to deal with....Can we afford it? (No, but we're going to go with the "God will provide" approach :) and With the cost of daycare for two kids, is it worth me going back to my current job? (No, but it's not that simple).

    Ever since we even started considering having a second child, I have known in my HEAD that it wouldn't make sense financially for me to go back to my current job. When I started teaching in a Catholic School, the school's goal was to pay 80% of what a public school teaching job would pay. I was a new teacher, and living at home with my mom. It was a fair salary. Seven years later, though, my income hasn't increased much (it is certainly not 80% of what a seventh-year public school teacher would make). It is no fault of the school's....we are poor. We serve poor students. It's part of our mission statement. Every year, I have been lucky to hold on to my job, let alone get a raise. Everyone says you don't go into teaching for the money, and you DEFINITELY do not teach at an urban Catholic school for the money. If I were to continue there, I would be working to pay for daycare and the gas to get to work.

     I LOVE my job. L.O.V.E it. But not enough to work for the sole purpose of paying someone else to raise my kids. This has been the hardest decision of my life, but I have decided (officially) not to return to teaching next fall.

      It's probably hard for non-teachers to understand, but teaching is more than a degree or a job (at least it should be....if that's all it is to you, you probably shouldn't be teaching). It is part of who you are. People have been telling me I'd be a teacher since I was about seven years old. It is one of the things that attracted my husband to me on the night we met. I run my life on a school calendar, not the regular one. I don't dread going to work (most days...). I get to use my creativity and public speaking skills. I have adults to talk to, but don't have to deal with them all day long. My classroom is my little kingdom. I get to make an impact on kids' lives. I love it. I can't imagine not having that in my life. But, for the next few years, I won't. Maybe you can see why it took my HEART a while to make the decision, even though my HEAD has known it all along.

      Yesterday, I told my students I would not be returning next year. The current 8th graders (who won't be there anyway) were the hardest to tell. They were my first ever class. I taught them in second grade, and then again the past few years in middle school. I have been able to watch them grow up. It is fitting, though, that I will be "graduating" along with them. The 7th graders either didn't really care, or were just playing it cool, because they didn't react much. The 6th graders were pretty hard on me, though. They were extremely shocked and saddened. After saying that I had to do what was best for my family, one boy responded "If you wanted to do what's best, you wouldn't leave us". (Put a dagger in my heart!!!) They also had a lot of great ideas, like skyping in to the classroom from home, starting a school in my basement, and just bringing the boys everyday and they would babysit! Telling the kids made it very real, but it is a load off my chest. Now, I can enjoy all my "lasts" at Blessed Trinity.

      I know that I will not regret the time at home with my little ones. I will still be working part-time at Cub, so that will get me out enough that I shouldn't go too crazy being home all the time. I am still not sure how we're going to make it work financially, so prayers and money-saving suggestions (and donations--jk) are very much appreciated.

     Happy Mother's Day to all my mommy friends out there! Take care!