Should I Stay or Should I Go?

A teacher-mom struggles with the difficult choice between teaching, motherhood or both.

By Bonnie

Since I was little I can remember wanting to be two things: a teacher and a mother. I would make my sister and cousins sit down to play school and would make them do real assignments for which they received real grades. We played house a lot too and as the oldest of five, I did a quite a bit of bossing them around (it was my job, after all). Now, at the age of 27, I have my teaching degree and two small children and am left facing a very big question.

How do I choose between two halves of myself?

I know that many people out there struggle with much bigger than the debate raging in my head right now, but to me it’s my entire world. I have been blessed with a husband who understands my need to be at home with my 2-year-old and 11-month-old. He supports us and while we don’t have a lot of extra money at the end of the pay period, God always provides for us and I’m able to stay home.

Now I am finding myself at an impasse. I have taken on a teacher maternity leave position at our local elementary school. The school board allowed me to put my son and daughter into the school daycare for the six weeks. My son goes to the daycare though I chose not to send my daughter because I didn’t feel she was ready yet. I thought it would be nice to see how we like the daycare and to see if I’m ready to cut the cord, so to speak.

My son has been enjoying his “school,” though some morning dropoffs are rough. We are into our second week and I am loving teaching. I’m in my element and the day goes by quickly. I haven’t missed my kids as much as I thought I would and that is part of what brings on my guilt.

Though my kids still need me, they don’t need me. Currently, my son is happily playing with his barn and horses, not at all worried what I’m doing and he’s happy. He had a good day at school today and always has to be pulled away from toys and friends at pick up time. My daughter does fine when she is away from me as well and though she’s happy to see me, she doesn’t fuss when I go. They are doing just fine without me, as sad as that might make me. And as bad as it sounds and as guilty as I feel about it, I am doing just fine without them.

When I pick them up they are always happy to see me and our evenings together are wonderful. My son has been helping me make dinner and we play outside before bath time. The quantity may not be there, but I feel like the quality of our time together has increased. My son is also learning new things. He didn’t want to learn to potty train with me, but at school he goes with the older 2-year-olds and does what they do. He comes home every day and shares something new he’s learned. They do art and have circle time, there is so much to gain from his time at his little school with his caregivers. My daughter could have that as well if I were to take a position at the school next year. The biggest problem seems to be their mother.

I don’t want to miss out on my children growing up.

I only get to do this once and  I don’t want to look back years from now and regret that I gave up this time with them to let someone else raise them 40 hours of the week. I have always envisioned myself as a stay-at-home mom, but would it really be so bad to be a working mom? If I stay home, I can be there for everything and go back to teaching when they go to school. If I go to now, I can provide my family with more financially and the kids can go to their own school and learn to be independent and well rounded.

So, as I struggle with this over the next months I have a lot to think about and would really appreciate any thoughts and input from anyone willing to give a piece of experience or more to think about.  I think that no matter what I will feel guilty, but for now, I will just enjoy having a little taste of teaching for the next four weeks before it’s back to mommy mode.

Our guest blogger Bonnie is “just a mom.” She enjoys writing in her spare time and likes to spend as much time with her family as possible. 


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GuestContributor

GuestContributor

We love sharing expert advice, and we often feature guest posts by specialists in child development, work/life balance, women’s issues and other topics of interest to working moms. If you’re an expert and feel you have something to offer our readers, contact us with your credentials and pitch. Please keep in mind that we prefer original content as opposed to re-posts.
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Comments

  1. Bonnie,
    It was interesting and thought provoking to read this post, as I am struggling in the other direction. I am a teacher with 2 kids in school and one at home for a couple of more years. I long to be home. I fear quitting my job due to finances. However, for me teaching is not the school day, it is hours upon hours of planning, grading, emailing and talking with parents. I am m issuing so much with my kids… By not being Able to help with their homework, not being able to be part of their classroom activities, and not very involved with all of the school activities that they would like to do… Such as sing in our own’s music festival this weekend. It is such a hard thing for us moms.

    My husband supports wherever I feel The Lord leading. My fear is letting my family down financially. I know money can’t buy the ime back that I feel I am losin, but it sure does help make ends meet.

    I will certainly keep you in my prayers as you struggle with this cross-road.

  2. I am a teacher and mother also. It’s hard to leave them, but at the end of the day he is learning social interaction skills as well as some academic skills and the important structure that a school day brings. Quality time is what matters when you have them. You are setting a good example to your children. It is also very important to not give up everything that makes you whole, because you end up doing a disservice to your yourself and your family when you are not whole.

  3. Sandy Smith says:

    Bonnie:
    I enjoyed your article. I too have struggled with this but have made peace. I love what I do and I think my working is an example to my children on how to be independent and how to support themselves one day. In my job I help people and I talk with them about how good I feel helping others. I also cherish all my home time with them. I used to work an hour a way from home but two years ago I took a lower level position just to be closer to home. While I love my professional life, I also love being a mom. I clean, shop etc when the kids are asleep as to not interrupt our time together. My husband and I divide and conquer all the time to ensure they are always with a parent when not at school. We save all our vacation and personal time for summer so we can give the kids long weekends and they do not have to be in day camp 5 days a week. All the little things add up. I guess I am saying that you can be professional and be a mom, it just takes some maneuvering. My kids are happy, healthy, smart, and have lots of friends, (some we still see from preschool). Also you are in the perfect profession to be a mom. Being a teacher allows you summers at home, school vacations and numerous holidays; something people in the corporate professions don’t have. I have multiple teacher friends who say how great the teaching profession is for family life balance. You should be proud of your professions (teacher and mom) and see that having the opportunity to do what you love is the blessing from God.

  4. I am struggling as well. I went back to teaching in April after my Mat. Leave and it was the thought of summer break that helped me find peace. Now I am back full time, marking on the floor in front of the toilet while my daughter bathes, wishing it were easier. Oh, if only it were easier. There are many stay-at-home moms in my community, spending their days and evenings with their kids. I wish I could. One thing that has helped me is to remind myself that teaching is a calling, not just a profession. When we are led into the classroom by the Lord, He is using us to touch kids and build into their lives, whether we share our faith or not. I try to remember that I have two callings: being a Mom and a Teacher. I trust He will look out for my daughter when I am not there; He will teach her what I cannot; and He will bless what I do, both when I am at school and at home. God bless you.

    • This is such an awesome point of view to read, Nathalie. Teaching is as much a calling as being a mother, I agree one hundred percent! It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job working to balance the two. God bless you also! Thank you!

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