When a lot of people hear that I am a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), they usually respond with, “Oh, you’re so lucky you can be at home with your kids,” or “What a blessing that must be.” And they are right. We are blessed that I can stay home with my kids. But that blessing does not come without sacrifice. Not just the obvious monetary sacrifice, but there is so much more that we as moms and dads sacrifice to be home with our kids.
When your kids are little, one has to work hard to keep adult relationships. In many cases, the friends you once had before kids slowly fade away. A small core group may stay, but most do not. There are so many memes out there about it. I believe it has a lot more to do with the new parents than the old friends. As new parents, you’re overwhelmed: sleep schedules, feeding schedules, your lack of sleep, and ultimately your lack of time. My husband was blessed to work at a company that gave him ample time off for paternity leave. However, even with his time off, it was hard for us to get out with friends. We both worked after my first, so weekdays were typically out of the picture. Weekends were filled with soccer games and church.
This meant for me that my adult relationships became my coworker relationships. That at least provided me with adult conversation throughout the day. Then with having my second, we decided it was best for me to stay home. I was only working part time already and my full time income would not come close to my husband’s. It was the logical choice. Before we even knew the medical complications my son would have, I made the decision and told my boss. I cried, blubbered and stammered my way through my conversation with her. I was more visibly upset about leaving than she was, but she was still sad to see me go.
The end of the school year came and my time teaching came to an end as well. It was very sad for me, but it didn’t hit me so hard at this point. When the next school year started up and our teen was going in to the eighth grade at the same school, that is when it hit me: I love teaching. It is my passion! It was so hard to see her go off to school and not be going with her.
I immediately started up a tutoring page, and offered my services to tutor. Of course, no one reached out over the summer or early in the school year, but as school started to wind up, I was able to attain some clients. Some of these students were at the school where I taught. Tutoring these kids bubbled up feelings of nostalgia and wishing I could still be there. I would remind myself that I’m doing this for our kids. I would remind myself that even before we truly knew my son’s medical needs, we knew this was the best choice for our family. We now have weekly visits with some doctor, therapist, etc., so there’s just no way I could work without taking a lot of time off. I would remind myself…
It was hard to give up my career. As with anything in life, change is not easy. This change was especially challenging, because I was heading into the unknown. I have switched careers a few times in my life. I started at 19 years old as a data entry clerk at a third party drug test reporting (MRO) company. I worked there for almost 5 years. Started substitute teaching at the high school I graduated from so I could finish college and get my teaching degree. Moved to Arizona (with a small detour), and taught for 2 years. It was miserable! Left teaching to go to private sector again where I worked as a project manager. Finally, my sister in law called me out of the blue and asked if I wanted to teach at the school where she worked. I wasn’t 100% on board right away, but after talking to my husband, we jumped back in. I LOVED IT.
This love didn’t change 5 years in to teaching. I was so happy to be back in the classroom. So as this new change approached, I met it with trepidation. It has not been an easy transition for me. I’m growing and learning every day and hopefully becoming a better person because of this new phase of life. The “bad” feelings still pop up from time to time, but I do my best to remind myself of the good things too. Most importantly, my kids. They’re really great kids. I see how they interact with other kids their age, and I’m truly proud of how loving and open they are to others.
Also, I know that although this is the season we’re in now, it’s not permanent. I will be able to go back to teaching when my kids are a bit older and in school themselves. I may even go back to the same school. That’s my hope at least. Thankfully, this day and age, teachers are in demand. STEM teachers are in even a higher demand than others. With my degree (Math education) cover that M really well.
I know that in this stage of life, I made the right decision for our family. Every family is different and has different needs. We, as a family, have sacrificed for me to stay home with our kids. We know there will be other sacrifices along the way. Choosing what I know is the best decision for my family has made this choice something to live for. It’s not easier, and by no means easy, but I see the good as a result every day with my kids.