Two days ago I gave my last final exam of the semester, and I don't think I will be going back to teaching here again in the Fall for a variety of reasons. The first is that one of the classes I have been teaching will only be offered in the Spring. The other course I have been teaching is 4 hours out of town via some treacherous Montana terrain, and after a semester off from teaching that course, I have decided that it's not something I'm interested in doing again. Too stressful, and I'm all about destressing these days.
I hate stress. More for Charlotte than for myself. Not to say that I don't want to punch stress in the face when I'm stressed...because I DO! But Charlotte deserves a mom who's not stressed and at her wits end when the toaster isn't working. So...it's now My Life as Stay at Home Mommy. How do I feel about that...
First, and foremost, I feel BLESSED. So many moms can only dream of being able to stay home with their babies. I never thought I'd be so fortunate. So, that makes me thankful as well. To my husband, to the Air Force.
Now on to the more complicated feelings. I worked very hard to become a teacher and I loved it. Not every day, but it was my calling professionally. I never wanted to do anything else. I had a play classroom when I was 5. And when I married into the military I was hell bent on maintaining my identity, only to realize that teaching is not my identity. It is what I do, not who I am. Which makes this transition much easier. Had I had to give this up any sooner I'd be crushed.
I haven't mourned this at all...yet. I'm revelling in the idea of not having to work outside the home. I'm enjoying it while the feeling lasts, because my crystal ball tells me that the days are coming when I'll be wishing for a break from the homestead and the million-mile to-do list that is attached to it. Like being a teacher isn't my identity, being a stay at home mom won't be either. It will be difficult to keep myself understanding that, particularly in a world where we ARE defined by our jobs to society. When people ask, "What do you do?" it's code for, "Who are you?" And I hate the fact that so many of us feel like we need to add to our description of ourselves by saying, "but I did XYZ before the baby was born." As if to say, "I was once really important!" Barf! At least that's how I feel when I say I stay home.
BUT letting go of what I do outside the home comes with a price. School was expensive, damn it! And I spent a lot of years preparing for my career. I can't count the all-nighters. AND my first couple of years teaching were pretty brutal. And, not to toot my own horn, but I'm a damn good teacher. But the grand plan is to go back when all my children, present and future, are in school full time. So I can't dwell on it too much. I will teach again, but until then I will snuggle my baby and make memories and take another ten thousand pictures.