Friday, September 2, 2011

I feel weird

I hit an important milestone last week: my "career" as a stay-at-home mom has now outlasted my career as a teacher. That's weird. I feel like I am a professional who is choosing to stay home while my kids are young, except that I have no actual plans to go back to work when the girls are older. I wouldn't be surprised to find myself one day among the many who go back to work as their kids become more independent, but I just don't have a plan to, is what I'm saying. Some of my friends have definite career goals; I do not.

When I told Ryan that I have now stayed home longer than I ever worked, he asked me which job I felt more successful at. This is a strange question for many reasons, but one I am willing to ponder.

First off, I made fewer mistakes as a teacher (not that I didn't make any). I believe that's because I only worked about 180 days a year, for about 9 hours a day. Second off, this job had fewer mixed emotions for me. I loved, loved, loved--a million times over loved--teaching. I think it was the perfect job for me.

Strangely, I have no photos of me teaching. This was taken right around finals, I believe. Notice how well I used my whiteboard; only the highest standards of education in my classroom!

Here's one of me in action, but this is after I "retired"-- I had come up to the school do to some Homecoming prep work with the students. I actually found lots of (useless for this post) pictures of me with students, one who went on to become Miss Kansas, one who went to work for MTV in Nashville and worked with tons of celebrities, and I could go on and on. I adore them all (well, all the girls anyway. The boys could be obnoxious.) and miss being with them. *sniff*

But being a mom? I make lots of mistakes. And I work 365 days a year and a literal 24 hours a day. I love, love, love--a billion times over love--being a mom. But it's more complicated than going into a job every day. (An aside: I think being a working mom is the absolute hardest job in the world. I have total respect for the women who are able to do it all.) 
The moment I became a mother

Teaching was way more glamorous than sleep training, baby food making, bottom wiping, book reading, and house cleaning. The rewards-- positive feedback, making teenagers laugh, making new friends out of old students, intellectually challenging myself and others--were pretty great too.

I won't pretend that the perks of staying home aren't amazing, even better than summers off-- sleeping in until 8, not rushing out the door in the morning, being home all day unless I want to go somewhere else--they're pretty awesome. I don't love the mundane of staying home, but it is what it is.

So what I'm saying is, it's complicated. I don't know which job I'm better suited for or which one will occupy my 8 to 5 in the future. But I do know that I have more practice being a mom than a teacher. And that's weird.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. If you're a parent, which job do you feel more equipped for-- one in a nice shiny building with other professionals, or one in your own house with your kids? If you had to plan out the rest of your days, money being no concern obviously, which "career" would you choose? Or would you do a combination? (And it doesn't make you a bad parent if you would rather work somewhere else from 8 to 5. So there's no "right" answer here. I'm just curious.)

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to say thanks for the "shout out" to working moms. Sometimes we get a bad rap and have had some SAHM's make us feel "less than" or that we made a bad choice and put our careers before our kids.

    Now, onward tomy thoughts. I think I am suited to be a working mom. But I always have been. If it had been financially possible for me to stay home when Reese was born, I probably would have tried that. If I would have chosen to stay at home or gotten the itch to go back to work, I can't say. BUT I find fulfillment in my work and even more in being a mommy. Not that I don't often feel overwhelmed by the state of my home and lack of personal time and couple time. I think one of the most important things is that a Mom (and Dad for that matter) ENJOY her work. I would be miserable if I hated my career and would spend my days wishing I was home with my babies. And number 2, my kids really love their preschool. So I love getting their cute artwork sent home, hearing Reese talk about his friends, memorizing his bible verses and getting good report cards from his teachers!

    This turned out longer than I expected. Katie, we should do a joint blog about the chronicles of motherhood...