It's official. My life as a crazy science teacher is on pause.
Halloween 2008 "Science Gone BAD!"
After some serious deliberation, and constantly discussing our options for the last few months, we've agreed that since me staying home with Jack is what I really want, then we're going to do what we have to in order to make it happen.
When I had Jack, I took the first semester of the school year off. While I had a long recovery, physically and even emotionally, I absolutely loved the time we had together from early on. In January when the second semester came, while it did come pretty fast on us, I was actually ready to get back in the classroom. We had it worked out where Dan was taking care of Jack during the day. It was a perfect scenario: Dan would work around Jack's naps, taking him to the moped shop between naps, and they would be home for "the exchange" - I'd come home from work, and Dan would head back to the shop for a few hours. We had what seemed like every minute of the work-week accounted for.
I quickly learned how HARD it is to be a working mom. As it was before Jack, I would always have TONS of grading and lesson planning that I HAD to do at home, there was just not enough time in the school day. After having Jack, it wasn't like the teaching profession changed at all. Now, I was trying to juggle all of that while giving Jack the focused time I wanted to give him. I was waking up so early in order to get into work super early in order to get as much done as possible before the school day began. I would have a busy busy day with no down time because I was pumping during my prep and lunch in order to maintain my milk supply and so Jack would have something to eat the next day! Sacrificing breastfeeding in order to work was not something I was willing to do. Oh, and Jack had some sleep issues where he would NOT sleep in his crib, and would only sleep if he was next to one of us. So my evenings were devoted to laying with him in our bed (which was mere INCHES away from his crib) as he fell asleep. Seeing how we lived in a tiny one-bedroom cave of an apartment with no doors, all the lights were off when Jack was asleep. I would work on school stuff for a few hours by lamplight until I couldn't keep my eyes open. I. WAS. EXHAUSTED. I would go to bed, waking up briefly every few hours to feed the little man, and then get up at 5:30 and start it all over again.
I know it's not the same story for all working moms. Some ladies need to work. I get that. It would most likely be a different story now that many variables are different - we're back in our house, Jack is sleeping like a champ (12-14 hour stretches, folks!), Dan is working from home, etc. But for me that feeling of working SO HARD to constantly feel like I was behind with everything, feeling like I wasn't able to give 100% to being a teacher AND 100% to being a mom, feeling guilty and sad that I didn't have the energy to hang out with my best friend, feeling like I didn't have any energy left to be a good wife or do dishes or laundry, wanting desperately to find the time to go for a run or to make something crafty...all that was too much for me to deal with. I felt like Jesse Spano from Saved by the Bell, when she was freaking out that there wasn't enough time to sing and study and hang out with AC Slater, and nearly OD'ed on caffeine pills. Yeah, it was that dramatic, except caffeine pills were not in the mix for me.
Now I am in the process of figuring out how to be a productive SAHM. Holla! (Stay At Home Mama, for those of you in the dark on that one!) More to come on that one later...
All of this said, it's still not an easy decision. I have loved being a teacher for the past 5 years.
I will miss having a desk. A messy desk, but a desk, nonetheless.
I loved writing the daily schedule on the board. Weird teachery thing to like, I know.
I will miss designing fun projects to learn about science, like this one on the Earth's interior. They were all very proud of their work once they all put their pieces together.
I already miss my friends who will be heading back to work on Monday! A part of me still feels like I will be heading back to school this fall. I wonder when it will really sink in.