I hate change. I avoid change. Safe and routine are my friends. So when I was filled with years of conflict, I pushed on. When I was pregnant with baby #3 something painful and excruciating happened. Teaching had always been my passion and education was my lifelong career. All of the sudden I had doubt and couldn’t figure out why. Was it our county’s current administration policies? The teenagers at school? The changing education system? My own kids? The crazy balance? Maybe a little bit of all of the above, but what I learned and finally accepted was it was really ME. I have changed. I’m not only a teacher, I’m a mom. And a mom of three now at that, with a husband that is gone for 24-36 hours at a time. I was beyond stressed and felt like I wasn’t the teacher or the mom I needed to be or the person I wanted to be.
I started reading A LOT. I’m sure I’ll be blogging about it later. Positive mentality. Abundance mentality. Accepting change. Manifesting your future. Being present. Finding financial security. You name it, I was trying to find what I was looking for. After many talks with my husband, mom and some of my best friends (who I can’t thank enough for ENDLESS conversations about the SAME things over and over again), our decision has been made. I say “our” because this was a family decision. I’m so lucky that my husband is supportive and thinks this is something we all need. When I asked my 8 year old, he said “Well Mom, What do you want to do?” After years of wishy washyness and planning, the time has come. I’m taking a parental leave of absence for a year.
I recognize to some this isn’t earth shattering news and it’s hard to understand why this is a big deal. Did I mention I hate change? I also freak out about not being financially secure. My husband already works two jobs, how much more could I ask him to do? Well- it has become obvious once again that I found the right man because he has committed to me and making this year work, even if it means working more overtime or making more sacrifices. (Team Kevan-I love you!)
So what is in a year? This year for the first time in my parenting history, I will be the first one to see my 1 year old walk. I will hear her new words and be able to soak in so many more moments. I will be the one to put my kids on the bus and the parent that comes to school holiday parties. For one year, I won’t have to run into school at 4 am to do substitute plans when one of my kids is sick. There are 189 school days that I will not have to get three kids ready and out the door by 6:40 am for daycare. For a year, I will actually pack lunches, no more buying at school. For a year, I’m devoting myself to being present. Present in the good and the bad, the tough and the relaxing. If it’s a beautiful Tuesday, my daughter and I are taking a walk in the sunshine because we can.
While I will miss some of my teenagers so much and so many of my coworkers, for a year the stress that comes with teaching will not be my problem. There is so much more involved in that job that only those in education can understand, and for one year, it won’t be in my face every single day.
For one year, I will not have to “act” for 8 hours a day, because-as those of you who have taught know- teaching is theater. I am sad about missing some of my “kids” in their senior year, but so excited about not missing as much of my three at home.
For 365 days I will be living more frugally (thank goodness we like spaghetti and hot dogs) and working from home part-time in between naps, games and tantrums.
I have never made a tougher decision in my life. My heart is in that school and I am a little lost, but for the next year, I know I will be filling my heart with memories that will last a lifetime. The support and understanding of my school administration and my coworkers has eased my anxiety a bit and given me confidence. Hopefully, I will return to education more focused, refreshed and energized.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
For the next year, I’m looking forward to having more time to write and connect and give this blog the time I’ve imagined.