Wednesday, May 30, 2012

decisions {part 2}

Tomorrow will be my last day of teaching for a while.  As I walked into my principal's office today with tears in my eyes, I handed him my official letter of resignation.  This decision has not been an easy one.  I have been going back and forth for months.  There have been many nights where I have been up until the wee hours of the morning because my heart is so torn.  I don't say this to throw myself a pitty party, but for you as my readers to know that this is not a decision I have taken lightly.  I made numerous pros and cons list, talked to those closet to me, and prayed more than I have probably ever prayed in my life.  Through all of these things, God led me in one direction.  He led me to feel confident in my decision to leave a job I love and stay home full time with my son.  He led me to understand that my mission work with kids in a public education setting is done for now.  I have a big God, that always leads me in the right direction.  I have tears in my eyes as I type this, because seeing it actually written is so bitter sweet.

As I studied my pros and cons list, I was able to see that each of my biggest concerns were ones that I knew would be taken care of.  Number one on my list was the saddness I felt about leaving kids that I KNOW need me.  As I thought about that I realized that there are so many organizations that I could be a part of that allow me to still do what I love.  I have promised myself that I will find an organization to volunteer my time to a couple times a month so I don't lose my connection with kids.  I also reminded myself that I am 25.  If I stay home until Kason is 10, I'll be 35.  I would still have lots of teaching years left in me! :)

  Probably the next biggest concern was a financial one.  We will now only be receiving one steady income.  This is still scary to me and I often get lost in the "what ifs".  Thankfully, I have a husband that has helped suppress this fear.  He has created a detailed budget that we will follow.  He has looked in every area of our lives and found ways to cut expenses.  Will things be tight for a while?  Absolutely.  We might not be able to go on a family vacation every summer.  We may not be able to move to a bigger house for a while.  And that is ok.  When I'm whinning about not having any new clothes, I will remind myself that this is a decision that I made.  In the end, I think this decision will make us become much more aware of how we are spending our money.  Having never really lived on a budget before, it will be good to actually pay attention to where our money is going.  I am so grateful I have a husband that has done everything he can to make sure that we are financially prepared for the future.  I thank him and Dave Ramsey...ha! :)

In the end the pros way out weighed the cons.  I will get to be home with my baby day in and day out.  I will no longer feel stressed about trying to balance a full time job and being a wife and mama.  Don't get me wrong, I know being a stay at home mom will be a lot of work.  Maybe even more work than teaching, but knowing that is my full time job is such a weight lifted. Lastly, I will have time to focus on my growing photography business and although I don't want to do it full time, it's something I love that will allow me still use my creative mind.  I'd say the pros win.

I will miss teaching for many reasons.  I will miss the kids.  There are days that their attitudes and anger are almost too much to handle.  There are days when they drive me absolutely crazy.  But for some reason, I love them more than I can express.  I will miss seeing them everyday and watching them grow throughout the year.  Along with the students, I will miss the teachers and other staff members that I work with.  Teachers (especially the ones that teach in an urban setting) don't get the respect they deserve.  I am so honored to work with people that genuinely love kids that most people would find hard to love.  I have had many laughs and tears with my co-workers, and will miss them tremendously.  

  Please know my heart when I say that this is the best decision for me.  It is not a decision that everyone feels obligated to make.  I can't tell you how many times over tha past year that I have heard someone say something or post something on Facebook that makes me feel like an awful mom for choosing to work.  I have cried one too many times because of those hurtful comments.  As moms we are meant to build each other up and often we just tear each other down.  There are many reasons that moms choose to work.  Some do it for financial/health insurance reasons and I admire them for providing for their families.  Others choose to work because they want to.  I admire those moms for finding a balance between work and home.  I am so thankful that I chose to work this year.  I wouldn't go back and change my decision at all.  If I hadn't worked, I wouldn't have ever known if I could balance it all.  I wouldn't have had the respect I do for working moms.  If you are a working mom, count on me to be your biggest cheerleader!

So that is my decision.  Thank you for following me along on this journey. :)

{My kids hands..since I don't want to post their faces online.  The biggest reason I chose to teach in the township I did was the diversity.  I love it!}

Friday, May 11, 2012

friday randoms

I've had writers block BIG TIME when it comes to my blog lately.  I think that my brain moves at a million miles per hour during the day so when I sit down to blog at night, my words just turn to mush and I can't string a thought together much less a blog post.  So bare with me as I try to pull a post full of randoms together. :)

...There are 13 days of school left.  Summer is so close I can taste it.  Bring on the trips to the pool, bike rides, and time with friends.  I have said this before every break this year but I have NEVER been so ready for a break! :)

...Tomorrow we are going to a wedding of a dear family friend.  This girl has been like a little sister to me, and tomorrow she is getting married!  So excited for her wedding and reception...did I mention the reception will be in a barn?!  So fun!

...I am very close to making a decision about whether or not I am going to teach next year.  So thankful for all of the comments on my blog and Facebook from encouraging friends and family.  So, so blessed to have such an amazing support system.  

...This week was teacher appreciation week.  Teaching is a hard, hard job.  It is so under appreciated, especially in the state we live in.  I work with some incredible teachers that work so hard for the students that walk through our school doors everyday.  Being a teacher has made me a better mother, and when Kason gets to school I will appreciate EVERYTHING his teachers do.

...Sometimes I really wish I didn't live my life worried about what others think of me.  I've always had an issue with this but it has become WAY worse since I've become a mom.  I have to remind myself daily that I am being the best mom for Kason and I can't worry about what all of the moms around me are doing.

...June is almost booked full of photo sessions.  I say it a lot of Facebook but I am so thankful for all of the business.

...I watched seasons 1 and 2 of Parenthood over spring break and loved it.  I need to start watching season 3 online..but I'm hoping it comes to Netflix soon!  Seriously, best show ever!

...We are going to California in a little over a month.  I'm already feeling the anxiety of traveling with a 14 month old and I haven't even stepped foot in the airpot.  I'm going to do a blog post begging for travel advice in a couple of weeks.

...I've had 2 vivid dreams recently where I am pregnant with another boy.  I am literally giving birth to him and cannot for the life of me come up with a name for him.  I have woken up both times racking my brain for boy names.  Is this a sign of my future?!  (I am not pregnant, by the way!)

...I'm still trying to figure out Blogger's new layout.  My photography blog/website is Wordpress and just when I got that all figured out..Blogger went and changed everything up!  I can't keep up!

...I'll leave you with a sweet picture of my boys mowing the grass.  So. Cute.  I have lots of pictures to edit and upload.  In 13 days, I think I will have plenty of time. :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Where you lead me I will follow, where you lead me I will go.  Where you lead me I will follow, Jesus take me down that road.

We sang this song at church on Sunday and I couldn't have needed to hear it more.  I have never been a good decision maker.  Every time Duane and I go out to eat he asks me to pick and I repetitively refuse.  I'm indicisive and I hate that about myself.  I wish making decisions came easily to me.  Let's be honest though, if I can't decide between Panda Express and Panera, major life decisions are out of the question.  I've come to realize over the years that the reason I struggle to make decisions is because I worry so much about the people around me and how the decisions I make affect them.  I'm not saying this so that everyone can say "Oh what a selfless person she is" because I am nowhere NEAR selfless.  Usually quite the opposite, actually.  However when it comes to making decisions I am always so focused on how it will affect others. This goes for simple decisions along with big decisions.  There comes a time though, when I have to remember that I have to do what is best for me.  That in turn will be the best decision for my loved ones as well.

I haven't kept it secret that this year has been nothing short of difficult.  Going back to work after 4 months off with my baby presented unforeseen challenges.  The hours away from my baby seemed longer than I ever imagined.  I wholeheartedly decided to go back to work last August after much debate.  I decided that I didn't want to be done teaching.  I wasn't ready to give up on something that I only did for a year and a half.  I wasn't ready to just throw my hard earned degree down the drain.  I knew it would be hard, but I dove head first into my new class.  It was what I felt God was calling me to do.  I have known for a long time that my classroom and school are my mission field.  That is why I love working in the school I work in.  Yes, the kids are rough and there are days where I want to quit, but it is so rewarding.  So, so rewarding.  Not only am I teaching my students math and language, I am teaching them life lessons.  Lessons that they might not learn at home.  I am showing them the love the Christ shows me.  I pray for them at night and on my way to school.  I am not exaggerating when I say that many of them feel like my own children.  However, being a "mom" to 26 sixth graders has been exhausting both physically and mentally.  The one way 45 minute drive is exhausting.  There are nights I come home with little energy for my own son.  And this is where I struggle.  This is where my decision comes in.  Can I do this any longer?  Can I continue to teach next year?

This afternoon I sat in my principal's office.  As it goes in any job setting, rumors spread and I had shared my thoughts of not teaching next year with a few colleagues whom in turn shared those thoughts with my principal.  Just as he had heard through the grapevine that I may not be coming back I heard through the grapevine that my principal was on to me.  Luckily, I have an awesome principal that is extremely supportive.  He talked through things with me as I sat in tears, feeling overwhelmed with the decision before me.  He told me he supported me in either decision I made.  He said he didn't want to persuade me either way, but to remember that my baby is only young once.  I know that he respects me as a teacher, but I also know he respects me as a mother.  And that is not found in all bosses.  He was so reassuring and I desperately needed to hear the wisdom he had for me.  At the end of our conversation he told me to take as much time as I needed to decide.  He advised me to pray about my decision and I muttered something like "I've been praying a million times a day and I wish God would just give me a definite sign!"  He reminded me that neither decision is the "wrong" decision and to just follow what my heart tells me to do.  If only I could listen to my heart and drowned out the sound of my brain.

My heart is telling me that I would be a better mom and wife if I left my teaching job.  My heart tells me that I would feel much more at peace if I was able to spend my days with Kason.  On the other hand, my heart aches in thinking about not being able to teach anymore.  Not being able to feel like I am working in my mission field anymore.  Giving up (for now) on a dream I have had since I was in kindergarten.  Apparently my heart is torn.

When thinking about this decision I know I need to put myself and my family first.  I always look at other working moms that seem to be able to balance it all and think.."man, if they can do it, so can I."   I start to feel guilty and think that maybe I am just being dramatic and over emotional.  But that's not reality.  The reality is that I feel as though I am getting lost in a sea of busyness and exhaustion.  I feel like I am not giving my 100% to Kason and Duane.  I feel like it's not going to get easier in a few years when I have another baby to think about.  I need to do what is right for me.  I am my own person, and I can't base my decisions on what other people are capable of.

I don't really know where I am going with all of this.  I have not decided if I am going to resign from my job.  There are a lot of things that go into this decision, finances being the big one.  After talking to my principal, I am confident that if I want to go back to teaching in the future, I will be able to so that fear has subsided a bit.

  All I know is that I am so thankful that I serve a God that knows the big picture when I can't even see into next month.  Thankful that through my many, many prayers God is revealing himself to me in ways I have never seen before.

So for now, I will just pray, because when it comes to making these decisions...that is all I know how to do.

This is the verse that I repeat over and over again when making decisions like this one...
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -- Jeremiah 29:11