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September 15, 2014

From Classroom Teacher to Full-Time Mom

From Classroom Teacher to Full-Time Mom
From Classroom Teacher to Full-Time Mom

At the beginning of the summer, I showed you this stack of books - my stack of summer reads! I am happy to tell you that I finished them...all of them. I would love to go grab coffee with you so I could tell you all the things all learned and all the ways I was challenged! 
In my recent posts, I've told you how hilarious the Melanie Shankle books are...how many creative ideas I discovered in "Everyday Confetti", and today, I want to wholeheartedly encourage you to read The Ministry of Motherhood and The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. I have never found another author who has more of a heart for moms...and their children. I would love for you to find the same encouragement that I have found in the pages of her books. She draws me in and encourages me to be what God has designed me to be...a mom with an eternal perspective. In today's post, I want to share about my choice to be a full-time mom, and I'm excited to include some of my favorite thoughts from Sally Clarkson.

At some point in this post, I'm sure I will offend someone. I am positive that I will cause someone to feel defensive and possibly angry about the things I am going to share about the choice our family has made. However, please know that my intention is not to offend you. This topic is never easy to touch. For most, it's a hot button...an extremely controversial topic, and controversy is something I wholeheartedly seek to avoid in this space. 

On my blog, I passionately share about my day-to-day, and the largest piece of that is my family life. I am a full-time wife and mom. The gift of a spouse and children are incredible answers to prayer in my life, and I know that many of you are walking my same path of being a full-time homemaker.

If you find yourself on a similar journey, I know the types of things people say to you...the questions they ask...the looks that they give...Just when I think I've heard it all, someone comes up with something new.

Here are a few of the most common things I hear:
"What do you do all day?"
"It must be nice."
"Of course you stay home, you were just a teacher."
"Why did you bother going to grad school if you were just going to stay home with your kids?"

However, the number one question I get (from people who know I was a teacher before I had my littles) is: "Do you think you'll ever go back to teaching?" This isn't a question that offends me in the least, but it is definitely difficult for me to provide them a short answer.

Here's where a share with you one of the deepest pieces of who I am....

After finishing out my last year in the classroom, I tutored full-time until I was about 47 weeks pregnant (okay, it was actually 38 weeks, but it felt like 47). Then just a couple of weeks later, this happened~


...and I entered a whole new stage a life...another classroom...one that looked very different from where my heart had previously been invested.

With all of my heart and soul, I absolutely loved being a classroom teacher. To this day, when I run into a former student, my heart literally skips a beat. Each one of those students and their families hold a special place in my heart. I learned so much from them, and I am better for our paths having crossed. Those sweet individuals walked with me through very exciting times - my first days in the classroom, my wedding (Yes, they were literally there), the start of my family - and I loved every moment of sharing those things with them, but the second my firstborn entered the world, everything changed for me. Everything.

While my teacher's heart has always been a large part of who I am, my mommy's heart has always had first place. From the time I was a little girl, my prayers were for a family, and when God answered that prayer, I wholeheartedly committed myself to the task.

My babies have been fairly easy....They haven't had colic; They've nursed well; They've slept when they were supposed to (for the most part). Taking care of their needs hasn't really been rocket science. Dealing with ME has been the challenge. My exhaustion. My frustration. My selfishness. My need for balance. These things have been the difficult part.

At times, it would honestly be much "easier" for me to sign my kids up for daycare and head back to work. I would be able to dress in real clothes...sip my coffee during my commute...use my skills in an environment that allows me to shine...converse with other adults throughout the day...etc. but when it comes to raising my children, I am not interested in what I feel might be easiest for me. It is not about me.

I am entirely committed to being present and available and active in their days~ I haven't chosen to stay home with my children because I wasn't making a six-figure salary as a teacher; I haven't chosen to stay home with my children so I can eat bon-bons and watch reality television while my children take naps. I choose to remain 100% invested in my home because I feel that God has given me a tremendous responsibility that requires my full-time attention. I feel that I have been given the assignment to not only invest in our family's life-center (our home), but to also consistently make eternal investments in the lives of my children.

Homes need a director, guardian, and caretaker, which is what God had in mind when He designed the role of mother. Homes that are being established and protected by the mothers who have a clear vision of their God-designed role can bring refuge and life and hope to a generation of children who need to grow strong in order to be able to battle the storms they will one day face. 

Have I continued hobbies and activities [some even money-making opportunities] that I love? Absolutely! Do I take time away to breathe and regroup? I've learned how truly important that is! Do we provide social activities for our children? Uh...yes. We eagerly provide opportunities for our children to experience other "teachers" - like-minded individuals who are passionate about speaking life into them. We believe it's important for them to experience other caretakers...varying environments,..etc. and we make it a priority to intentionally pursue those things. However, in all of this, my children come first. My home is priority.

I want my children to know why I make the choices I do. Most importantly, I want them to be intimately acquainted with the person who motivates all of my attempts at service...including servant-leadership in the home.

You may be asking, "What about my family?" - "What about my financial situation?" I wholeheartedly believe that each person must decide for themself what God has called their family to do. David and I are responsible only for the choices that we make for our unit, and this is what we feel God has designed for our family.
Photo Credit: Shannon Avason Photography
So, to answer the question: Do I plan to return to the classroom? We are very much enjoying homeschool pre-school with our oldest, and our plan is to continue homeschooling our children throughout the entirety of their school-age years. Will we remain open to other faith-based educational options? Absolutely! So for this reason, we plan to take our decisions year-by-year, child-by-child, stage-by-stage with a very open mind, but I am so thankful my mommy heart and my teacher heart have been able to merge as my home is now my classroom.

Photo Credit: Shannon Avason Photography
I rest in His ability to work through the life of my family. Perfection is not a standard He requires of me as a mother, for His grace extends to me as well as my children. My heartfelt trust in Him will be the fuel that energizes my days...

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:
I Choose Motherhood.