Tomorrow ends my nearly 1 1/2 year journey into the world of playdates and learning time. After working for 12 years as an 8th grade Language Arts teacher, armed with a college degree in Education, Master’s in English and PhD in Curriculum, I decided it was time to stay home with my children. Made possible by my ability to take an educational sabbatical and a few less trips to T.J. Maxx, I ended the school year knowing an entire year would go by without seeing my classroom and colleagues with major changes in education taking place in my absence. (Unfortunately, not all for the better.)
This new world included somewhat scary forrays into A.C.Moore to find crafts to do with the kids, even though I don’t own a glue gun. Signing up for preschool snack times and school field trips, my briefcase stayed home housed in the closet with heels and suits I wore just a few months earlier while interning for my administrative certificate. For as many years as I could remember, one professional goal gave way to another, with just a few brief years since college that I wasn’t also a student. Then, abruptly, professional goals gave way to personal ones. Setting aside time for my childrens’ learning, enjoying watching them flourish and having the opportunity to pursue other creative outlets served as the hallmark of my life over the last year and a half.
At times I missed my colleagues and the daily routine of driving 1/2 hour to school and talking politics in the carpool. Missing work and getting up at 5:00 a.m. to squeeze in a workout? Preposterous. And yet I did.
Though I would not trade my year for the world, I had difficulty balancing my new professional endeavors. Cool Baby Kid, this review blog which was created in 2007 to share cool tips with families–Double Duty Divas, the consulting company created in 2009 with Experimental Mommy which seemed to flourish when given some attention–Reviewer’s Retreat at Great Wolf Lodge, a blog conference Bridgette and I hosted which was a fabulous success. Eventually, though, a new routine took shape. Breakfast with the kids, answering emails during Jake and the Neverland Pirates, learning time, fun time, nap time… Through it all I learned a few things about the working mom/stay at home mom (SAHM) conundrum:
- Being a SAHM is more work than any job outside the home I’ve ever done including being a dishwasher at a convent.
- Seeing your kids every single morning when they are at their snuggliest is worth not having a cleaning lady.
- You can bring a girl to a craft store, but that doesn’t make her crafty.
- Cliques and mean girls exist everywhere. At work, at the playground, online. Learning to stay out of the “fray” is a skill every young girl must learn since it will be a life-long endeavor.
- Living on a tight budget means buying off the $1 menu rather than getting kids meals. And painting your own toes is possible.
- Somehow, against all reason, it’s easier to teach 120 adolescents than two itty bitty preschoolers.
- Both SAHMoms and working moms have “mom guilt.”
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have spent the last year and a half, all day every day, with the loves of my life. At the same token, I’m ready to become a working mom again. And if that oxymorn doesn’t seem to make sense to you, then join the club.
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