It’s pretty hard to believe summer is almost over… well, that it’s almost Labor Day. All over social media, I see posts about families preparing to send kids back to school, teachers preparing to start a new year. This marks my third school year not going back to school (since the birth of E). In fact, today is the first day of school where I used to teach. I always feel so nostalgic around now– I look back in my drive at my school documents, lessons I’ve loved to teach.. super cool teacher stuff.
The decision for me to stay at home for the time being wasn’t one that we made lightly. For a variety of reasons, it really made the most sense for our family at this point in time, but it was one that I was a little sad to make, too. I LOVED my school, I loved my colleagues, I loved my content (high school history and psychology) and of course the students I taught. When I got pregnant I was at a place professionally where I was really happy and really fulfilled.
That said, I’ve never once regretted the choice to be at home with my daughter, but it definitely came with more of a transition period than I had anticipated. There were less significant things to adjust to– like days all basically running together, a Saturday being not much different than a Monday (other than my husband being home, making tons of noise, and ruining naptime), like it not reeeeallly mattering if you wear real pants or a real bra for an entire week (which sounds great in theory).
My daily victories used to include students connecting with material, dare I say, liking history, finding a fun new way to teach something, an interesting new primary source. Being a stay at home mom, my daily victories have included things like getting both a vomit and poop stain out of a onesie I really liked, figuring out how to resolve a nasty diaper rash, getting out of the house without a fight over what shoes E is wearing, going to the bathroom alone… You get the picture.
It’s pretty easy to look at those lists of victories and assign more weight to one group than the other… I did for a while. At school, I had plenty of evaluations, feedback from coworkers, administrators, parents, and students. I had affirmation all the time about the job I was doing. Becoming a stay at home mom, in my experience, you lose a lot of that affirmation. It’s absolutely not like my husband didn’t tell me I was doing a good job or that I’m a good mom, but he’s one person, and also not my boss. It’s definitely an adjustment shifting to the only real feedback on your day to day work is that your kid seems to be happy, thriving, safe (albeit a sociopathic tyrant).
It was harder early on when I felt like I had absolutely no business having a child, couldn’t believe the hospital let us leave with her, like everything I did was a massive failure. But in the 2.5 years since then, I’ve gained some confidence (not too much because my toddler would promptly humble me by getting naked in Target and refusing to wear anything but a Princess Anna nightgown I was planning to buy her… not a true story from this morning obviously). I’ve settled into my role as Mom, trying to find little victories every day (sometimes teeeeeny tiny victories).
Thanks for reading, friends! xo