January 6, 2020

Considering the idea of going back to work

I wrote this back in October. I told myself that I'd worry about "next year" in "2020". 2020 is here and...I really think I'm leaning toward the idea of staying home for another year but I don't actually know and won't actually know until the time comes I suppose.

Thoughts appreciated :)

When I quit my job, I didn't miss it. After Wells was born and school started again, I didn't miss it. When Wells was 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 months old...didn't miss it. I regularly thought, and sometimes said, I have no idea how people go back to work with a baby.

It wasn't until he was maybe 10 months old that I thought, Eh, I could probably go back to work. 

Maybe around the 8 or 9 month mark I started wondering what the heck I was doing with all my time. I talked to friends who said they'd love to stay home if they could. I met with other moms of under-1s who enjoyed every second of it. I often thought, I wanted him so badly and now I would want to go back to work?! 

I thought about things others told me along the lines of I was giving all of myself to my job and there was nothing left for my family, and that's why they chose to stay at home.

 I thought of the counselor who told me I *could* go back to work. It wasn't that I couldn't do it. It was that it would just be hard and I'd have to make a sacrifice in some part of my life. Probably in the realm of having no free time. 
I thought of the mom who told me she would go back to work when her youngest (who wasn't conceived yet) went to school. 
I thought of the mom who left a very esteemed career to stay at home with her two littles and said she knows she could go back but she likes that she can take better care of her family and her house by staying at home. 

And, finally, I thought about the Facebook post for a moms' group I'm in: I don't know this person so I don't even know how old her baby/kid is, but she said she cries ugly tears every day after she drops him off at daycare. She would do anything to stay home with him but she needs the insurance benefits because her husband is self-employed. 

These are all real examples I've encountered in the last 6 or so months. 

Then, I thought about the mom I know who is an army wife. She has lived in 3 states since I've known her and she has 4 kids under 8 and she went back to teaching after each kid was born. I worked with her in Missouri. She gets a job wherever they move and her kids, now, go to school with her, but before they had a babysitter.

And I thought about how, for a lot of people, working takes away the potential richness of their lives. They're able to be better people when they're at home with their kids. What I'm realizing is how much teaching has enriched my life. It's made me into the person I am...all the schools, all the learning I had to do, all the colleagues I've worked with and friends I've made, and all of the little lives I got to put a permanent stamp on; you always remember who your teachers were in elementary school. By staying at home full-time, however wonderful it is be able to take care of my own toddler, I was trading in a huge part of who I was as a person and could become as a person. It's not about the job: it's about the experiences. Wells is better off with me having had all of those opportunities in the past. I can teach him so much more about life now! 

Then I thought about the cost of daycare. 
And I thought about the germs at daycare.
And, to be perfectly honest, for me, it's always been about the potential dangers of daycare. I won't get into the horror stories, but I heard one on the news when I was about two months post-partum and I couldn't sleep for a week. 

And I thought about moving again next year. It's not like I can just call up my old district and re-apply. It's not like I could've asked my previous school to hold a job for me for a year. It's not that easy. I have to be willing to start over. 

Timing is everything and the timing of when Wells was born was nothing short of miraculous, as is his existence in the first place. I just so happen to have, like, two "free" years where working would've been unideal and almost impossible. 

Miraculous, indeed. 

All of this being said, obviously I am blessed to and grateful to have the opportunity to stay at home. What a thing to whine about, right? I love being with Wells. I get anxious when I'm away from him, still. Though it's not as bad as it used to be. 

I think my problem ("problem") is that teaching isn't just a job. It's a hobby and a lifestyle and a feeling of belonging and acceptance. All at the same time. It takes a certain personality to do it. It takes a certain amount of stamina and rigor to keep up with it. It's just part of who I am at this point. 

I've thought about the work-from-home types of teaching and nearly set-up an interview for one company. Then I realized that I have NO (ZIP, ZERO) desire to set up a makeshift classroom in our extra bedroom and teach via Skype. NOPE. I have no desire to work from my own computer, sitting at home in my pajamas. I have no desire to work from home at all. 

This doesn't mean I don't want to be with my toddler for a huge chunk of each day. It means that I will be better at being with him if he's not the only thing I have to focus on. Takes some pressure off, actually. 

Plus, the idea of trying to work only during naptime or the idea of hiring someone to watch him while I work from home doesn't sound like something I, personally, would be on board with. This is an idea Scott and I have tossed around and I'm not a fan. 

ALLLLLL of this to say:

In July, I applied for my teaching license in the state we will be headed to next, which is Kansas.

I was in an irrational mood one day, thinking I'd never be able to teach again, so I needed to take this step while I had time. 

THEN, I realized my Colorado license expired in August and, after talking to the state of Colorado, I wasn't allowed to renew it because I don't teach in Colorado. 
I called Missouri. They won't let me renew my license because I don't teach there. 
And Alaska.
And my Pennsylvania license has been frozen since 2009 when I moved away. It would reactivate if I got a job here, but I don't know how that process works because no one wants to look at your applications without a valid license.

In sheer panic mode, I called the state of Kansas and asked what I should do. They told me to fill out as much of the application as I could, send it in before my Colorado license expired, and it would be on file. Then I would send in the rest as I gathered the proper paperwork from the various sources I needed to contact (colleges, districts, fingerprints, etc). 

You see, I can apply for a new license in a new state. I just can't renew an old one. It's not the easiest process to navigate. 

It was a very long day. It was strangely exhilarating to be working on *something* again though. Kind of like when I publish Teachers Pay Teachers products. It makes me happy to be doing something that affects something else.

I was supposed to be packing for a wedding weekend away and, instead, I just buried myself under a pile of paperwork and took two (!) trips to the post office with a 12 month old.

I don't know what we will do next year. I do know that, if I don't work, I will likely put Wells in a nursery school of some type for a few hours a week because I want to him to have that experience. We've been doing mom/baby playgroups for months and months now and I think that'll be a potentially really fun next step for him. Five days a week in daycare is another story, so we'll cross that bridge if we come to it.

Much of this depends on Scott's job/jobs, whatever house we end up in, whatever town we end up in, etc. We have some ideas but it's all up in the air. As in usual with this military life.


  1. I really enjoyed reading all the thoughts and back-and-forth. It's not a straight easy decision in so many scenarios! There are a lot of things to think about--sometimes work is the only option because of finances, sometimes the cost of daycare outweighs the financial benefit of working...I really understand the anxiety about leaving him and about daycare dangers (the only time my mom ever put any of my siblings in daycare is the only time any of us ended up getting a bunch of stitches in the face. My sister still has a visible scar on her face from a bad fall at daycare.) I wouldn't put Cyrus in any local daycare here. There's much I love about where we live...but I don't love the way children are treated, in many different ways. There's just really big cultural differences in that area, and I wouldn't be okay with it. My parents work full time and travel so "Grandma-care" wouldn't be an option, either.
    Plus, with being abroad, it complicates things and would require a whole reshuffling and a lot of paperwork with trying to change my visa status if I wanted to work. It's a whole lot easier to be just "Mom" right now and I have plenty to stay occupied with. Being the one without a "real job" tends to make me the de facto person in charge of children, which has been really nice--I've mentioned Cyrus's "twin" little buddy before, and I'm in charge of homeschool and keeping track of my sisters when my parents are too busy or traveling, and the various other kids belonging to my friends who do work full-time. It's been really a happy balance for us because there's plenty of socialness and friends for Cyrus, I get to be involved in other kids' lives, and I do get a schedule with more flexibility than I otherwise would. Maybe not the ideal choice for financial reasons, but I'm better at being thrifty than I would be at making money, anyways.

  2. That's cool you'll put Wells in a place even if you dont work just because I think interaction is great for kids. Learning how to make friends & social skills.
    I'm sure you'll end up exactly where you need to be - whether back behind a desk or home with your son or somewhere you dont even have any clue of right now. Life has a way of doing that.

  3. My sister was going to stay at home at first. Then she realized to keep her sane per say she needed adult time and they didnt want a daycare either. They found a E loving in home provider and she works, the twins get social interaction and it's good.

    I was going to suggest that vip kid but you nixed that, ha.

    I feel like teaching is you, even if it were in a preschool that you could take Wells. What about a youth person at a library? That's a coveted job here, trust me, I've tried for it, ha!

  4. This is a really tough decision, and one that only you can make. It sounds like you are thoroughly thinking about all the options, and things will all fall into place.


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