A LITTLE HONESTY

September 25, 2013

I've been back to work part time now for three weeks and the truth is, my heart is just not adjusting well. I haven't broken down, shed tears or anything like that, but every monday and wednesday night I just feel heavy knowing I have to wake up the next day and leave my baby. When I'm there, working with my students and interacting with parents and colleagues I'm okay and focused (sort of.) But every so often (mostly often) I catch a glimpse of my Ruthie's photo hanging on my bulletin board or see a tiny little hand reach for a puzzle piece and I am overcome with longing for my babe. The thing I struggle with as a woman and mother is that I feel like I have no right to complain about my situation. My daughter is not in daycare when I'm gone and I'm only gone 14 hours a week yet I just can't shake that while it is a good situation over all, I'm not yet open to the idea of being away from her even for an hour. Yesterday my mom took her out to a playdate with her cousin and I couldn't stop thinking, 'she's out there, in the world without me.' Of course she was in good hands (and had a blast!) with my mom but she was not with her own mama and for whatever reason, I felt so helpless and anxious. I am also aware that her being out there, exploring and learning without me is good for her but i'm not ready. Will I ever be?

I really want to be present when I'm working and when I'm home but my mind and heart right now are struggling. When I'm at work I'm thinking of home, when I'm home I'm thinking of all the things I should be doing for work - both plans for my classroom and things for our business. I guess this goes back to the age old struggle of balance and "having it all." The truth is, I don't want to have it all. I want simplicity and I want my family to be my priority always.

11 COMMENTS:

  1. I feel for you. I don't want it all, either. If I could stay home with my baby I would. If you can, I think you should. I don't mean ANYONE that can, should. I mean YOU should. Its where your heart really is.

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  2. Stay home. Stay home. Stay home. You know that when you're not 100% devoted to something it's impossible to truly focus all your energy on it -- it's not fair to your students who deserve to have a truly devoted teacher, it's not fair to their parents, or to yourself. And no matter how much fun your girl has with her grandmas, you know that all she needs is her mama.

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    1. I totally agree. It's not fair for a lot of people. I am committed to my students for the year and while I sometimes feel like my mind is not at there, I'm doing the best I can and do feel like I'm doing a good job at giving the kids what they deserve. Hopefully as a little bit more time goes by all of this will be a bit easier! :)

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  3. I've come to know many women who go into childcare and early childhood education as a profession as I'm about to graduate and begin Montessori training (which is how I came across your blog). It seems to be common between their stories that they try to be a mother and a teacher at first, but nine times out of ten they tell me they made it a couple of months, maybe a year, and they just couldn't handle the divide. Most of them took off the first four to six years. I'm newly married, young, and after I finish these next couple of years, we'd really like to have some babes with us at home. Financially, it may be difficult, but the question of one of us staying home for the early years or homeschooling altogether has been a discussion I know we'll have to really face soon as the farm and our working lives only seem to grow. We think, though, that the best education received is received in the home as a family unit; and I think you probably know even better that what's best for your children is known best by their parents, especially the mama. Anyway, I'm not sure what I mean to convey to you here except that you're not alone in needing support here, but you and your husband seem to know very well what is valuable and where your love and energy is best spent. Some callings are small, but have the most fulfilling impact. I wish you peace in making your decision!

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    1. Thank you so much for this. Before going back I was excited about the balance of being home mostly full time while still being able to work as a professional. But when your heart is somewhere else, you just can't help it. I am committed to getting through this school year. I adore my students and the school I work for so I will do my best to stay positive and know that this does not have to be a forever situation. Best of luck to you as you navigate through the next couple of years!

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  4. "The thing I struggle with as a woman and mother is that I feel like I have no right to complain about my situation."

    The thing is, everyone's situation and needs and desires are different. Not everyone has the freedom of choice, but if you do you should listen to your gut and try to honor it. Keep in mind that no decision needs to be permanent-- Ruthie is still young, and if you decide to stay home full-time for another few months, or year, or few years, you'll still have a LONG time after to go back to work and devote yourself there when you feel ready for it.

    It's hard to try to look forward into the future when you're so deeply entrenched in the NOW and TODAY. But Ruthie, and you, will all grow and change and adapt. Personal example-- I remember when my first turned a year and I felt like weaning him off breastfeeding was unthinkable, it was such a big part of our lives, then just a few months later my feelings shifted. You may well find that when Ruth is a little older you'll feel much more comfortable and secure about going back to work.

    Good luck with figuring out what to do. Try not to worry about outside pressure and what you think you "should" do according to anyone else's standards... you guys focus on what you and your little family needs for now.

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    1. Thanks Marcy. I know you speak from experience so I take your words seriously. And I think you're right about giving it some time. It's hard to imagine that in a few months I'll be okay with the situation (and I am okay, honestly) but that's how life is. It moves fast and can change so quickly. And thanks for pointing out that nothing is permanent. Voice of reason :)

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  6. thought you might enjoy this article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/opinion/sunday/you-cant-have-it-all-but-you-can-have-cake.html?smid=tw-share&_r=2&

    xxo

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