Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pros and Cons

Please feel free to add your two cents! Here is my list so far! Allison - I would love your insight regarding staying home! I know you are honest about how challenging it can be.

Pros and Cons regarding staying home as opposed to working full- or part-time:


  1. More time with babe
  2. More time with The Bee
  3. Our boundaries for where to buy a house would be easier to define (The Bee and I work about 20 miles away from each other, in opposite directions of the major cities. Me leaving my current school would make living near his office more logical).
  4. When I am ready to go back to teaching, I will have an area near our home/The Bee's job to focus my search
  5. Time to pursue my own art again
  6. Grocery shopping during the day with the babe (instead of after work in the dark with the babe)
  7. More time for whole foods, home cooked meals
  8. Daytime used for some house work so evenings can be spent with The Bee
  9. Story time at the library (for some reason I am really sad that I never get to do this with the babe)
  10. The Bee coming home for lunch 
  11. Less car/commute time for all of us!
  12. Play dates with cousins and friends
  13. Trading daycare with my sister so I still get a little time for my sanity
  14. In the words of a co-worker, our school is a "sinking ship." I can bail out now before things get really bad.
  15. I would be home when the babe was more scrambling to get sub plans done at 4am or arguments about who needs to adjust their work schedule (this was a disaster in December when the stomach flu hit. I was home with the babe for 3 days in one week. The following week, she couldn't go to daycare due to illness at my sister's house so The Bee stayed home with her in the morning and then the babe came to school with me in the afternoon...thank God it worked that day due to special events so I was not teaching regular classes!)
  16. I would be able to take the babe to doctors appointments without having to miss work/make sub plans
  1. Lapse in my teaching license
  2. Lapse in employment
  3. Isolation of being home instead of in the working world
  4. Losing touch with the real world (this doesn't happen to all SAHM's, but I know a few who are so out of touch with everyone/everything except their own little families)
  5. Less income
  6. No breaks (at school right now I get 50 minute lunches 2 days a week, 25 minute lunches 3 days a week)
  7. Long stretches without adult conversation
  8. No more Caribou and Starbucks giftcards at Christmas from students (Ha - I am seriously going to miss this! We haven't had to pay cash for coffee out for the last 5 years. Mind you, we maybe go to coffee shops once a month, but it is still a perk I will miss!)
  9. Missing teaching. I do find some real joy in making art with my students.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Decisions, decisions...

So, since my last post approximately 2 weeks ago, I have started to come around to this whole "staying home" business. It still scares the s*** out of me, but there seem to be a lot of pros, and a few cons (although the cons seem REALLY BIG). The main con is getting back into teaching after being away. A second con is what happens to me if my husband turns out to be an awful human being like my dad and leaves me desolate. I don't think my husband would do that, but it is something that creeps into my mind every now and again when I am emotional, tired, when we are having an argument, etc. I mean, my mom never thought she'd be where she is, but here she is.

In my worry over the decision I have been talking to a lot of husband, my mom, my sisters, my friends, stay at home moms that I know, working moms that I know, teachers at my school (only the ones I trust with the information that I am considering not signing that coveted contract in the spring). In a moment of freaking out while drinking my morning coffee last week, I posted to a teacher chatboard that I frequented as a new teacher and still check in on every once in a while. For your reading pleasure:

My post:

Our daughter (first and only child at this point) just
turned one this week. I was lucky to have about 7 months
off with her before I returned to my full-time art teacher
job in August. With my husband's long commute, our desire
to buy a house near his work (which is about 25 miles away
from my school), the cost of childcare, the reality that
enrollment is way down at my Catholic school and I haven't
gotten a raise in 5 years...

We are considering having me stay home next year. My
husband has much more faith in my art abilities (I feel
rusty at "adult art" and haven't been in a show since my
first year teaching 6 years ago) and thinks I could take
this opportunity to get back to what I love: making my own
art. This prospect both excites and terrifies me.

Have any of you taken a break from teaching and
successfully gotten back into it? I just re-upped my
license in June so I am licensed until 2018, although we
want 1 or more kids, so it might be a while...

And the 2 responses I got:

You are SO LUCKY! you have the support of your husband to
pursue your own artistic endeavors, you get the chance to keep
your daughter with you, all while trying to purchase a home.
This is a dream for many art teachers out there. Cherish this
new adventure, nurture and trust your artistic abilities, and
enjoy this amazing opportunity. Good luck!!! 


I did the same thing when my daughter was born. I worked the first
year and had such a hard time with it. My husband said we would
try a year with me home, and that turned into 2 which turned into
6. I was ridiculously lucky that I could take parental leave for 
that long (I had 2 more children and took 2 years for each child.
(It wasn't written in our contract that we had to return between
each child.) I did end up returning to my job when my oldest was
in 2nd grade, middle in kindergarten and youngest was 3 years old
(pre- school.) It was absolutely difficult financially and I lost
all of my seniority, but it was hands down the best decision I
ever made. I don't regret it for a minute and treasure that time I
had with the kids especially now that they are getting old (4th,
6th, and 8th grade.) I say go for it.... It could turn into a
wonderful opportunity where you end up doing something other than
teaching---something you would have never tried if you didn't have
a reason to leave. You DO have a reason---a big one, and if you can
swing it financially, you'll never regret having that time with your

So, who knows how I will feel in a week, a month, when I get my teaching contract (or when I don't, it isn't a guarantee), on the last day of school in June? Right now I feel like staying home might be the best option for my family. I know we can't relive this year without being very stressed and unhappy. As Einstein said, 
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." We'd be insane to not try something different next year...but is staying home the right different thing to try?!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Long time, no post (again).

I am home today due to the cold temperatures. School was supposed to resume yesterday after 2 weeks of Christmas break, but the governor closed all schools in the entire state for fear of kids getting frostbite while trying to get to school. Boo to the cold, yay for extra days with the babe (who is currently napping in her CRIB! 2 weeks of nap training are [slowly] paying off!).

Life's been full with school, the holidays, The Bee's atrocious work schedule, and almost 2 months of continuous illness for the babe. We were so lucky for the first 10 months of her life...a few little sniffles and some diaper rash was about it. Now we've experienced a horrible bout of the stomach flu (3 full days of vomiting. You know you love a child when they can throw up peaches into your bra and you keep your cool to bathe them while only being able to change your clothes and wipe off with a clean towel until your husband gets home to give you a chance to shower), a seizure scare that led to an EEG (which, PRAISE GOD! revealed no seizure activity or abnormal brain activity), a horrible cold that only allowed the babe to sleep propped up with pillows or sitting up in our arms (3 cheers for co-sleeping,,,not sure how we would have gotten any sleep otherwise), and an ear infection that brought us to the ER from 11pm-3am.last Friday night/Saturday morning.

Our girl will be one on Monday. I cannot believe how fast the last year has gone! We are finding more joy in her every single day and still can't believe how amazingly blessed and lucky we are to be her parents. She is so close to walking, which is exciting and terrifying!

In other news: The Bee is fed up with his long commute to work. I am fed up with his long hours. We are both feeling the drag of the crazy running around we do Monday-Friday with drop-off, pick-up, working and normal life tasks. dinner feels like a chore after I get home with the babe and The Bee isn't around until 10pm or later. I also have extreme mom guilt about how sick the babe has been, I keep asking, "Would she be sick like this if I was home with her? Should I be spending so much of my time with OTHER PEOPLE'S kids when we waited so long to have our own baby?"

Which brings me to the generous and scary proposal my husband made to me recently: I can choose to keep teaching OR stay home with the babe and (eventually) work on my own art work again. Seems so appealing, but teaching has become part of my identity and I worked darn hard to get where I am. We are still paying off my masters degree and I don't want to lose my teaching license because I am away from work for too long (I just renewed last spring so I am current until 2018). Also, my mom stayed home with me and my siblings starting when I was 7. She had (and still has) her own barber shop that she runs out of her home, but it has always been part-time. After all those years of raising us and running her own business, my dad filed for divorce and took her to the cleaners. Now she is 55 and works 3 jobs just to keep from losing her house and barber shop. I know my husband is NOT my father, but I am sort of afraid of ending up in my mom's shoes.

PLUS, I know how isolating it can be to stay home full-time. AND, I know I'd need to get my act together if I actually want to have time to get back to my own art making (which I miss like crazy as I haven't had much time for it since I started teaching 6 years ago. I would love to be in shows again, but feel rusty and have no current work!).

One of my requirements if I am to stay home is that we need a house first. I refuse to stay home full-time in a 2 bedroom apartment! In a state where it is so, so cold, this size of space leads to serious cabin fever. Why don't you go out and about? you wonder...Because less than 5 minutes of skin exposure outside right now leads to frostbite. Not worth the risk with a little one. So, right now the plan (if you can call it a "plan") is for me to hopefully work part-time next school year, we'll start the process of buying a house while we both have income and then I will be home with the babe starting during the 2015-2016 school year. In a perfect world, we would have baby #2 on the way near the end of next school year, but we know that trying to plan babies is nonsense. (That is another fear of mine, staying home, losing my license and having to deal with secondary infertility and then trying to find work after the babe is preschool/school age. However, if it is in God's plan for us to expand our family, my income is too small at my current school to make it worth working with 2 kids in daycare. Arg. So much uncertainty).

Anyways, if you have stuck with me through my blogger absence and this scattered post, thank you. And sorry for any typos...this is being written in a bit of a rush. I will be attempting to catch up with all of you! Hoping 2014 is good to all of you!