Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Thank you! (pros and cons)

Thank you to those of you who commented on my post about Pros and Cons when it comes to staying home vs. working. I appreciate your ideas and input!

Allison - Staying busy will be something I try to do! I have done a ton of reading about toddler/preschool art* and have some experience now that I have taught preschool this school I hope that wherever we end up house-wise, we will have neighbors with kids and I can host a toddler art group! I also plan on taking a Music Together with Felicia. As for free stuff to do: library story time, visits with my sister and her 2 kids...I'll have to come up with more, obviously!

Colleen - Thanks for stopping by - hope you come by again and see this:) I won't know exactly how it will go for me until I try it, but I was home full-time with my daughter for 7 months before I returned to my teaching job, so I got a little taste. We found that we automatically adjusted our spending (I only had 6 weeks paid out of those 7 months). We put the same amount in savings every month and easily paid all of our bills. Our checking account wasn't quite as plump at the end of the month, but it was nothing shocking. Maybe if I made more money at my job, the drop in income would be more of a concern, ha! I don't make much as I work at a Catholic school and haven't had a raise in 4 years! I hope I don't get bored or become unhappy - the isolation part of all of this scares me most! I think that working part-time would be ideal (best of both worlds) but my current job doesn't allow for part-time. I like how you pointed out that what I decide now isn't a decision for the rest of my life. I can return to work if the SAHM thing doesn't work out.

Erika - The school is getting more stressful by the day :( Ugh. Our new principal walked in at a very hard time for the school financially. I really feel for her; it has not been an easy year to lead and things are sort of falling apart. There is talk of about 5 teachers planning to leave after this school year (which is a big percentage as we only have about 30 teachers!). Our enrollment is down - we were at 360 my first year and we are at about 280 now. Our school day is being lengthened after Easter this school year to make up for the 5 "cold days" we had off in January and the lengthened day will be standard next school year. So, an extra half-hour each day next year with no raise...not too enticing. We have even been told that teachers may be asked to take a pay cut to keep more of us employed - it was pitched to us as being "team players" to keep the school going. So, high stress, longer hours, and not only no raise, but possibly a pay cut? Not looking so good :(

Infertile625 - Thanks for that link! Our school is taking state standardized tests for the first time this year and there is speculation that we will need to start "teaching to the test" next year to bump up our scores. We are a Catholic school, so we have not done the state tests in the past. We've done standardized tests in 3 of our 9 grades just to keep tabs on where our kids are, but now the scores will be published in the papers with our area public schools' scores. We are headed down that slippery slope :( Teaching evening art classes would be a good way to keep my hand in teaching! I've actually considered maybe trying some adult art classes like those "Wine and Canvas" gigs that are becoming so popular! Do you have those where you live? "Painting Pubs" are also on the rise here! I haven't tried either, but several of my friends have.

polycysticinside Thanks for the artist's perspective! I haven't had much time to do my own 
art since becoming an art teacher 6 years ago, so now working full-time and being a mom I
don't have ANY chance to do art! I am not expecting to get a lot done, but I do think that:
1. I will have more time without the commute, hours at work, commute to pick up my daughter, 
commute home 
2. I might actually WANT to do my own art more (after painting, drawing, sculpting, etc with 
kids all day and washing literally HUNDREDS of paintbrushes in a preschool bathroom sink, 
I usually have very little desire or energy to work on my own stuff!)
I think this way I may have a fighting chance to lay down some paint at my own easel again! 
Time will tell, but after reading about your experience, I will try to expect that there won't be 
much time most days.

Abby - Glad you randomly clicked over from Erika's blog...not sure if you will see this! I hopped over to your blog for a your hair and your son is adorable! What is a MOPS group? Okay...back to responding to your comment: When my husband and I did our pre-marriage classes through our church, we did a lot of talking about our future together. At the time, at age 22, our goal was to start a family at age 25 after I taught for a year and to have me stay home. Not sure how we decided that! Anyways, the economy tanked the year we got married and my husband, although always employed, did not find his "career job" that he wants to stick with until mid-2011. Mix in a dose of infertility that, after we waited a few extra years for my husband to find a job he was happy at and waited for me to establish my curriculum at school (which I designed from NOTHING!), caused it to take 2 years to get pregnant. So, our daughter was born when I was 29. Things have not gone according to plan (we also, in our naivete thought we'd get a house BEFORE having a baby - ha!). SO, being a SAHM was a goal and dream of mine, too, but now I am scared after all of the twists and turns it has taken to get here! Deep down, I think I would love it. I am pretty sure we are going to try it out after this school year!! Thanks for the advice about being realistic...part of me thinks I will be Wonder Woman with all the "extra time" at home, even though during the hours that I already have at home, I get very little done when I am the sole parent home with our daughter!

Thank you all, again!

* I highly recommend these great books about art for little ones:
Young at Art: Teaching Toddlers Self-Expression, Problem Solving Skills, and an Appreciation for Art
First Art for Toddlers and Twos: Open-Ended Art Experiences
The Artful Parent 
The Artful Parent is also a blog (all the same content of the book, but online and free!):
These 3 books have even changed how I approach art with many of my older students! The bonus is that now I will be ready for art with Felicia as soon as time allows! She has used crayons and markers so far and painted with blueberry juice, but that is it. SO EXCITED to do a lot more this summer! I'll have to post more about these resources another time.