Day 8: Being a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom)
All joking aside (it's kind of a joke, but kinda true), I love staying home with the boys.
I don't think staying home is for everyone. Some women just do not feel good about leaving the workforce and feel like they must work to feel worthy. I'm all for people doing what's best for them, and it's not my place to judge what anyone else decides to do with their life.
I can only speak for myself, and I can say that before I made the decision to stay home with Gus, I was seriously on the fence. I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do and I feel like I was called to be a SAHM.
We were stuck in Michigan from the time Gus was born (May 11th, 2010) until July 11th, 2010. Two months of being forced to stay in the state of Michigan. I wavered back and forth on the pros and cons of working versus staying home. The hardest decision wasn't the income, it was leaving a job where I felt personally fulfilled, successful, and happy. I LOVED teaching and loved spending every day with kids.
When my principal started asking if I was going to return (I taught in a year-round system and the year was ending June 30th and a new one starting July 7th), I told her I had intended on returning but until I could leave Michigan, I couldn't give a definite answer. I felt like I had time to decide, but she sent me daily emails and voice messages asking if I had decided yet. She needed to find someone to replace me if I wasn't coming back. The state of Michigan was taking forever to allow us to come home, and I couldn't give her the answer that she needed.
Time got too close and I had to submit a resignation letter because I was not going to be in the state of North Carolina to begin the 2010-2011 school year. I was upset about it, but I was so focused on just getting home, that I didn't worry too much about it. Steve and I had been apart for nearly five weeks and I was exhausted from being the only person to take care of Gus while Steve was back in NC and I was in MI with Gus.
When we returned to NC on July 11th, I had a decision to make. Do I look for a job (possibly subbing) or just stay home?
Again, God had a plan for me. He made sure to let me know that I was called to stay home, and it was in a most profound way.
It was October and Gus was five months old. I was getting into the swing of things, but still yearned to be working with children in some way. It came as a sign-- an email from Career Builder with a job opening at Primrose (a daycare). Their Holly Springs location was slated to open and they'd need teachers to fill the teaching positions. I asked Steve about it and we found it to be an amazing opportunity! I could work there and get Gus in at a discounted rate. I could take him in with me and leave with him. It'd be so great! So I sent a letter of interest and my resume.
I got a call almost immediately and was asked if I could come in the next day to interview. Wendy watched Gus for me and I headed out to a different location for my interview.
Let me say that the woman was super nice and was very impressed with my resume. She commented that I had more education than she did and that I was more than qualified to run the school (I've got my MAEd in Administration and Supervision, my MAEd in K-12 Curriculum and Instruction, and my BS in Elementary Education and I am certified in NC).
She asked me about my teaching philosophy and asked about my career and it was very easy and relaxed. I was offered the job on the spot. It was going so well and we were engaging in casual conversation and the subject of Gus came up.
I found out through my own questions for her, that I'd be required to wear a uniform (khakis and Primrose shirts that I'd have to buy myself but was required to wear... hmmmm). I would have to work on the weekends occasionally and the work day was 7am-7pm. If there was a community event (parade or sponsoring a festival) I'd be required to attend. I'd be working year-round with no breaks except for the week between Christmas and New Year and the building wouldn't be opening until mid-January anyway, so I wouldn't even get that week off.
When she told me how much it'd be for Gus to attend (with my whopping 20% discount) I was shocked. It was like $1800 a month because he was under a year.
Surely with this info, I'd be making a ton of money right? No. She said she couldn't promise how much I'd make, since it'd be up to the owners to decide, but since I had a BS degree, I'd be making the top of the scale-- which was between $12 and $14 an hour.
(INSERT FACE WITH JAW DROPPED HERE)
Then she started asking me some hypothetical questions. Two that I distinctly remember are:
1) Gus is in the office for whatever reason. You are walking by with your class and see him in there. What do you do?
My reply was that I'd go to him and find out what's going on. EEEEEEEEEEEE--- WRONG ANSWER
2) You're on your prep and supposed to be working on lesson plans, you come out of the planning lounge (yes, the only place that you're allowed to lesson plan is in this lounge) and you hear crying. It's Gus. He's sick. What do you do?
My reply was that I'd take him home. EEEEEEEEE--- WRONG ANSWER
She let me know that my priority would need to be my job and that I'd need to ignore him in the first scenario, and call Steve in the second.
NO EFFING WAY. That was it. It was at that exact moment (I still remember the moment of clarity as if it happened yesterday) that I knew I was not going back to work. My top priority was taking care of Gus and making sure that he's raised by someone that loves him, cares about it, teaches him, and raises him to be a good person.
She said she'd love to have me and if I wanted the job, I'd need to come in for a week of "shadowing" another teacher and I would then have to teach for a week and have the owners come in to observe me to make sure I was a good fit.
Um... no. I taught for ten years. Was a mentor teacher for four, was a cooperating teacher for student teachers for two years, was grade chair, on the leadership team, my school's teacher of the year and a semi-finalist for county teacher of the year. Two Master's degrees and a BS... and you want me to be "judged and evaluated for worthiness" to be a daycare provider?!? A job that you don't need anything more than a high school diploma or GED to get? It was the final nail on that coffin and I shook my head, thanked her, and told her that I didn't think it'd be a good fit for me.
I walked out of there a changed woman. I was 100% confident in my conviction of being a SAHM. If I wasn't going to work for pay, I'd put all my effort into being the best SAHM that I could be.
There was too much to gain from staying home and too much to lose from working.
Fast forward three years and I am loving being at home with the boys. Don't get me wrong, there are days that I am so exhausted and just want to sleep the day away, but I have two people that depend on me for everything. So I make each day the best that it can be.
Today is one of those days where I am so thankful to be staying home with the boys. Not only because I love that I don't have any stress in my life (it's amazing what stress-free living does for the soul), but because I am always available for what the boys need.
Hugh needs an appointment for this... I can take him. Gus needs to go here for that... I can take him. We've got a MOMS Club thing at this time, sure! Let's go! It's awesome to just be able to go and do and enjoy.
Gus went to school with the rash on his back and neck and I got a call at 9:30am from the nurse that I'd need to come and get him. I called the pediatrician's office and got an 11:50 appointment. Got Hugh and we headed to get Gus. I didn't have to fret about asking permission from someone, I didn't have to stress about someone covering for me while I was gone. I didn't have to worry about what to do about Gus and Hugh after getting him from school. I just went and got him.
I am grateful that I have the luxury of staying home and being here for my boys. I don't have to share the role of mom with a sitter/nanny/daycare provider. It's just me. I'm #1 and I like it that way.
Here are some funny SAHM things that I found online that made me laugh:
In all reality, it's not always easy. In fact, most days it's hard. However, it's worth it. It's hard to never get a break. There are times when Steve comes home from work and the last thing I want to do is make dinner, because I've been dealing with shenanigans all day. Some days I just want to use the bathroom in peace. Some days I want to just got into my room and lay on my bed and take a quick nap, but I don't because I'm terrified that I'll fall into a deep sleep and something horrible will happen while I'm sleeping.
I live for the weekend because I finally get a break. I'm thankful that Steve allows me to sleep in on Saturdays. It's what keeps me going Sunday-Friday.