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Old 07-09-2010, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, this is long!

I am seriously considering not going back to work in the fall and am wondering if this desire to stay home with my daughter is temporary and acting upon it might lead to disastrous consequences. (I did apply for an extension of my maternity leave through Jan. 1, 2011, but even if that works out, I am considering staying at home.)

My husband makes enough to support us, but it will definitely necessitate lifestyle changes for us....and neither of us are sure HOW our lives will change since we've both always worked (we do have rental property income potential). On top of that, I am not a tenured teacher. If I go back in the fall, make it through one more year, I'll be tenured and have a permanent job...a job that will be great once my kid(s) are in school. We also use my health benefits, and while my husband has a great job and benefits we could take advantage of, his job doesn't carry the promise of permanency.

But the thought of leaving my (almost) three month old daughter with someone else and missing her formative years makes me feel nauseous in a way that I never anticipated when i was pregnant. I figured 4 and a half months home with her would be enough. HAHA!! The thought of returning to a very demanding profession--to which I devoted many hours of time outside of the regular school day--makes me nauseous. I am not a workaholic but I took my job seriously and HAD to put in all that extra time just to be a decent teacher and to stay afloat. So, I seriously question my ability to balance work and family life without a breakdown. I know when I get home I will want to be all about my daughter and will resent the amount of time that my job is taking away from me and my family.

Reasons to go back to work: possibly permanent job that is very family-friendly; awesome schedule once your kids are in school; work is 10 minute drive from home; extra income; great benefits; just finished my master's and SHOULD be putting it to use! (although the $400 raise is nothing to write home about); my husband is much more helpful with the domestic tasks when we are both working (that being said, I don't mind doing more around the house now because at this point in my life as a mom, his job IS much more demanding and less rewarding than mine) so we'll be struggling TOGETHER

Reasons to stay home: being there for my daughter and possibly future child; we CAN manage it financially, but it will be stressful in ways we don't even know yet; teaching is exhausting and takes up a lot of time after work and on weekends; if I wanted to go back, special ed teachers are always in demand.

The funny thing is, if I found out today that I would never teach again, I wouldn't be upset AT ALL. Don't get me wrong--I love the kids. I just hate the planning and paperwork and high-stakes testing and ever-increasing expectations and demands on both students and teachers...and the thought of doing it for the next 25 years! And the crazy thing now is that I love my baby and motherhood so much that I am thinking about becoming a lactation consultant (which I know is a long and arduous road), a doula....anything to keep me in the magical and hopeful world of babies and breastfeeding.

My mother (who was/is NOT a baby person, although she is a wonderful person) says this is a phase that will pass and before I know it, I'll WANT the regular company of adults and want to go back to work.

Any insight? DH would love for me to stay home, but is torn about me leaving a relatively good job, and is of course very nervous about us continuing to live on one income for several more years.
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Old 07-09-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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I have two thing to say:

Being in NJ(I'm in NJ): Things are changing so much that not be tenured may be a problem. If that is not a problem for you......

I was a teacher in NJ: I love staying home. Personal I will never go back into education. Right now I'm unschooling my 2 boys and loving it!!!!! We did have to cut back on a lot of "things" BUT I don't see my life anyother way.

I could say more but my toddler is in the way. Hope that helps.
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:03 PM
 
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Your feelings will likely change. I am also a teacher so I totally know what you mean about the extra hours. I moved when my son was 2 months old so I did not have to make a choice at that time...I was just an unemployed sahm; but I couldn't imagine not being with my son 24/7. That feeling passed when he was about 9-10 months old, and now that he is a year I am longing to go back to work, but have not been able to find a job in this economy.

I teach high school history so its pretty brain-intensive. Staying at home with my son I am so bored I am going batsh!t crazy.

Seriously...don't quit your job. Its not about the money, but about the sanity and self worth.
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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I stayed home for 15 months after the birth of my twins. At some point I had entertained the thought of staying at home forever but by the time they were 15 months I was desperate for adult company and having some time to myself and a life outside of being mama.

BUT -- I know lots of people who are SAHMs and they love it and wouldn't go back to work for anything. I guess it depends on yourself.

So in your shoes I would postpone things as long as possible and see how you feel when you can no longer postpone.

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Old 07-09-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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Follow your mothering heart!
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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I'm in a state where there is no such animal as a tenured public school teacher

That said: I am an English teacher. I quit work after my oldest (now 10) was born. I worked halftime positions here and there and worked for Pearson at home. It was fine; but in my heart I really, really missed teaching. I missed the feeling of being out in the wider world and doing some good. I missed the adult interaction. I missed the interaction with the students. I LOVE teaching and wanted to get back in.

The situation in my state is that there are many, many more applicants than there are teaching positions; and the longer a teacher stays out, the more difficult it is to get back into a school system. That's something you really need to think about -- if you position is gone because you don't have tenure (and as I said, no one here is tenured -- at most we get a three-year contract -- so I don't know exactly how it works), and it ends up that you have to go back to work for any reason (or that you want to), do you have a skill set or some connections that will make it easier to find work other than teaching?

I'm going back after 10 years of NOT working fulltime (I have been teaching off and on -- but not fulltime) and there were more than 150 applicants for the position I got. It's a hard, hard market. I did add some teaching endorsements while I've been "out" and I did a lot of volunteer work with a local organization, which made me more marketable.

I do NOT regret the time I spent raising my family (and there is another one on the way -- but I have committed to building the AP program at my school so I will be returning in 2011 after my leave). Not ONE bit. Yes, we had to make some lifestyle changes. It's made us a more frugal family, which is terrific. What I never could have foreseen is how difficult it would be to acquire a job after being out of the market for so long -- and if I had known that, I might have chosen to go back sooner. I would have still stayed at home for the first year with all of my LOs, but certainly not for a decade.

Joy, mama to Aquaboy (10), Goldilocks (8), Squidge (4)
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:07 PM
 
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I loved teaching. It was something that truly fulfilled my soul. I have now been home for 2.5 years. I'm really happy at home. Given my experiences as a teacher there is no way I am putting my children into public school and I am not particularly interested in private schools for a wide variety of reasons I won't get into here. I am home for the long haul because as much as I love teaching 150+ kids a year it is more important to me to teach *my* children.

But I do miss it fiercely. I was very good at it and I did a lot of good for a lot of kids.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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Old 07-09-2010, 10:53 PM
 
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I was in your same boat! My DS was born the Monday after Spring break and I spent the rest of the year on maternity leave. I was freaking out all summer (about having to leave my infant with a sitter), but decided to go back for at least one more year. I wanted to have a few years at the same school (I had changed schools several times in the past several years).

After that year I decided to stay home. At that time I had expereinced both worlds (home and work) and decided I wanted to be home. I am not too upset about missing those 9 months. For the most part your baby is not doing much durring the day that first year while you are gone, but eat, sleep, and a little play. Now that my DS is 3, I love (most of the time ) spendning my days with him and playing and learning together.

Also, we were also able to get a nanny to come to our home every day. She cost us less then it would have to go to a nantional child care center and my DS was able to nap in his own bed and I knew what he was eating. It might be something you want to look into.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:19 AM
 
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I loved teaching and was a devoted teacher but I didn't return to my teaching job after I had DD1 and haven't looked back! That was 5 years ago. Like you, I had to put in many hours (there were many nights that I stayed until the janitors ran me out of the building at 8:00 pm) just to keep up with the workload. I just couldn't sacrifice what I felt was the most important time in my child's life for the stress and demands of my job. Being a SAHM isn't always easy and infact, many of my teacher friends went back to work because they couldn't handle the demands of being a SAHM but I have no regrets. In the beginning, I missed my students so much and I still think of them often but I knew there was no way that I could leave my DD with anyone. This phase hasn't pass for me, I love being home and have no regrets!
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you guys, these are all really great perspectives to take into consideration. Having been a nanny for two years (to two toddlers) after I dropped out of college for a bit, I feel I have somewhat of an idea of what our days could be like staying at home. If they are anything like what I remember, I'm okay with it!

I did know plenty of people in my five years in education who were perfectly content being mediocre and doing the bare minimum just to keep themselves out of trouble (many didn't bother trying to keep out of trouble, but that's the beauty of tenure!), but I couldn't live with myself being that kind of teacher and letting kids down like that. I'm not making myself out to be some kind of superhero in the classroom, but the kids are the reason for everything and I worked with plenty of people who seemed like they were just collecting a paycheck. NOT most teachers, but enough to make you wonder (also the reason I will probably have another crisis when it comes time to make schooling decisions! public schools=scary...even the good ones!). In my experience, making a committment to always do right by your students, especially in spite of all the odds stacked against them, is REALLY EXHAUSTING. I can't even imagine how I could manage to be a good mom and a good teacher at the same time!


Who knows what the job market will be like once our governor is out of office---it will probably be worse, but that may be the chance I take.
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Old 07-10-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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Everyone is different, but for me, doing my best as a teacher was exhausting. At the time I loved it, but looking back, there's no way I could spend the time planning and grading and still have time for my family. I was a high school teacher too and I don't have a problem keeping mentally active, but I'm still nursing so I'm able to spend a lot of time reading, lol. Seriously, though, my youngest is 2 and I have my mom groups, volunteer stuff, family, and friends so it isn't like I'm sitting at home reading Dr. Seuss and playing Candy Land all day. (Thank God!!!!!)

I'll go back to work at some point, but I don't see myself ever teaching again. It took too much out of me emotionally, what w/ testing pressure, admin politics, worrying about my students, etc. I quit 6 years ago and all my former co-workers make it sound like it's only gotten worse, not better. When I was single/newly married I didn't mind a job that took up so much of my time and energy, but now I don't feel like I have that much extra to go around. I think that's why there are so many of "those" teachers--it's unfortunate you almost have to martyr yourself to be successful in the system.

Those of you who have the energy/creativity/commitment to teach our children as well as your own, you're my heroes!
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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newbymom, you are echoing all the thoughts nagging at me right now! I worked up til my due date (but didn't deliver til two weeks later) and even though I had a pretty easy pregnancy, by the end I was already beginning to feel in awe of women who are able to balance a career and family. Just being pregnant was making it difficult for me to focus the necessary energy on my job, and now that my daughter is here, I don't know how I'd manage if I had to work. i guess you do what you have to. Just like my friends who had to go back to work after six weeks and my friends who have had twins, you play the hand your dealt!
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Old 07-11-2010, 03:37 AM
 
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I left teaching high school English after 6 years to be a SAHM and I do not miss it for one iota. There is no way I personally could devote enough energy to be both a good teacher and a good mom, and I was not about to let the mom aspect slide. I have been doing some adjunct work at the community college, which I really love. I will do anything in my power to avoid going back to a high school position!

eta WOW I should have read all the responses--looks like I have some clones on this thread! Awesome!

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Old 07-11-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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I was a college prof and left to SAH. DH is a public school teacher. Personally I couldn't have happily managed the stress and time pressures of a job and still been the kind of parent I want to be. Both things would have suffered and no one in my house would have been happy.

We've made sacrifices for me to SAH but it's been well worth it. LIfe is not perfect - I do get bored and am still working on building a supportive community for myself. But I know this is the best choice for us. I plan to stay home forever if I can

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Old 07-11-2010, 07:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by newbymom05 View Post
Everyone is different, but for me, doing my best as a teacher was exhausting. At the time I loved it, but looking back, there's no way I could spend the time planning and grading and still have time for my family. ......
This. I taught for 14 years (middle school, English teacher; I also taught art as an enrichment), & quit when my first DD came along. Besides the fact that daycare for 2 infants (my girls are 14 months apart) in this area would have pretty much eaten up my salary anyhow, I would not have had the time/energy to do both a good job as a teacher, & a good job as a parent. All of the planning, grading stacks of papers, workshops, parent meetings - I don't know how other people do it! Plus, I'd decided I wanted to homeschool when I became a parent. Sometimes I miss the fact that I had breaks & "time off" when I had a job outside the home - parenting really is 24/7 - but it's becoming easier now that my DDs are moving out of toddlerhood, & I'm looking forward to pursuing some earlier dreams of doing something in the publishing & art fields, from home.

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Old 07-11-2010, 07:22 PM
 
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I've been in and out of education for my whole career (and have a PhD) and I stayed home with my kids for seven years.
My kids are now 6 and 8. And let me tell you my experience (as of course it is different for every person)...today I went outside to water the plants and looked down at two stepping stones that the kids and I made together one rainy day--they each pressed their hands down in the their own little concrete pie...and I noticed how tiny their hands were and then I looked at the date we etched into each stone: 2006. 2006 seems just like yesterday to me--and I suddenly fast-forwarded in my mind to this last year when I returned to work for the first time full time--the rushing in the morning, the rushing in the evenings--the weekends used for errands and catching up. And I just stood there. The hours the kids have spent in front of the TV because I've been too exhausted to do much of anything. I think it may have been the first time I TRULY took note of the days that have passed so quickly this last year. Of course they both are in school now--but as I look back, I wouldn't have traded that time for anything--things were so nice--sometimes I was bored to death--but I found creative outlets for my energy--I ran marathons, I met people on-line and in real life, I actually did things I never thought I'd ever do--I attended a class free at the library on how to make a Christmas wreath.
Again, every one is different--and who knows if my kids will really benefit in the end of this life--but I know *I* did--and though it may sound selfish, I'm glad I did it for me. I don't regret one minute. And knowing what I know now, at the end of it with a year of work back under my belt after all those years at home--I'd do it again--although this time I WOULDN'T compare myself to the neighbor women who did work and I wouldn't feel guilty or like I wasn't doing something spectacular. Shame on me for not appreciating it as much as I should have. Hindsight is 20/20.
Again--these comments are only MY experience--I can only speak for ME--I just wanted to share my experiences and how SAH was for me. Other moms, again, will feel differently or may not be able to really afford to do it. We do the best we can in every circumstance.
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Old 07-11-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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I left teaching (and a potential promotion to my dream job) to be a SAHM.

Do I miss the adult interaction? Yes. Do I miss the reward of helping students who need an inspiring teacher? Yes. Would I ever leave my DD to go back to it? Not a chance.

Teaching is more than a full time job and being a mom is more than a full time job. I don't think there's any way that I could have done both well. I also can't imagine dropping my DD off somewhere for someone else to raise her during the day. I want to be the primary influence in her life, and I don't see how I could do that if I wasn't also the one spending the most time with her during her formative years.

I hope you are able to come to a decision that is right for you and your kiddos.

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Old 07-29-2010, 03:44 AM
 
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It seems like you are pretty sure about your decision already. But just to make sure, I would say take that extra maternity leave until next January. That will give you enough to time to spend with your baby and really make sure you want to quit. I personally decided to give myself a 5 year maternity leave (which I think only makes sense!) and quit my job but I do plan on going back to work later on. Sure it will be to a different job but hey.

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Old 07-29-2010, 06:34 AM
 
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I loved being with my kids so much, I knew as soon as my first was born, there was no way I could leave her. I did try going back one day a week when she was 14 months old, but I missed her so much! Since then I have never gone back to work..lol....and she is now 18, and I have 2 other children aged 16 and 8...have been a SAHM all this time, but I do some work out of home now as well. I know that it was definitely right for us, and my children are very happy and secure.

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Old 07-29-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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It seems like you are pretty sure about your decision already. But just to make sure, I would say take that extra maternity leave until next January. That will give you enough to time to spend with your baby and really make sure you want to quit. I personally decided to give myself a 5 year maternity leave (which I think only makes sense!) and quit my job but I do plan on going back to work later on. Sure it will be to a different job but hey.
I love your siggy.

I left the workforce 12 years ago to gestate and stay home with my children and I do not think I will return until the kids are close to college age. It is worth it, I believe.
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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I went back part-time which worked pretty well. I worked two days a week -- one day I taught music and one day I shared with a teaching partner. Here it's really common for teachers to work part-time and there are lots of classes with two teachers. I don't think I would have ever managed teaching full-time so it was great to have the part-time option.

I will say that I'm not as good of a teacher now as I was before my daughter was born. I wing it a lot more. I don't have the time to search out the best resources or spend planning great projects. Teachers here get moved around a lot, too, so I can't count on reusing anything. It hurts me to know that I could do a better job and I'm not doing it. I find that I can't be the kind of mother I want to be and the kind of teacher I want -- at least not at this stage with a toddler and one on the way (if you want another I have to warn that being pregnant, teaching part-time, and taking care of my toddler was the most exhausting marathon ever).

We have a year-long maternity leave here in Canada and I loved every. single. minute of it. My next baby is due in September and I might just take advantage of the extra year (or two) the the school district gives us unpaid after our regular maternity leave is up. With two in childcare I'll be making next to nothing anyway. Or I might not go back at all, though for a lot of the same reasons you have I hesitate with that decision.

I can't advise you, but I can sympathize. Even with a humane maternity leave policy I still struggle with this decision.
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:34 PM
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You're going to get a lot of sah given the forum you're in. For me, it depends what tenure gets you? I teach university and tenure is hard to get so a year away sounds fab to me, esp since you carry the health care.
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Old 08-03-2010, 01:42 AM
 
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I have two thing to say:

Being in NJ(I'm in NJ): Things are changing so much that not be tenured may be a problem. If that is not a problem for you......

I was a teacher in NJ: I love staying home. Personal I will never go back into education. Right now I'm unschooling my 2 boys and loving it!!!!! We did have to cut back on a lot of "things" BUT I don't see my life anyother way.

I could say more but my toddler is in the way. Hope that helps.
(I taught high school in NJ--in a great district at that) And we are recent converts to unschooling. I just finished my Master's and I have to tell you that every class brought me closer to not going back. Seeing how our public policy and systems kind of work directly in contrast to the research was nauseating... especially when you consider the problems we are fraught with. I don't care if you're going to go against research... IF IT WORKS! But working in the paradox was frustrating... and cemented my decision to homeschool. So much so that we REALLY stretched the budget to afford life insurance for dh to allow me to be home even if something happens to him.


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Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
I loved teaching. It was something that truly fulfilled my soul. I have now been home for 2.5 years. I'm really happy at home. Given my experiences as a teacher there is no way I am putting my children into public school and I am not particularly interested in private schools for a wide variety of reasons I won't get into here. I am home for the long haul because as much as I love teaching 150+ kids a year it is more important to me to teach *my* children.

But I do miss it fiercely. I was very good at it and I did a lot of good for a lot of kids.
Yes, yes, and YES.

That being said, being home was a wicked adjustment for me. Before teaching, I was in technology management and project management. Can you say "42 plates in the air at all times"? And then I was home and couldn't manage to get dinner made and laundry done. I was crazy busy, but in ways that people didn't really recognize or respect as valuable or busy--ya know? There was no immediate feedback like corporate or like when you connect with your students. I think I had worked for so long that I didn't know how to place value on things that society didn't really place value on. I unknowingly defined myself by things that mainstream society valued. My values are insanely different now and it makes being home much easier; but my oldest is 6yo and it was a difficult process.

I. DO. NOT. REGRET IT! But I'm just putting it out there in case you go through that and think you made a bad decision. I think it was the best decision I ever made in my life. Not just because I was home for my child, but because I like the person I am and the values I hold a lot better than the person I was (which wasn't BAD, just a bit less enlightened )


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there's no way I could spend the time planning and grading and still have time for my family.
And this. No possible way. Granted, in my district to teach my classes (business and computers) nobody's exactly holding my feet to the testing standards. But teaching the way I could get away with was not the teacher I could be an look at myself in the mirror each morning.

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