Apr 28, 2011

what would you do if you thought you could?

At Bible study a few night ago, the group leader asked us "What would you do if you thought you could?"  It's kind of a weird question because I think a lot of people don't dwell on things that they consider impossible.  I don't really think much about moving to tropical island because this is an absolute impossibility.  Several people had trouble answering, and others gave some cool things they had thought of doing, but the thing that immediately came to my mind was that I would quit my job and stay home with Cara.

Don't misunderstand me here; I love my job.  I teach American literature, my favorite high school English course.  I love my students, my coworkers, my school, but I often have a nagging guilt that my job takes my attention away from my family.  Teaching is one of those jobs that follows you home.  There's more grading and planning to be done than anyone could accomplish from 8:15 to 3:45.  Cara has been in quite a funk this week, and it occurred to me last night that it could be because I've dropped her off before 8 and picked her up past 5 every day this week.  My husband wished out loud that he worked closer to home, that he could leave work earlier so that he could pick up Cara a few days a week.  I squeezed back a few tears because I feel like that's my role.  I'm the mommy, and I should put my child ahead of my job.  Cara needs her mommy.  (Gosh, those tears are threatening as I type this...)   

When we first found out that I was pregnant, PJ was working in a job that paid pretty well.  He hadn't been  there very long, but we felt comfortable enough to think that I could stay home after the baby was born.  Only a few months into the pregnancy, PJ found out that his entire department was going to be laid off.  Thank you, recession.  We were so stressed about the entire situation, and obviously, I couldn't quit my job.  God held us in His hands though.  PJ was able to stay home with Cara until she was four months old, and then he went back to work.  The thing about job loss is that you never really feel secure again.  If I quit my teaching job and then PJ lost his job again, I might not be able to get my job back.  The economy is taking a huge toll on school districts, and I am thankful that I will continue to have my job next year. 

It's not like I think staying home would be easier than what I'm doing now, and honestly, I'm not sure it would be any better than our current situation.  Cara's school is fantastic, and she has learned so much there.  Missionaries just know they are called to the field, and I know that I am called to teach.  I do derive a sense of purpose from teaching, and I have a peace about it.  I have to confess that I don't feel particularly called to stay home; it's more a selfish desire.  Maybe I wish that I could stay home to silence my own guilt or because I think it's what all the "good" mothers do.  I sometimes feel like I'm on a hamster wheel, never moving forward or catching up, just barely making it, and I wonder if staying home would allow me to step off.  I suppose I would step right into another one, the SAHM wheel...

I know that God puts us where He wants us, and I think the lesson for me is about contentment and trust.  I need to trust that God has a purpose for me right here, and I need to be content with what I have been given.

19 comments:

  1. He has got you right where you need to be. He's good like that. :) And sounds like He has provided people to love on your little one, and what a blessing for her to be loved and taught by lots of people!! I pray for God to speak to you about all this and give you complete peace! Youre a great mama!!

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  2. Thank you, Sarah! Getting all of this out of my head definitely increased the peace. :-)

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  3. I didn't stay home as a mom until my third baby was on his way, so I totally get where you're coming from. If you still have a job to go to and your family needs that, then you know you're in the right place :)

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  4. We need to learn to be content with the place God has us right now. But sometimes that is easier said than done. I want/need to learn the same lessons - contentment and trust.

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  5. Teaching is absolutely a job that comes home with you and you can't just leave it at the door. That must be so hard for you to feel so torn. But you're right; great teachers are so hard to find (and get burned out so quickly) that you are making a huge difference right where you are. And Cara will learn to be more independent and more social than my kids will ever be, and I sometimes yearn for adult conversation. There are plusses and minuses to every situation; it's great that you can see both sides. You're doing a great job!

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  6. Aw friend you have ME in tears. This is such a sensitive subject to my heart. Love u friend!!!! Hugs! Xoxo

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  7. Hello Jessica....I know it's not easy right now with your girl being so little...but can I give you just a little perspective :)...I too am a teacher and have walked this road. I am so grateful that now (with my kids much older) we get to spend the holidays together - every school holiday! While I remember how hard it was when they were little - they don't!...nope, not one bit. We have made great holidays memories...we have planned together, dreamed together and made new family traditions together. Smile Lovely....the future is full of hope and promise. x

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  8. What a great post...and yes, a very touchy topic. I'm glad you have a job you enjoy...and some security with it. It's good to know that God has a plan for you and your family.

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  9. God Bless

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  10. wow, emotional. I think many of us struggle with trust and contentment. I can tell by your writing the amazing love you have for your daughter, hang in there!

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  11. This is something that I could have written when I returned to teaching after my 1st son was born. I was heart broken about going back to work. He was in good hands and was fine. I now stay home with my 3 boys and think about going back to teaching. It is hard to find 100% peace either way. I get the whole "good" mom thing too. Just the fact that you are so torn over your feelings demonstrates what a loving and devoted mama you are!

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  12. You are not just raising Cara (and doing a great job) you are helping to raise dozens more children with your teaching. Some who have no one to care about them as you do your Cara. She is in good hands and you are making a great difference in the lives of your students. Teaching is not a profession, it is a calling and you have answered God's call for your life. Contnue to listen to Him and follow His call. You and PJ are great parents and Cara is a blessed, happy, child. You can see it in her actions. Love you all. Bitsy

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  13. being content is hard to keep a handle on. so much is being thrown in our faces daily! hang in there and trust the Lord. HE will guide you.
    sending you a hug!

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  14. I think you touched a lot of hearts with this one, Jessica. Like you, I'm a high school teacher with a toddler who has sometimes wondered if I'm a "bad mom" because I work.

    Child, please. My kid is happy, my family is happy, I love my job, my job loves me, and that's the way God wants my family right now. Is it easy? No, but what is? Stay-at-home moms don't consider their lives "easy."

    The last thing I'll do is question Him. You said it right: He puts us where He wants us.

    I personally love what I do and love that I'm not just "mommy." Nothing wrong with that -- let me be clear -- but it's just not me.

    Will I ever have the desire to stay home? Who knows? Only He. All I know is I'm right where He wants me to be, and that brings me peace like no other.

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  15. @Gerri: I seriously love you. You said all the things that I think on *most* days. You are so right, and I needed hear all of this. :-)

    Thanks to everyone for the sweet and encouraging comments. You are all such a blessing to me!

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  16. i love your trust in the LORD! this was great to read because i'm going to be a teacher in a few years {hopefully...economy} but i just REALLY want to be a stay at home mom with my kids when i get married..touchy subject. you rock.

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  17. I can't put myself in your shoes exactly, but I can imagine how difficult it must be! Coming from the other end of the spectrum, I, too, doubt the choices I make. Sometimes I feel that Ben would be better suited in a great daycare and me, back at work. Sometimes I feel that I would be a better mommy if I wasn't missing the "purpose" I felt I had at work. On days when my patience is waning and I realize how far behind Ben is in the verbal department, I really do question my abilities as a SAHM.

    Ah, it's just unavoidable! No matter what choice we make, we will always wonder if it's the right one, and I love how much you trust that God has put you right where he wants you! You're making a difference in SO MANY kids' lives! It's awesome, Jessica.

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  18. I agree with Katie - there will never be 100% peace either way. I always knew what my choice would be and it was the right one for me, but on a hard day sometimes I fantasize about the other side of the fence. And when I was on mat leave, I dreamed about going back to work. It's a balancing act we just have to come to terms with.

    Visiting from the red dress club :)

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  19. I don't think there's anything selfish about wanting to stay at home to raise kids. I also don't believe that every working mom is selfish either!

    This is such a great question. You've really got me thinking now.

    Visiting from TRDC!

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