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.