Tuesday, May 13, 2014

To work... or not to work

In September, my school system was gracious enough to grant me the rest of the school year off work to transition our children into our family In the last month, I have had to decide if I am going back to work or not in the fall.

This decision has proven to be more difficult than I imagined from the beginning. First of all, I love teaching. I love educating and I love working with the Deaf community. On the other hand, my family is my top priority now. 

Returning to work would mean a return to normalcy, a break from parenting and reuniting with my amazing co-workers. It would also mean putting little bit in daycare less than 1 year after joining our family and hiring an after school nanny to watch the kids until I could get home.

Staying home would mean giving up my dream job and tenure. It would also mean being able to be a volunteer at my sons' school and be there to get them everyday after school. I can also keep little bit home another year before school starts. 

As an educated woman in today's society, I feel the need to work to prove my worth. I take a great amount of pride in being a Teacher of the Deaf. I take pride in working. 

We knew that one day, we wanted children and we also shared the desire for me to stay home with them. That was when we thought we would have biological children and that would be a 6-8 year time frame before the youngest would start school. Because we knew that there might be a time when we would live on one income, we have always lived on one income. Little did we know that our path would take us to these amazing children and that time frame for the littlest to start school would be more like 18 months.

When asking my counsel of wise friends, I heard two main themes... "you can always go back and try it, and if it doesn't work out, you can quit", or "you will never get these years back, you can always go back and teach later... stay home". 

If I count the years, I've missed 11, 9, 5 and 3 years of my kids lives... even though it doesn't work like this, if I add them up, that is 28 years of life that I missed out on! Why would I choose to work and miss any more of it? One point for stay home.

I've worked really hard to earn a Vanderbilt degree and even harder to be a good educator and earn tenure. I don't want to just give that up for one year at home. Little bit starts school in the fall of '15. To have to reapply for a job that may or may not be available doesn't seem right. One point for go-back-to-work.

My kids have already had lots of instability in their lives... to have a different person waiting on them when they get home doesn't seem fair. Why should I let someone else have those precious hours fresh home from school? One point for stay home.

If I'm completely honest, even though I secretly want to be a stay at home mom, I don't think I am a very good one. The ingrained belief system I function from is "If I'm not awesome at it, I don't do it.". That system doesn't work very well when you vow to love and raise 4 children. and you think you stink at it.  All this added one point to the go-back-to-work side of the pro-con list.

What to do?  What did you decide when the time came? 

The decision is different for every family. Some families have to be dual-income families. Some families want to be dual-income families. Some single parents don't have the luxury of getting to choose. 

After weeks of praying and counsel, we have decided for me to stay home. I submitted my letter of resignation to be effective May 28th.

The decision was hard and not taken lightly. I do not feel as though I'm taking an easier road, nor do I feel as though I'm taking a harder road. I understand the working mom/dad. I understand the work from home dad/mom. I understand the stay at home mom/dad. I also understand the working woman, desiring nothing more than to have a precious child/children to call her mom. 

I'm praying the next year will be glorifying to God and that I will be a good steward of my family time. I'm grateful for a supportive husband, family and friends. 


  1. RayLene CheatwoodMay 13, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    You know Hannah that you are an awesome Momma and that what your decision was led to your heart by God. Like people say you never get these years back and it will probably do "Little Bit" a whole lot of good! I love you and I am so proud of you!

  2. Hannah - you've hit the nail on the head: there is no "right" answer. The only "right" answer is what you believe in your heart. As a stay-at-home mom for five years, I also felt like I was a terrible mom. I just couldn't seem to enjoy it as much as other mothers seemed to enjoy their time at home. I yearned for the days I could leave the house in a nice dress, talk to grown-ups, and then return to my children in the evening. But like you, I knew that time with my babies was so very precious. So how's a woman to choose? Prayer and gut instinct, my friend. My prayer was simple... when the time came for me to return to work, God would make the phone ring. A simple phone call with a job opportunity on the other end. The childcare solutions came naturally, too. God answered that prayer and the experience has been a guide for how I make parenting decisions ever since. Do your best, love your babies, say your prayers... and wait for God's phone call. The rest will take care of itself.

  3. Michelle ShaunceMay 13, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    So happy for your decision!! No mom feels like they are doing a great job, but we do the best we can. Don't forget that God knew what your kids needed before you ever met them and that was you! You are the best mom for them and that's all that matters! Enjoy your time with them!! You are awesome!

  4. It such a hard decision for every mother. No mom ever feels adequate. No matter which path you choose, there are many days where you would like to be on the other side of the fence. I think you have done an amazing job. Enjoy your time with the kids.