Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Going Back

If you ask my husband, he'll say that me going back to work-full time/as a teacher/not just a sub-has been a long time coming. If you ask me, it's something I thought not too long ago, and even hoped at times, may never happen. #oppositesattract #mostofthetime

When we had Garrison and planned for me to stay home, Terrell thought of the decision as temporary whereas I fell in love and hoped it might last forever. Obviously we weren't quite on the same page. Ha. Or maybe I was just in a teensy bit of denial. Raising babies, being home, serving my family, running the errands, taking care of the appointments, even cooking and cleaning were all my dream. Far from easy lots of days, but definitely my place, my heart, my calling. My staying home years have probably been the most stress free of my life. And as Garrison grew, Terrell's eyes were really opened and he truly saw the value of me being home. So together we committed to have me home as much as possible for all of our kiddos. What we did for one, we wanted to do for all. It became our primary goal.

So over the years I sold Premier, taught preschool, kept a teacher's baby, and, most recently, started tutoring while staying home. And every single one of those jobs were a blessing to us and our family. They weren't perfect, as nothing is, and they came with challenges now and then, but they helped us reach our goal and somehow, through numerous sacrifices and financial strain, we made it. God's provisions were always just what we needed. 

Even still, almost every August, we would revisit our financial situation and Terrell would always bring up me teaching full time again at some point in the future. And every time it was a sore subject. I just wasn't interested. I was okay with barely getting by because to me it was more than worth it and something I absolutely loved. In other words, I didn't feel deprived or stressed or see any reason why we couldn't continue doing what we were doing and living the way we were living. But, Terrell is our money expert and financial planner. He was the one under a ton of pressure and working tirelessly to figure out how to keep me home. So it was always near the forefront of his mind.

I think I knew deep down we couldn't survive financially this way forever, so I started to become reeeally sensitive to the back to work topic and started having a fear of "going back". I didn't feel like I'd ever be ready or that I was capable of being both a good mom and a good teacher. It even became an issue in our marriage because any time Terrell mentioned me going back to work (in passing, joking around, or during a serious conversation), I felt so much anxiety and insecurity I believed I wasn't good enough for him just being a stay at home mom and that he saw my value in a paycheck. It was twisted but a very real fear for me. Terrell reassured me the best he could and made it clear he wanted me home until our last baby was heading to school, but he had fears too... financial, provisional fears. It was a bumpy road at times. We both knew and believed it was without a doubt worth it, but that didn't mean it was always wonderful and easy.

So we compromised, did our best, stressed, fought, cried, and prayed. Then we eventually moved back to Bville, and a year after moving, found and purchased our forever home. 

And that may have been the turning point for me. 

We were finally settled and where we wanted to be. We were furnishing our new home, attempting some room make-overs, making plans for a pool, and starry-eyed and dreamy about the future. At least I was. Until I realized we were in a bit of a predicament. A pretty big one in fact....called not enough income. I finally knew and fully understood that we couldn't continue on one full time income alone. My sweet husband carefully and gently brought up the sensitive subject once again and God gave me the grace to accept reality. I wasn't happy about it but I knew I had to do more and that it would be okay. I finally got it and just knew. That doesn't mean I didn't struggle with the thought of working, but I knew and accepted that it was time.

So we made plans for me to tutor while also looking for a part time job and felt pretty confident this was what God had planned for us. I was so hopeful, excited, and thankful. Because Plan A still meant working part time and working from home.... and hopefully, eventually working from home more permanently.This plan had to be it! It was close to perfect and would work out best for everyone. This was it!

Until God made it clear this wasn't His plan at all. It may have been ours but it wasn't His. A job opportunity fell through that we were really counting on and hoping for, annnd I only had 1 student to tutor.... which meant we had to move on to Plan B, or in my mind, Plan Z

Our back up plan all along was for me to become a substitute teacher.... which was just about the only other job that was part time, paid decent (for a certified teacher at least), and would work for our family. I was super anxious and basically went in kicking and screaming. I definitely didn't have the best attitude. I was stressed about leaving Layton all day, stressed about working all day and being back in the classroom, and panicky about how it would effect me as a mom and our family life in general. It was my last choice and I was losing sleep over it.... wrestling with fear and nerves and emotions big time.

And then in September I was asked to sub for a 2nd grade class (my former grade level) for a sweet teacher and wonderful group of students. I worked for this teacher and class 3 days in a row and was totally exhausted and wiped out..........but I had the best experience! Everything came back to me and I truly, honestly enjoyed it. God's plans are so specific to each of us! He placed me right where I needed to be as I made the big return and I'm soo thankful for that great first impression and confidence booster He gave me in that particular class.

Throughout the Fall I started subbing more regularly and it was a huge blessing for our family. It wasn't every single day, which was part of the blessing, it was providing some of what we needed financially, and it was really giving me a great preview of teaching again. There were some adjustments along the way but the experience was priceless. I loved subbing in different grade levels and gaining insight into each age group, each curriculum, and so many precious kiddos. I also enjoyed subbing for my own kids' classes (such a cool opportunity!) and really enjoyed PreK more and more. It was a great experience all around .... so much so that before I knew it, I'd offered to be a long term sub for a pregnant Kindergarten teacher who was having her baby in March and taking off the remainder of the school year. #couldhardlybelieveitmyself

I knew it would be a huge task to take on, but I also knew we needed the income and that it was temporary. I felt both hopeful and nervous. I remember calling Terrell the day I was officially offered the "position" and crying. Haha. I was so excited (and relieved) about the opportunity but also freaking out just a little. Or maybe a lot. I had my heart set on it and my hopes up, but then had that uh oh feeling once I realized it was becoming reality and actually going to happen.

But God knew what He was doing, as He always does.

I ended up loving teaching Kindergarten! I had a great experience from the start and enjoyed it so much I even began to feel a longing to teach again full time. Not only as a financial means/benefit, although that was a huge part of it, but also as a heart-longing. Kindergarten was awesome and I felt the tug to become a teacher again pretty quickly. Of course working full time during baseball season was like the most exhausting and draining thing ever. The weeks were super long and there were times I didn't know if I could keep up the pace. I experienced mom guilt and struggled with the adjustment and exhaustion big time. Our schedule was pure craziness and took it's toll on all of us. Especially mama. But we wrapped up baseball, summer inched closer, and I could finally breathe again. Plus I continued to love teaching. And as things started to wind down, my hopes of getting a full time position grew. By leaps and bounds. It was amazing how God had changed my heart and opened my eyes through subbing and my love of my new role and class. My husband can attest to the fact that my change of heart was pretty dramatic. It was a slow process at first and then crazy fast and unexpected! Terrell had been praying for this for a while. Haha. 

The news of a PreK opening came the very last week of school. PreK!!! The position I had originally hoped and prayed for all along!! I loved Kindergarten a LOT, but I'd always said that I would want to start in PreK if possible. I fell in love with Austin's PreK teachers and all the fun his class had while learning a ton. The more I learned about PreK, the more I loved. I knew it would be a great fit for me and God's hand was in every detail. 

So I applied for the position as soon as it was posted. My interview was in early June and I was offered the job later that week. I was ecstatic!! Excited, thrilled, relieved, and over the moon! Still am. =) After a crazy school year for us with all of my ups and downs, plus financial hurdles and burdens, this was the best news. An answered prayer above and beyond what we were expecting! God's faithfulness, timing, and perfect plan have been all over EVERY. SINGLE. STEP. of me going back to work. I doubt I would have had this opportunity at all if it weren't for doors closing and me becoming a sub. And I wouldn't have wanted the opportunity had I not been a sub and had my eyes open again to my love of teaching! His plan is perfect. I resisted, I was afraid, and I rarely had a good attitude, but He was faithful and good to me still

While I'm definitely a tad nervous about this new adventure and know that we'll face our challenges with me working full time for the entire school year, and the foreseeable future, I am confident that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. 

I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1

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