I walked out of my classroom for the last time today.

I walked out of my classroom for the last time today.

4 Classroom Reveal

It was the hardest and easiest thing I’ve ever done all wrapped up in one… but, let me back up.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I has a baby girl in April.

Lily

Last year was probably my favorite year of teaching ever. I was in a brand new, amazing school with great staff and I had an exceptional class. I was also in 2nd grade after years of teaching first. I think I was amazed at my students’ independence level daily, and they were just the sweetest bunch.

I was so stressed about leaving them when I went on maternity leave in late April. They had made huge gains, and I wanted to make sure they continued to grow. I thought I’d spend the whole rest of the school year worrying about them. Other teachers kept telling me that the second I was holding my baby, I wouldn’t be worrying about my students one bit.

I thought that was impossible. My students were my life, and I spent almost every waking minute, and even many sleeping minutes thinking about school, teaching, lessons, my kids.

39 Weeks

And then on April 21st, 2014, I sat in a hospital room exhausted, looking like a truck ran me over, holding a beautiful baby girl, and happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life.

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Nothing prepares you for the love you’ll feel for your child. Nothing. I thought that was so cliche when people told me things like that before I was a mom, but it is so, so true.

I didn’t forget all about my students, and I did wonder about them and hope they were growing, but it definitely wasn’t my top priority. I had 4 gloriously exhausting months home with my daughter because of the timing of her birth and summer break. Before I had her, I thought it’d be enough time. I thought maybe I’d be ready to go back, and get back to my passion.

It wasn’t and I wasn’t.

The last month of summer break, at least once a day, I would sit rocking my sleeping daughter and cry. How could I leave her? How?

August came and I spent a week setting up my room, prepping for those first few days, and trying to mentally prepare myself for spending 10 hours a day away from my baby when I had never been away for more than 2.

The first PD day was torture, and even more upsetting when I picked up my daughter from the sitters and found out she didn’t eat all day. The next day was the same, and I wasn’t sure I could handle it. School started, and the insanity of the first few weeks of school ensued… procedures, getting to know each other, new programs, assessments, procedures, procedures. But, on top of the usual beginning of the year craziness, I added pumping every lunch and prep, sleepless nights with a baby who refused to eat much during the day, and the anxiety and guilt of being away from my child.

It did get easier over time.

She began eating a little more, my firsties started learning procedures, I started drinking way more coffee and learning to function with little sleep, I stopped blogging, and things settled a bit.

But, I wasn’t happy. I didn’t have the time, energy, or ability to put into my classroom like I did before, and I was also missing so much of my daughter growing up. It felt like I was a rope in a tug-o-war game. On one side, my students, on the other side my daughter. I just felt like I couldn’t win no matter who I focused my attention on.

I wasn’t sure what do to because teaching has defined me for most of my adult life, and it’s something I love… but I love my daughter more.

Financially, though, I needed to earn some income, so I felt stuck until one Sunday in church. My pastor was discussing some church news and mentioned that they needed a new, part-time Director of Children’s Ministries. I thought to myself, “I wish I could do that.” but knew thought there was no way that would work financially. Just at that moment, my husband leaned over and said I should look in to it. So, I did. I met with my pastors, and they agreed that I would be a great fit for the position. They offered it to me very quickly after meeting.

After discussing, praying, and really thinking, I decided to take it.

60 days later, here I am. A teacher without a classroom.

It’s such a bitter sweet feeling. I mean, obviously, I love my daughter and I’m thrilled, absolutely thrilled, that I am blessed in a way that I can work from home and spend so much more time with her. That’s what made this decision easy. I look into her face and see how much she’s already changed in the 8 months she’s been in my life, and I know that I’m making the right decision for my family, but walking out of my classroom today, I couldn’t help but pause and feel like I’m leaving a part of myself behind. As my sweet students hugged me as they left today, they each took a little piece of my heart with them. I will miss them. I will miss my classroom. I will miss their a-ha moments, their sweet, silly comments, even those behaviors that are oh so frustrating at times because that’s what teaching is all about.

I will miss all of it, but I won’t be missing my daughter grow up, and that was ultimately the deciding factor in this decision.

In my new role, I’ll still be working with kids, choosing curriculum, planning children’s events, and teaching often, but I’ll be working mostly from home and won’t miss a second of my baby girl’s childhood. As much as I love teaching, and as much as I’ll miss my students, I am 100% happy with my decision, and am thrilled that we can pinch our pennies a bit and make it work.

I’ll still be creating, blogging, and sharing ideas because it’s what I love to do, and one day I believe I’ll be back in the classroom, but for now?

I’m to soak up this amazing time in my little one’s life as much as I can because they’re only little once.

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Primary Paradise

Primary Paradise

I have always had a passion for teaching and sharing with others and look forward to sharing my ideas with you!

50 Comments

  • Eva
    December 23, 2014 4:47 pm

    Congrats! It will be one of the best decisions you have ever made and God provided a side job just for you! Best wishes!

  • Kim Burke
    December 23, 2014 4:47 pm

    I was blessed to be at home with all my little ones and would not have changed it for a minute – lack of financials or not.

  • April B.
    December 23, 2014 5:08 pm

    She is adorable. I understand and am so glad you made it work.

  • Karen Ganon
    December 23, 2014 5:15 pm

    Blessings and congrats. Now you can teach that which matters the most.

  • Maureen Healy
    December 23, 2014 5:25 pm

    You are doing the right thing; your children are only young once and if you miss it, you miss it! Congratulations! I went back to teaching after a long hiatus, once my youngest was in elementary school. It can be done!

  • Dana Gardner White
    December 23, 2014 5:44 pm

    You will be forever glad that you made this decision. Good for you!!

  • Carrie
    December 23, 2014 5:48 pm

    I am so excited for you!! I can only imagine how difficult that all must have been but, I believe things happen for a reason! Enjoy those precious moments with your little girl!!

    Carrie

  • Nancy
    December 23, 2014 5:49 pm

    I’m so happy for you! Congrats and remember time does zoom by! She will be entering kinder before you know it, and you know what, that would be a great time to return to teaching !

  • Sebrina Burke
    December 23, 2014 5:53 pm

    So glad this worked out for you! No regrets. Just like you didn’t understand the love only a mom feels until you were a mom. You will one day face an empty nest and wonder where did time go! Savor every moment you two can spend together!

  • Carla Hoff
    December 23, 2014 5:56 pm

    This was such a wonderful post! Isn’t God’s timing wonderful–just when your heart’s desire is to have more time with your daughter, position opens up that let’s you do exactly that! Years ago, when our first child was born, I’d get up in the night to feed her, and I’d sit in the rocker and wonder how I could ever go back to work and be away from her. Out of nowhere, an administrative position opened up for my husband that adequately met our financial need–not as much by far as we’d been making, but enough. He took the job, I quit mine, and I’ve never regretted it. I didn’t end up going back to work full time until both of my kids were in school.

    I can’t imagine you’ll every regret the decision you’ve made. No one every looks back on their children’s childhood and says, “I wish I’d spent LESS time with my children when they were little.”

    God bless you and your family!!

  • kathy
    December 23, 2014 6:02 pm

    GOOD GOOD GOOD for you !!!

  • jill
    December 23, 2014 6:03 pm

    I am so happy for you and your family. School is 7-5, family is forever.

  • Cynthia Burrell
    December 23, 2014 6:09 pm

    Sweet post. Enjoy making those special memories. My “baby” will be 23 next month. Believe me when I say, they grow up way too quickly. Savor each moment-don’t rush milestones. The hardest part is when they start to school, the time really flies then.

  • Alice
    December 23, 2014 6:20 pm

    I made the same decision and have never been sorry! Those ‘babies’ are now 41 and 37! 🙂

  • jackie
    December 23, 2014 6:38 pm

    You will never regret your decision! You can always teach – your baby girl is just that for a very short time.

  • Fifth in the Middle
    December 23, 2014 6:44 pm

    I am so happy for you, Martha! Enjoy every minute!

  • Miss DeCarbo
    December 23, 2014 6:53 pm

    What a beautiful post!!! So so happy for you!!

  • Kristy
    December 23, 2014 6:57 pm

    How great for you! God opened this door for you to be able to stay home and raise your daughter and still be involved with children. How awesome is that! My kids are 8 and 14 and I sometimes wonder how things would be different if I could have stayed home with them. So happy for you!

  • Catherine Reed
    December 23, 2014 7:07 pm

    So, so happy for you! Congratulations. 🙂

  • noelgreenblog
    December 23, 2014 7:24 pm

    Many blessings to you and your family, Martha. I’m so happy for you … tears of joy in my eyes.

  • Lauren
    December 23, 2014 7:37 pm

    Beautiful post straight from the heart! As many have said,you made a decision that you will never regret! God will continue to provide for your family as you are doing His will and using your teaching gift!s My kids are 8 and 9, and I still love being a SAHM that can provide a 100% for them when they are home. God bless and Merry Christmas! xo Lauren

  • Tina
    December 23, 2014 8:27 pm

    So happy for you! 🙂

  • Jill Myers
    December 23, 2014 8:56 pm

    So glad for you! Enjoy your time with your adorable little girl!

  • Retta London
    December 23, 2014 9:29 pm

    Beautiful post! So happy for you-enjoy every minute. I stayed home with my girls for the first seven years, and never regretted it. I know you’ll have a classroom again one day!

  • Lindsay Perro
    December 23, 2014 9:36 pm

    Good for you! I made the same decision and haven’t regretted it once. Cherish that sweet girl! 🙂

  • Ari
    December 23, 2014 9:53 pm

    Great post! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Shelley Rolston
    December 23, 2014 9:55 pm

    Beautiful post! I surely can relate and my daughters are teenagers now. I remember that agonizing decision to go back to work. Luckily I was able to work part time for a bit. You are right. Your children are only young for such a short time and you will never get it back. Congratulations on making the hardest decision of your life. 🙂
    🙂 Shelley

  • Mary Beth
    December 23, 2014 9:56 pm

    As a mother of 3 young adults, you will never regret this decision. It really goes by in a flash! With my recent cancer diagnosis I’ve done a lot of reflecting and staying home with my kids when they were little was one of the many grateful things I have seen in my life.
    Being a mom is the most important job ever! You go girl, God has your back!!!

  • Sara J
    December 23, 2014 10:16 pm

    Congrats! Welcome to the teacher turned stay at home mom club! So far I don’t regret it. Even on our worst days when I think about being at work and how much easier it would be to be in the classroom instead of with a screaming 1 and 3 year old, I do not regret my decision and I am thankful that I have the chance to be with them. As others have said, you can teach again some day but you will never get these years back with your daughter. Enjoy!!

  • Sheri
    December 23, 2014 10:22 pm

    I’m so proud of you! Being a mom really is your most important job ever! It’s a sacrifice, financially, but you will never regret it! You’ll have plenty of time when she’s grown to go back to teaching if you so choose. I made the decision to be a stay at home mom and have loved every moment! Blessings! :O)

  • Brenda Frady
    December 23, 2014 11:01 pm

    Congratulations! I also made the financial sacrifice to stay home with my four children (until the youngest was in 2nd grade). BEST decision ever. You will not regret it! Kudos to you!!

    Brenda

  • Shirley
    December 23, 2014 11:04 pm

    I just found you and read this post with tears of joy for you. I was blessed to stay home (from teaching) until our girls were into grade school. I wish it could have been longer.. There were many things I felt I missed during their school years, even though we were all
    in the same building. Keep following God’s leading He is never wrong!

  • Shelley Gray
    December 23, 2014 11:10 pm

    Oh Martha, I love this post. I had all those exact same feelings, which is exactly why I never went back after my second baby. I, too, feel like I lost a part of myself when I decided to leave the classroom, but I have gained so much more in the time that I have gotten to spend with my amazing kids. They are little for such a short period. The decision-maker for us was thinking that someday, 20 years from now, I might regret working away from home too much when my kids were young. But I will never, ever regret spending more time with them. It is time that you just don’t get back. Smart decision!

  • Tracee Orman (@MrsOrman)
    December 23, 2014 11:33 pm

    I stayed home with my son after he was born and I have zero regrets, Martha. You will never get that time back and even those days where I felt alienated from adults (no internet or smart phones back then), wore my pjs three days in a row, and listened to my son cry for hours, I would STILL do it all again in a heartbeat. Enjoy every minute of it!

  • 1966pirategirl
    December 23, 2014 11:39 pm

    Sooooo excited for you!!! Love you sweet friend!

  • Deborah Hayes – HappyEdugator
    December 24, 2014 7:33 am

    Congratulations! You made the right decision! You will be blessed!

  • adoyle619
    December 24, 2014 9:06 am

    THE. BEST. DECISION. EVER! God providence is amazing and I am so glad you listened to his voice. Now you can teach little ones his Word and your beautiful little girl as well. When it’s time for her to go to school, you might even decide to educate her at home. Enjoy your baby and your husband and live this life you have! Best of luck.

  • Pam Hagan
    December 24, 2014 9:07 am

    I am so happy for you! Everything worked out as it should! This was a great post. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

  • Lisa Io
    December 24, 2014 10:25 am

    I am glad you listened to what God was telling you, so many times we don’t. Enjoy your time with your little one and know you are doing the right thing.

  • Monique LeMaire
    December 24, 2014 10:54 am

    I’m so happy for you! Thank you for sharing your story with us all.

  • Jill
    December 24, 2014 12:04 pm

    I knew right away the struggles you had with leaving Lily! Though the decision was not easy, you made the right choice! I will miss you terribly, but am so happy for you! Oxox

  • createdbymrhughes
    December 24, 2014 4:12 pm

    How wonderful! I am so happy for you. The classroom will always be there waiting, but your precious baby will not. Hugs!

  • 1stgradefireworks
    December 25, 2014 10:02 am

    Smartest decision you have ever made! 🙂 Wendy 1stgradefireworks

  • Rachel
    December 25, 2014 1:11 pm

    I just gave birth in May and fully understand your position. I love my kids and I cant imagine not teaching, but it really is life-consuming. Since giving birth, I feel like I am not being the best mother I can be nor am I being the best teacher I can be. I jokingly tell my co-workers, “I tried to get some work done last night, but that baby kept making me play with her.” The truth is, I don’t want to miss out on this precious time with her and I know I have work to do, but playing with her is just more important to me.
    God saw what you needed and gave it to you. Consider yourself lucky and blessed. You made the right decision.
    I really do love what I do, so I am not living in misery, but I wish there was a way I could have the best of both worlds also.

    Good Luck to you!

  • Lynn (CampingTeacher)
    December 25, 2014 4:46 pm

    Wonderful post! I chose to stay home with my two children and not teach full time. Best decision I ever made! Enjoy your daughter and your future children to come!

  • Jennifer Gonzalez
    December 25, 2014 6:02 pm

    Loved reading this — it’s the first time I’ve been to your blog! My kids are the reason I’m not teaching anymore either — I knew there was no way I could do both jobs well. As a middle-school language arts teacher I worked at least 10 hours a day, and I couldn’t imagine how I would manage that and kids at the same time. I just don’t have the same capacity for anxiety and chaos that some people do, so I had to choose, and I’ve never regretted it. Your daughter’s childhood won’t last long, and then you’ll have plenty of years to pursue teaching full-force. So happy for you, Martha!

  • Nicole Rios
    December 26, 2014 8:49 am

    Martha, what a great post. I am so happy for you, and your little girl is so lucky to have you as her mom. After my second child, I taught part-time for a year. I didn’t want to miss out, and I knew he would probably be my last. I would have continued on with PT but husband lost his job, and I had to return FT the following year. 🙁 I cherish that year that I had with him, and the fact that I was there for his first word and first step. Ultimately, you will never regret spending more time with your child. It is time well invested. Congrats!

  • Tanya Dwyer
    December 27, 2014 1:17 am

    What a wonderful post! God bless you and your family as you move forward in the most important job of all…..mommy!

    Tanya =)
    A+ Firsties

  • Bethany
    January 3, 2015 9:17 pm

    Congratulations and good for you! Last year was my last time teaching, I too had a baby, and couldn’t handle the thought of leaving her. Enjoy every day with your sweet little one!

  • Pat
    January 4, 2015 6:50 am

    Congratulations and thank you for this wonderful post! I did the same thing many years ago and ended up staying home for ten years before returning to the classroom. It was so worth it! Enjoy your time and God bless your family!

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