When Amalea was 9 weeks old I went back to work in the mornings. I got to work about 7:00 in the morning, taught 4 classes and was home by 12:00. I didn't feel like I missed a tremendous amount of time with her and luckily I was home for all the major milestones in her life. Plus it allowed Amalea and Jim to have the mornings together - and if you know how Amalea is with Jim you know that time they had created such an incredible bond between them.
We were lucky we had this option - Jim was able to go in to work at 1:00 because he worked evenings doing youth group stuff and in the end he got all his work done with no problem. This also allowed for us to get great insurance (one perk of teaching) and to have a really great income between our two jobs combined.
When we moved to Portland I continued to teach and still taught just 4 classes. However, my hours were a lot worse this time. I worked from 8:00 until 3:00....the 7-12 thing was so much better.
I took a year leave of absence from my job this year to stay home with the girls. The 8-3 days were really brutal on me and I felt like I really missed out a lot with Amalea. I really missed being able to get home at lunch time (and I was making the same amount of money doing 7-12 as I was doing 8-3...my school in CA was much more flexible with me). We made the decision at the end of last school year that I would take this year off. It didn't make sense to have to pay for daycare just so I basically could keep working (because I do love teaching) and so we could keep benefits. That was a tough decision though...I mean you want to make sure you can take your kids to the doctor when they need to go and my insurance benefits were really good. We didn't know how everything would work out financially, but we trusted that this was the best decision for our family.
I haven't really missed teaching a whole lot....well, I take that back. I have missed teaching - I love Language Arts and I love working with adolescents - but I have not missed getting up every morning and having to be prepared and on top of things every day. There isn't much room to have an off day as a teacher. And things are definitely tight financially as we are trying our best to make it work with just one income...and our health benefits are costing quite a bit more than they did and the coverage is not as good.
I was asked this week to come back and teach 2 classes in the morning. My first thought was that I would love to do that. To be a part of the staff and get to teach and have a little time each day away from my kids (trust me, I love them, but my days have been really draining me lately). Jim and I weighed the option from a financial standpoint, from a benefits and healthcare standpoint, from a time standpoint and what it would mean for his job and the girls getting to have time with him possibly, from a daycare standpoint and if that was an option...in the end though what made the decision was my gut. I couldn't get the feeling out of my gut that I just didn't want to go back - not yet. As much as I truly feel some days like I am going insane I am not ready to go back yet. I know I will have the chance to be in the classroom again, but for now where I want to be is with my girls. I want the chance to find balance with them, I want to see them grown and help them grow. I don't want to be gone every day for a few hours (not to mention that the hours wouldn't have been ideal since school doesn't even start until 9:30 - way too late in my opinion). I want to be here, I want to be present, I want to feel sanity with my girls.
I am so thankful I have an understanding husband who is working his ass of so that I can be home. I am thankful he is willing to make cuts in our finances so that I can be here. It's not easy on him to work long days and then come home and run up and down the hallway with Amalea and take Maya when she cries...but he does it. It's not easy for him to see me in my frazzled and slightly insane moments (sometimes with tears in my eyes) but he listens to me and helps so much.