It’s fall. The weather is cooling off (thankfully), the pumpkins are out in front of every grocery store, Halloween decorations are popping up everywhere, and all I hear on the radio is that the stupid fair is coming soon. My daughter has started preschool. Church activities have been going for weeks. But something feels… weird.
It’s the first time in my life that I haven’t gone “back to school”. When I graduated high school, I went to college. When I graduated college, I taught middle school chorus for three years, then elementary school music for three more years. And here I am. Not back to school.
I’m not regretting this decision at all. I am happy to be working part-time at my amazing church, and spending the bulk of my time loving my children and my husband well. But still, as I am settling into a schedule (mostly by force – I need that routine!) I still have so much unstructured time. I’m used to cramming my lunch in 18 minutes, multi-tasking like a boss, holding my bladder for an abnormally long time, and changing what I’m teaching (read: living, breathing, doing, thinking about) every 40 minutes – and often sooner than that.
But you know what else I was used to? Being drained at 3:00pm. Working some nights after working all day. Thinking about the needs, wants, thoughts, and jibes of hundreds of children that weren’t mine. Missing my own children all day while I was off taking care of someone else’s. Feeling bad that I had nothing left for my family after I’d spent myself on my job.
That last one was my kicker. Because truly, I enjoy working. I love having a schedule (there it is again), having a reason to leave the house every day, and sowing into something outside my home and family. I love teaching, and the opportunities the job gave me to really love on some kids who needed it. I love instilling knowledge and love of music into kids who need something at school for be good at, when math and reading don’t come easily. But for right now, Hubby and my own kids are what I need to focus on.
I respect you, working moms – especially teaching moms, because I have been among your ranks, in those trenches with you. But I am incredibly grateful that I could make the decision to leave you for a while. I’ll return, but right now, I’m thinking of you as a wrangle my ridiculously strong son into his clothes for the day, make several breakfasts and eat whatever the kids don’t, and microwave my coffee for the third time. I’m thinking of you, because I know many of you are happily at jobs you love, knowing your kids are happy in their schools and day cares or with daddies and nannies. I’m thinking of you, also, if you’re wishing you were doing what I’m doing but it’s not possible. While it’s weird that I’m not back to school, I choose to rest in the unstructured craziness and enjoy it.