Prior to becoming a mom, I used to be a first grade teacher. I taught for 14 years and for the most part- loved it. I wouldn’t say I loved every minute of it. If we’re being honest here and if you’re a teacher, you know what I’m talking about. But I did enjoy it and found great joy and fulfillment in it. I knew that once I became a mom, I would have to make a decision of whether to continue teaching or become a stay-at-home mom.
So why did I leave my job if I loved it? Why did I decide to become a stay-at-home mom? There were many reasons so I’ll try to explain a few of the top reasons why I left my teaching job to become a stay-at-home mom.
Desire to spend time with my child.
Growing up, my parents worked all the time. My family immigrated to the United States in the 80s. My parents worked at menial jobs and eventually became business owners when I was in high school. But they were always working. Many teachers in my position retrain and pursue a Career in childcare when they have kids of their own as it means they can have the same holidays as the children and can spend vacations together without having to worry about taking time off work. For me, we could afford for me not to work, so I decided that was the route that I wanted to take.
My older brother and I were latchkey kids and were often home alone in upper elementary school. So I knew when I had my own family, I wanted to spend time with my kids more and be there for special moments and school activities. I wanted to be able to go to school functions, playdates, and have a better relationship with my own child by spending time with her. I know that staying home is considered a luxury and I don’t take it for granted. Thankfully, my husband and I were able to work things out so that I can stay home. But this is probably my number one reason for wanting to stay home and be a stay-at-home mom- I didn’t want to miss out on her childhood.
I didn’t think I would be good at both.
When I was teaching, I would spend extra hours before and after school grading papers, prepping lessons or crafts. There would be some days when I wouldn’t leave work until 6 or 7pm because I was prepping materials for the next day or trying to stay caught up. And even if I stayed that long in my classroom after the kids left at 3pm, I would still bring stuff home or research on Pinterest for unique crafts. Weekends would be spent grading more papers, working on a classroom newsletter, and creating worksheets. It was never ending.
I knew once my daughter was born, I wouldn’t be able to do both. I didn’t want to be a mediocre teacher. (Not that teachers who are moms are mediocre at all- I just couldn’t do both.) I knew I wouldn’t be able to just leave at 3pm and be ok with it. So I had to make a choice and like my previous reason of wanting to spend time with my child, I chose my daughter over work.
I felt like work would always “be there.” Like it would be something I could go back to in the future if I chose to do so. But the early years of raising my daughter- there would be no do overs.
I didn’t feel like I would be missing out.
Let me explain. I got married at 34 and had my child at 38. Before getting married, I felt like I got to do things I wanted to. I was able to enjoy my life. Once I got married and became a mom, I didn’t feel like I was robbed of living my life. I was able to enjoy it as much as possible beforehand. I was ready to be a mom and I loved it.
Some friends I know feel like they are missing out after becoming a mom. Yes, being a mom is hard work. Yes, the life you had prior to having a child usually ends and the life you have is something else. Some love it and some don’t. I personally love it (not every moment is filled with rainbows and unicorns) but for the most part, I enjoy being a stay-at-home mom!
This isn’t to say that the teachers I knew who were moms didn’t do a good job at both. I know myself and what I am capable of. The demands of teaching and the demands of motherhood couldn’t coexist in my world. There were plenty of moms at my school that did an amazing job at both but I knew I wouldn’t be one of them.
Some might say I didn’t try to do both. Which is true because after I had my daughter, I took a year off. After my year off was done, I turned in my resignation. Do I regret it? I miss the steady paycheck. But I don’t regret it one bit. Not one bit at all.
Did you continue working after becoming a mom or did you decide to become a stay-at-home mom? Regardless of what we do, we all try our best for those we love. I would love to hear your story!
Photos by Annie Vovan Photography.