Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Change of Plans


Me and Mary… about 6 years ago.

I didn’t plan on being a SAHM (stay at home mom).  I really didn’t.  From the time I entered Mrs. Kramer’s Kindergarten class, I knew what my future held.  I would be a teacher.  I would be a fun, dynamic, engaging teacher.  I would not pass out packets of dittos.  I would be like Mrs. Bennett, making learning as real and tangible as the peanut butter sandwich she used to teach us about fractions in the third grade.  I would be encouraging and demanding like Mrs. Cole, who taught me everything I ever needed to know about the joy of writing.  I would be a teacher who would win awards and be well remembered by her students.

I completed my degree in May of 2000 and accepted a position at a school in a, well let’s be honest, rough area of a large city.  Quite a stretch for this country girl.  I’d have to say it was a very eye opening experience for me, working in a school where the doors were kept magnetically locked.  I grew up in a place small enough that such things were never even thought of!  Nothing in my life had prepared me for the world I was entering. 

I was young and brave.  I jumped in feet first into this exciting teaching experience.  I loved it.  I loved my class.  Twenty sweet little fourth graders just waiting to learn.  I was thrilled to have my first classroom and poured myself into the work without reservation.  I did all I could to make a magical world for those kiddos.  As we went along, I learned their stories and came to love them even more.  I put all of me into that classroom.  I was the last to leave the building most days, carrying a bag of work home with me.  I moved up to the fifth grade with my little class and found that it had expanded to 27 students.  We had two amazing years of learning together that ended with a bittersweet goodbye and me crying in the faculty bathroom.  I still love those kids dearly and pray for them.  They have rewarded me with occasional letters and e-mails updating me on their lives.  I often wonder if they know what a blessing they are to me.

I quit teaching in the city that year.  Eric and I wanted a family and a long commute didn’t really suit a working momma.  I looked for work in our rural community.  I cried in August when the buses rolled out onto the roads and I didn’t have a classroom of my own.  I took positions substitute teaching and eventually took a job managing a pre-school.  I had high hopes that it would be a great place for me to continue to teach and for the baby we were expecting to spend the days.  A few weeks into my work there, we lost the baby. 

I was utterly devastated.  Losing our little one made me reevaluate a lot of things.  When we found out Mary was on the way, I was a different kind of momma.  I was overprotective, nervous, joyous, amazed and completely devoted.  I started really considering staying home with my little one. 

The preschool where I worked helped push my decision over the edge.  Let’s just say that it wasn’t the way I hoped my little one would spend her first years.  I couldn’t imagine sending her somewhere and missing her important little “firsts.”  Would someone else be the first to see her smile? 

I jumped into being a SAHM with both feet, much as I did teaching my first class.  Only, it was very different.  I hated being a SAHM.  I wouldn’t have chosen otherwise, but I really did hate it.  I was a teacher.  How could I give that up to be a housewife?!  I was the first of my friends to do so, and I had nobody to talk to during the days.  I was very lonely.  I remember one day when I pulled the refrigerator out and scrubbed every nook and cranny for about two hours while listening to talk radio.  It wasn’t much fun, but I didn’t know what else to do.

The babies kept coming and my life became increasingly busy.  I quit washing behind the refrigerator.  Don’t look back there, ‘cause you won’t like what you see!  Eventually, I found a few friends who stayed at home with their littles.  I also found some great blogs that helped me to see my life in new ways. 

Looking back, I can see that becoming a SAHM who loves being a SAHM was something that just took time.  I had prepared for my career for years.  I had training.  Being a mom meant on the job training because there is no other way to learn.  In the first few years of my life as a mom, I thought I knew a lot.  The longer I’ve been in this business, the more I learn and the more I know I need to learn. 

I’m not the mom I thought I would be.  Staying at home isn’t at all what I thought it would be.  Somehow, I have settled into this life and I have even found my own special little groove that I fill quite well.  What once felt a bit like a cage has become wings to me.  I have freedom to experience the joy of raising my kiddos and seeing their firsts.  As I discovered the joys of motherhood, I also discovered an amazing and rewarding way of life.

It has been a long and sometimes difficult journey to find my way as a mom.  I suppose it’s that way for lots of moms… and dads.  I’m so glad I stuck it out.  That young, brave teacher has been replaced by a slightly older and wiser mom.  She’s no less brave and ambitious.  She’s very dedicated.  She is teaching and making a difference in lives, just not in the way she had planned.  Sometimes a change of plans is a very good thing. 


  1. Great post! I always wanted to stay home and was shocked once I got the oppourtunity that I missed working!! But I miss my kids more when I am at work, so I just make sure we get out of the house as much as possible!! If it was not for other SAHM, I would never be able to do it. My friends keep me sane!

  2. Thanks, Sarah. It was a pretty big adjustment, but like you said, having SAHM friends has helped so much.
    I still miss teaching from time to time, but I am content in my life as it is now. I often wonder if I'll feel a desire to get back to teaching when my kids don't need me at home anymore. Time will tell, I suppose. ;)

  3. I want to be a SAHM sooo bad but I'm not sure I'll be able to =/

  4. Fatima your blog always touches my heart. Your ability to put your thoughts and feelings into words helps me better understand my own.
    Being a SAHM is lonely somedays but having a network of blogging moms certainly makes a difference. Even if we are complete strangers and miles and countries apart it's nice to know we are not alone in our frustrations and triumphs.
    Thanks again, Tish

  5. Thanks for the kind words, Tish. :)


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