Where do I begin? I feel this is going to be long, and for that, I apologize. The short of it: our family is going through some significant changes. This is all new and different. Best of all, these changes are good. I tend not to talk much about my job here, and I have kept a lot of this off of my blog. It has definitely held me back a bit more than I would like. I have hinted to some of my struggles in these posts: Beauty in the Busy and Overcoming Working Mom Struggles.
As a working mother, I’ve felt like I’ve undergone some sort of identity crisis. I’m sure mothers in general can empathize with this. It is a delicate balance and a struggle to do it all and have it all while working and being a mom. Sometimes you have to give and take. Sacrifice and change becomes a part of your vocabulary. It could be you that makes those changes, it could be your spouse, and it could be the both of you. For our family, it’s both Greg and I who have done this.
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start… (If you don’t get that reference, we can’t be friends.)
I begun my teaching career one year out of college. I was the ripe old age of 24. I had just met Greg. I was excited to begin teaching theatre at the same high school I went to, with the teacher who taught me and made me fall in love with theatre. This was the job any theatre educator would kill for. I poured my heart and soul into my job. It wasn’t a job, it was a part of me, and I always treated it that way. I taught during the school day and directed plays after school. It was like having two jobs. I lived for it. In 8 years, I have directed or assisted in over 32 productions.
If you have ever been a part of an extracurricular fine art, group, or sport, you know the time and dedication it requires. Theatre is a beautiful, yet time consuming beast. I was that director there for those kids day in and day out. We created memories and beautiful productions together.
Once Greg and I got married, the amount of time I spent away from home began to be an issue, but we worked through it. I then became pregnant with Kennedy, and subsequently gave birth to her 3.5 years ago. I was able to scale back a little bit while she was a baby, but things picked right back up. It was tough, but we made it work.
Over time, it just became harder to make it work.
We decided that eventually I would need to scale back completely and then I got pregnant with Caroline. I began my active search for different options to keep me teaching without having to stay so long after school. I explored every option imaginable. I tried to get the help from others in administration. I even got certified in another subject. I began looking for other jobs in other districts, other grade levels, other subjects, and jobs not even in the teaching field.
I received a whole bunch of “no”s. I became very bitter and angry that I couldn’t just teach and not stay after school. I was frustrated at getting turned down for jobs that I was overqualified for. I was tired of interviewing for jobs that probably weren’t even the best fit. Meanwhile, I was busting my butt trying to fulfill my responsibilities at work while also trying to mother a newborn and a toddler.
It was not pretty. I felt like I sucked in every aspect of my life. I couldn’t be the mom my kids needed. I wasn’t the teacher I used to be. I was a stressed out and absent wife. I held everything in and let it out in other weird ways.
I remember opening night of our musical was a breaking point for me. That horrendously stressful day left me in about 4 different mental breakdowns. I remember driving to Whataburger (You know it’s bad when I’ve got to drive to Whataburger. I only go there for migraines and mental breakdowns.) and sobbing because I felt like I had no control over anything. I was mad that I had to rely on other people to do the job I should be doing at home. I was mad that I was up at school til 11 p.m. I was mad that everything was going wrong at school. I was mad that I was missing my youngest baby’s first year. I was tired of making the routine phone calls to see who could watch the girls. I felt terrible that Greg had to parent without me. I felt like a big fat failure.
These thoughts and emotions pretty much continued the rest of the school year. The school year came and went, and there were no developments for me. I had no answer. No “YES!”
All of a sudden, it was mid-July and the deadline to get out of my contract arrived. I took a giant leap of faith and I said goodbye. I can’t tell you how scared I was to resign. It was sad to say goodbye, but at the end of the day, I was the person who needed to make the change. Nobody else was going to do it for me.
To make yet another long story short, I had two job offers and accepted the perfect one this week. I get to teach theatre part time. I get to do what I love on a super small scale and be a mother. I never thought this would actually happen for me. I was prepared to take on something I hated.
However, this would not have been possible without Greg. He made some big sacrifices, too, and is reaping the rewards from it. He gets to start a brand new job in a completely different field, and it allows me to work part-time. I couldn’t be more proud of him and all he has done for us. He has worked so hard to be where he is today. I have mad respect for this man, and it is an honor to be his wife.
It’s funny. Our two completely different paths of struggles somehow ended up at this change that provided balance for everyone.
I am trying to think of some super poignant thing to say about change and sacrifice and blah blah blah, but I am at a loss. In fact, I have been staring at this screen for 10 minutes trying to think of something, to bring it all home. To hit you in the gut. To make you go, “aww, man, you are so poignant.”
I’ve got nothing.
I am just thankful that God gave us this season of change.