Choosing to Be Mom

In the six short years that followed college graduation, the Lord had changed my heart dramatically.  He had allowed me to see that His way was best.  He had opened the path for a new career and a fresh outlook on family life.

Last I left you I was preparing to meet with my principal and superintendent to sign my first teaching contract.  This had been a long time coming, and I was excited beyond measure.  But, alas, there would be one more wrinkle.

About a week before my appointment I found out that I was pregnant.  Yep, pregnant!  I had traveled from the New York City work scene, to a new job in the suburbs, enrolled in college to work on my Masters degree,  obtained my teaching certification, completed student teaching, and was offered the “perfect job”, and now I was pregnant.  What should have been a joyous moment was a tear filled episode.  Before I even stepped foot into my new classroom, I would need to tell my principal that I was leaving.  And while I held firm to the fact that the Lord’s timing is always perfect,  I simply could not wrap my head around the timing of this.

When my husband arrived home I waved the pregnancy test in the air and exclaimed that I was pregnant.  He was surprised but so very happy.  Then he laughed.  He laughed.   “This is pretty funny timing,” he said.  “I mean you have to sign your teaching contract next week and tell your new boss that you are pregnant too.”  I failed to see the humor.

So, in I went to the principal’s office as scheduled.  We shared a few pleasantries and discussed business.  Then she sat back in her chair and said, “I just want you to know that none of the parents want their child in your class next year.  Parents in this district do not like new teachers.”    Well, that seemed like the perfect segue for me to drop my bombshell.   I went on to explain to her that I was pregnant.  Her first reaction was to congratulate me, then she paused.  It was kind of a long pause, the kind of pause that leaves that uncomfortable silence in the air.  And then like that she snapped back to life.  “Okay, so let’s make a plan,” she said.   And we did.

The plan was to work as long as I could, take a six week maternity leave, then return back to school to finish out the year.  In order to receive my permanent certification from the state I needed to complete my first year of teaching.  My husband and I agreed that I should complete the process.  Then at the conclusion of the school year I would tender my resignation.   It all seemed a bit overwhelming, yet at the same time I felt peace.

So the school year began.  I had my own little class of little people, and I grew to love them more and more each day.   Eventually I broke the news about my pregnancy to my classroom parents and students.  They were happy and unhappy at the same time.  But nonetheless, they embraced this wonderful event in my life, and we all enjoyed the wonders of pregnancy together.

About a week before my due date I began my maternity leave.  My son was born right on time.  He was healthy and amazing.   My new journey in motherhood had now begun.

Those first six weeks of being a mom were not what I had expected.  I had anticipated the sleepless nights, the crying, and the diaper routine.  But, I did not anticipate the emotional rollercoaster that I would be on.  I believe that I cried nearly everyday for the first two weeks.  Instead of joy, I was profoundly sad.  I knew that hormones could really be tough on a new mom, but this seemed nuts!  I prayed a lot those first few weeks.  I prayed that the Lord would calm my worried soul, that He would give peace, and help me find joy.  And so, I spent a lot of time in my son’s room on the glider.  I held him and prayed.  I held him and sang.  I held him and read.  And the more I held him and slowly released my fear, the more I felt the Lord holding me and comforting me.   Joy was to be found.

The Friday before I was to return to work, I took my son to school to introduce him to the class.  Oh my!  What a joyful time.  It was love at first sight for my students.  After a short visit we said our goodbyes, and I told them that I would see them on Monday.

Monday came and I jumped right back in the saddle.  After a week or so my principal called me into her office.  She wanted to know what my plans were for next year.  She wanted me to stay, and there was a huge part of me that wanted to stay as well.  I had finally found my niche in teaching.  I truly loved the children, my coworkers, my school, and my job.  But, there was a still, small voice guiding me in a different direction.  “No, I will not be returning next year.”  And with that, I would finish out the year and pack up the very classroom I had just set up.  My coworkers had mixed reactions to my decision.  Women who had already raised their families reassured me that I was making the right decision and it would be one that I would never regret.  The younger teachers told me that I was crazy…literally, they told me that.

And like that, I was now officially a full-time, stay-at-home mom.  Me, a stay-at-home mom.  I really never thought it would happen.  But it did.

I’ve been home now for sixteen years and there has never, ever been a time that I regret that decision.  It was a decision that changed the course of my life.  It was a decision that would change me. It was a decision that caused my husband and I  to make many, many sacrifices.  But most importantly, it was a decision that was made based on the leading of the Lord.

Time is short.  We have one chance to raise our children.  We have but a narrow window to impact their lives, to teach them right and wrong, to laugh and cry with them, to celebrate and console, to bring them up in the way that they should go.  When our children are but babies we feel as if we have all the time in the world.  But it won’t be long until we realize that time in flying by.  My boys are now sixteen, fourteen, and eleven.  I’m telling you, they were toddlers just yesterday…I’m convinced of it.

If you are a mom I want you to know that you have THE most important job in the entire world.  You have the opportunity everyday to make an impact, to make a difference.   You will never regret choosing time with your children.  It may not always be glamorous.  The house may not always be clean or the laundry done, but hearts will be full and love will be plentiful.

These are a few verses that have meant a lot to me over the years:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3: 5-6

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.   Isaiah 41:10

Happy Mother’s Day!

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