Last Thursday, I mailed my letter of resignation to my school district. I have been a teacher for nearly nine years and it has been a challenging, gratifying, exhausting, and humbling job- I could use many more adjectives to describe my profession and they wouldn’t be enough.
As I’ve written before, I loved my job and I believe that I was good at it (some students and teachers would say otherwise) but I have never felt that it was what I was supposed to be doing for the rest of my life.
Early in my maternity leave, I remember vividly when I returned to my school to let my boss know I was quitting (there was a mix-up with my contract so I had to wait to officially quit until now). I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before and a marathon nursing session with Lula around 4AM, including a lot of spit up, had left me a bit out of sorts to collect myself for a task like this one.
Because she wouldn’t take a bottle, Pa couldn’t take time off from work, and I didn’t want other people to have to deal with her fussiness, I asked my uncle and his girlfriend to accompany me to my school and sit in the car with her while I went inside to resign. I would be “on-call” and ready to run out to the car at a moment’s notice if necessary. If I weren’t a parent, I would think my plan was ridiculous but four months later, I still think it was the best solution at the time.
This was my first time being back in a professional environment since mid-September (it was now December) and I had on dress clothes, make-up, and my hair was down. When I stepped into the school I had been inside of thousands of times before, I felt sensory overload. Seeing my co-workers and students, I found it difficult to make conversation. In retrospect, I think I was suffering from severe sleep deprivation. As an aside, almost every woman I spoke with gave me a quick once over to check out how I looked physically- I wasn’t bothered by it but it certainly is a sad? interesting? commentary on our society.
I thought it was going to be very emotional for me to announce my departure from teaching but I was so worried about Lula freaking out that it didn’t even phase me when I sat down with my wonderful principal and just…quit. His reaction? “Bless your heart.” Now that is a supportive man. Even better? Lula ended up sleeping from when we left home to when we returned two hours later- what a relief for this new mommy.
Am I glad I am not out in the professional world anymore? Since I’ve only been gone for six months, let me draw on my very limited experience of being a stay-at-home-mama. There were many days in the first three months that I watched the clock in anticipation of Pa’s arrival home. There have been many days that I have wondered if Lula and I were going to get through the day and what on earth we were going to do to pass the time. There have been so many tears (both of us), frustration (both of us), boredom (me), and I have asked myself if my new job is the right fit for me- but only for a few minutes at a time, when things were really bad.
In the last month, I am starting to see my hard work pay off. It has become so much more enjoyable to stay at home as Lula grows older. I am so excited to see her communicate more and more and I can’t wait to be able to bring her to story time at the library, be arty and crafty together, bake together, read books, etc.
Sending my letter of resignation last week has signified that the professional, career-oriented chapter of my life is closed. I don’t think I will ever teach again. It is very possible that after the RMR kids are in school, I may take something part-time, but that is a long way off, thank goodness!.
What I can say without a doubt is that I feel so fortunate that I get to spend every single day with my daughter. Do we get sick of each other? Of course! Is it sometimes hard, isolating, and frustrating? Absolutely! But it is also wonderful- it is truly the most rewarding thing I have ever invested myself in- and I am trying to bottle it all up so that when she is no longer a baby, I can hold on to all of these precious memories we built, together.