Sunday, October 6, 2013

Stay-At-Home Mom Battles With Herself Over Job Offer

The thought of entering the work world again scares me a little bit, but at the same time it is exciting.
My husband and I waited until he had a really good job, and we could pay the bills on his salary before we had children. We planned to have me stay at home and raise our children, and to be able to afford to not put them in child care. That has been one of our biggest priorities since we ever even considered having a family.

I have been very happy staying home for the past ten years, and seeing my babies grow. Now that they are bigger, and going off to school to learn from other amazing teachers, I am faced with the fact that I would love to teach again too.

For the past ten years I have been a stay-at-home mom. I quit a job I loved to stay home with my children. As a certified Spanish teacher, I have really enjoyed teaching children of all ages, including my own.

This year it came time for my youngest child to enter full-day Kindergarten. I knew I had to do something during the school day, while all three of my kids were at school. So, I took some classes over the summer and renewed my teaching certificate! It felt good to be getting back into my professional enrichment, and to consider being more than "just a stay-at-home mom".

Since I renewed my teaching certificate, and signed up to become a substitute teacher, I have had three full-time job offers! I cannot believe it! In this tough economy, a full-time teaching job has become VERY difficult to find!

Each time a full-time job has presented itself to me, my husband and I have had a heart-to-heart discussion of whether or not I should become a full-time teacher.

Every time, we decide that it is not the right time for our family to have two parents who work full time.

I know so many families who do not have the choice but to have both parents work full time, in order to simply pay the bills. We are truly blessed, that we CAN make the choice to have me stay home. I don't have to work. I still want to work, though.

So, rather than take a full-time classroom of my own, I have decided to remain a substitute teacher, and use my professional skills in classrooms throughout our area. I will bring home some extra money, and support full-time teachers by stepping into their classrooms when they cannot be there.

I had a mom ask me why I would choose to substitute, when I could have a full-time classroom of my own. The answers to that are numerous and a few of them selfish.

For one thing, when I step in to substitute teach, I arrive at school and spend the day with a classroom full of kids who really don't know me well. I follow plans that have been made by their full-time teacher. I can use tricks that normally wouldn't work for that teacher, but that work for the short-term! When the school day is done, I write a note to the teacher, and go home. That's it. I'm done!

If that were my full-time classroom, I would have arrived an hour before school started to prepare for my day. I would teach, and work with my students on everything from emotional, physical, and educational development to just getting along with their peers. I would have recess duty, and plans to make for the coming days. I would have to make phone calls home to some parents, and meetings with faculty and staff to attend. Then I'd have progress reports to write, papers to grade, report cards to prepare, and parent-teacher conferences to attend. I would have cross-checking of my lesson plans with the common core, and then with the state and district standards. Then add a few more meetings for who-knows-what to each week. Then, about two hours after my students had gone home, I could pack up my bag with some other preparation work and/or grading to be done at home, and finally go pick up my own three kids from child care. Then we would arrive home, where I would prepare dinner, and work on homework with my children. We would eat supper, and I would have to clean up the kitchen. At some point I would have to play taxi cab, driving my kids to their various sporting practices or other after school activities. Then, after bathing my kids, and getting them ready for bed, I would sit down to a at least another hour of school work before I collapse into my bed to rest up for another day of the same full-time teaching.

Could I take that full-time teaching job? Of course I could.
Would I love it? Probably so!
Could my family make it work, and survive? Absolutely, we could.
Do we want to? NO!!!

I would be giving up so much time with my own family to spend tons of time and energy teaching other kids.
I am so thankful that there are amazing teachers who make this sacrifice every day, to teach my kids. I choose to support them by providing quality teaching when they cannot be in their classrooms. As a substitute teacher, I love being in the classrooms, and impacting kids, as well as their teacher.

Another benefit to substitute teaching is that I can pick and choose when and where I work on a daily basis. This week I have an assignment to teach in my own daughter's classroom! That makes me so very happy! Then later in the week, I am not taking a teaching job on a certain day so I can attend my youngest's field trip to the apple orchard. I would hate to miss these opportunities with my own kids, because I was teaching another bunch of children full time.

There will come a day when I will say yes to a full-time classroom of my own again. I know that is in my future, and I really look forward to it. Until then, I thank God that I can spend more time with my own kids, and my husband, without being stressed out about the time and energy a full-time classroom would take out of me on a daily basis.

Blessings to teachers everywhere!! And Thanks be to God for the choices He has given me, and the family He has blessed me with. I am humbled to think that God really has blessed be so abundantly. Amen

"He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you." Deuteronomy 7:13

“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the father-less, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever…” Jeremiah 7:5-7

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reading Up on Religion - Aquiring Understanding or Perking More Questions?

My children and I all have friends that follow different religions.
Some of them are Christian, while others are not.
I was raised Catholic, as was my husband. We are raising our children in the Catholic Church as well.

I have had so many people ask me why we would chose Catholicism, since it's not Christian!

Catholics ARE Christians!!
I call myself a Christian first, and a Catholic second.
Catholic is just the kind of Christian I happen to be called.

Well, I have been seeking out books to explain differences in religious beliefs for me, and came across this one:

I can't wait to get started reading it, and post back with my findings!

God Bless you! ~Kristen

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Challenging Family Dynamics

Our family experienced some interesting family dynamics this weekend.
My brother and his girlfriend welcomed their new daughter into our family. My children now have a baby cousin, and I have a baby niece. The challenge comes in explaining why my the mommy is not my children's aunt. I call her "Aunt C." to my children, but my brother consistently refers to her as "Miss C." to my children. We will have to discuss this, as it's more confusing to my kids than it should be. We have close friends that we refer to as aunts, so why should this be any different?

Then, we attended my husband's cousin's wedding. The family dynamic with these cousins has always been interesting and strange, because the culture in which the cousins were raised is completely different. My husband grew up with very hard-working, blue-collar parents, who provided everything for their five children, but counted the pennies in doing so, as to not go into debt. His cousins were raised with more money than they knew what to do with, summer homes in multiple states, and a mom who was always concerned with having the more expensive luxuries in life. Different family cultures, one not necessarily better than the other, just different.

To blend the families is always a challenge.
My husband and I belong to both of these unique situations, and try to fit in as best we can. Neither of us really care about the expensive things, nor do we really worry about labels and names. So, that being said, there is some stress in both situations. We choose not to let it ruin our lives, or our attitudes. We simply choose to let people be as they choose to be, and not to judge their decisions and actions.

Sometimes this is very difficult, while other times it's easy.
I don't think ANY families in this world are truly without their drama, or easy all of the time.
I am blessed to have wonderful families to belong to. My own small nuclear family is wonderful. We come from these extended families, and they do effect how we interact with each other, but they do not define us completely.

I am very thankful for these extended family differences, and the opportunities they offer us to learn about ourselves.

"Jesus called them over and responded with an illustration. "How can Satan cast out Satan?" he asked. "A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart."" Mark 3:23-25

"So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God's church?" 1 Timothy 3:2-5