Thursday, May 30, 2013

I Don't Want it All!

This past school year has been the most challenging one I have had in a long time.  So much so, that in November I went on a leave of absence.  Then by January of this year, I resigned from my beloved position as an elementary reading specialist and literacy coach.  Sweet readers, this was my dream job! I had spent almost five years in my small private school, had an amazing supportive administrative team, an incredible group of teachers, the freedom to develop and write my own RTI curriculum, the sweetest kids with whom to work, AND, my classroom was just down the hall from where my two youngest sons were.  We saw each other in the hallway several times a day and I was blessed to get numerous hugs and kisses each and every day.

So what went wrong? Why did I give it all up? Did I have terrible working conditions?  Am I wealthy, or even comfortable financially?  The answer to this a resounding "no!". This is why I gave it all up~

Graduation Day May 2012
 In a nutshell, God called me home to take care of, to nurture, to minister to my family.

See, I can not do it all, and at this point in my life I do not want it all. And I'm not afraid to admit it. I admire women who can keep an immaculate or even a reasonably clean home, cook healthy meals, work all day, take care of their own children, and work half the night preparing for the next day, blogging, etc.  If you are a teacher, you know that the work never stops.  Your brain is always on. There is always something to do.  And if you are like me, you don't settle for doing something the same way twice.  How can you?  Each year you have a new batch of kids who are unique and deserve the best that I can give.  So, although I don't always recreate the proverbial wheel, I always tweak and customize my units and activities each year. 



I have a somewhat unique situation.  I really have two families.  My oldest is almost twenty and my youngest two are 6 and 7 years old.  Way back in the 1990's, I did it all.  I taught 130 middle school kids a day, did after school enrichment, led department meetings after school, took graduate classes at night, worked on curriculum in the summer, and was a single mother. I'm a self-professed work-alcoholic and perfectionist.  I tried so hard to be the perfect mother and perfect professional.  The county in which I taught was intense pressure... test scores, test data, (repeat 10 times).  In spite of it all, I loved my job, I loved being a mom, and my heart was always calling me to be home... to attend my son's class parties, to volunteer in the classroom, to go on field trips, and to not be so mentally drained at the end of the day.

So now, I am starting all over again with two little ones.  And that tugging at my heart did not stop.  After much praying, much thought, much discussion with my husband, we decided that it was God's will that I be home.  I had to be home... I had to give it all up to gain it all. My family is my purpose... I know that some will cringe a that, but it is really what I feel I'm called to do.  Yes, God called me to teach and I am passionate about my career. But I'm even more passionate about this beautiful family that He has blessed me with.

What about money and logistics?  That is a tough one... we are not rich and as I mentioned earlier are not even financially comfortable.  Each day can be a struggle, but God always provides.  Here's something else...

  • I do not live in nor do I desire to have a huge, or even medium size, fancy house.  My humble, little cozy house is one that we love.
  • I do not need a new car... well, I do, but my mini-van is hanging in there, barely, but for today, it runs. 
  • I'm beyond needing cute, trendy clothes and jewelry... we buy ours at the thrift shop and my sons receive hand-me-downs from my sister.
  • I don't really need the monthly hair appointments, manicures, and pedicures.  Do I miss them?  Yes!!!!
  • We don't take many vacations and when we do it is to spend time with family in Ocean City, MD.  We are blessed that we can stay with family and not have to pay outrageous prices for hotels, condos, or beach houses.
  • I don't have a Smart phone, iPad, or new computer.  What I have is adequate enough.
I could go on... but I won't.  Please, please, do not take offense to what I have written. This is what works for me and my family.  For us, it just isn't worth it for me to work to pay for the above-mentioned material things.  I would rather be home taking care of my family and being mentally and emotionally strong for them. My calling is to take care of the "nest" and make life as stable, fun, and loving as I possibly can for my kids and for my husband. And, do a little creating for my kids and for my TpT store! And continue to tutor.  So, look for lots of new primary resources in the coming months!

But, I need to simplify... I need time to breathe... I need time to cherish the time with my children, with my husband.  To be in the moment as much as I can.

I'm headed into uncharted territory... I will be homeschooling (or as is probably more correct, "doing public school at home", as I will be using a cyber school) my six year old next year.  Depending on God's provision, my seven year old may attend public school for the first time ever in the fall.

Am I scared?  Absolutely I am.  I don't have this all figured out... I don't know exactly how we will make it work.  But, I know one thing... I am exactly where I am supposed to be doing exactly what I was meant and created to do.

And I know that through it all, God will provide.

22 comments:

  1. Good for you Lauren! I am so proud of you for putting your own children first. They should be number 1. Keep following God's lead. He will lead you in the right direction.

    Your list is much like mine as I don't have those things either.

    Brian
    Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings

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    1. Thanks Brian, for your constant support and encouragement! You are living proof that one that be happy, content, and positive, even without material things. :-) Lauren

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  2. Lauren, I wish you the best and look forward to hearing how everything works out for you:) You will still get to do what you love to do professionally (just in your own way on your own time- not someone else's)! It takes a lot of courage. Keep listening to God and follow your heart:)
    Jennie
    JD's Rockin' Readers

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Jennie! I admire your work so much and am honored that you stopped by! Courage is something that has taken me a long time to acquire! :-) Lauren

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  3. I really enjoyed reading this post because I felt like I could have written it myself:) I left teaching last year after 10 years in education to be at home with my 2 little children. I prayed as well, cried a lot, and just was overwhelmed with emotions as I made that final decision to leave. You made so many good points about how it's not about material reasons but rather just being who we are meant to be. My days like yours were filled with stress where I didn't like who I was to my children. Now, 9 months later, I couldn't be happier!! I'm still blogging and creating for TpT and just enjoy every minute with my family!! Best of luck to you in your new role:) Many hugs!

    Tammy

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    1. Tammy- Thank you for sharing that this can be done! I love your work (and especially your clip art!). Yesterday I was at school for my boys' awards ceremony and it hit me that "this is it". It was a very emotional day for me... it would have been a lot easier if I didn't love my school and students so much! x0x0x0 Lauren

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  4. I am sure that this new chapter in your life will be a blessed one! Family is much more important that money and a job. I doubt people will judge you for caring so much about your family. May God richly bless your new journey!

    Sarah
    Miss A's Kindergarten

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    1. Thank you, Sarah! You are so right... I would rather be at home taking care of my family than having more money in the bank! :-) Lauren

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  5. Good job! We are trying to do that, too. My goal is to be able to stay home at the end of next year. I'm really hopeful that we can make it happen. You've been an example that shows it can be done! Thanks.

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    1. Jessica- Thanks for stopping by! I hope and pray that you can stay home next year. There is nothing more rewarding to me than being a mom and a wife! :-) Lauren

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  6. Hi Lauren,

    I understand your heartache. I did the same thing about 15 years ago. It was a hard decision because I loved teaching, but my family needed me more. Looking back I have no regrets. I loved the time I spent with my family as a focal point. I stayed home full-time for about 4 years. Then I taught part-time for about seven years. Now my kids are grown and I teach full-time. My kinders are my "kids" for 9 months of the year.

    I know God will shower you and your family with many blessing, which as they say are priceless.

    Charlotte

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    1. Thank you, sweet friend! It is so reassuring to hear from someone who has done the same thing that you have! In a short 12 years, my boys will be in college, and I have every intention of returning to teaching! xoxoxo Lauren

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  7. What a great big leap of faith! I admire your dedication to your family and your ability to discern what is important to you in a world full of external pressures. You are making a wonderful choice to put your family first and I am also certain that God will provide for you and your family. God bless!

    Maria
    Kinder-Craze

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    1. Maria- thank you for your sweet,supportive words! God is SO good and I am blessed to have my family and feel such a calling to take care of them and provide for them. xoxo Lauren

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  8. You're following your heart. Good for you;))

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Barbara! I hope to document my journey in the coming months! :-) Lauren

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  10. From a mom who made similar decision for her own family this year, your post is inspiring and encouraging. God wants us to be obedient, and He will richly bless you for it.

    Kristen

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    1. Hi Kristen, It is also inspiring to meet someone else who has made a similar decision when so many people think I'm crazy! This, to me, is what God is calling me to do and He knows the desires of my heart- to be a full time, SAHM and wife and to take care of the blessings he has given me! :-) Lauren

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  11. I stayed at home with my children & loved every minute. Of course now, my friends are retired or retiring & I have a few years to go (& won't have the years like they have), but I wanted to be home. We definitely didn't have the $$ for lots of things, but family time was more important. Enjoy every minute with your children. As you already know, they grow up so very fast!

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  12. I really admire you for staying at home with your children. I am 25 and we do not have babies yet, but I hope that I can do the same.

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    1. Hi Tasha! Thank you...I had my first son when I was 26 and wasn't able to stay home with him. I am so blessed that this time around I am able to! :-) Lauren

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