When our youngest child was born I struggled to return to work. Having our third and final child brought me to a place of wanting to be home with our children. I want to be able to help them learn and grow, and be the person to care for and inspire them in these younger stages of life.
However strong the desire to stay home, I needed to return to work. Our finances do not allow for one of us to stay home, though I’d even find satisfaction in having my husband home with our children. Truthfully, our wonderful nanny gives me piece of mind as well, when we are not able to be home with our children, but I still have the desire to be the one at home with them. Thankfully I have a career I chose, and I get to do what I love, but still, the desire is there.
Lately, so many things have been driven by COVID-19. And this feeling of mine has also been influenced by the pandemic.
Now, instead of teaching in a classroom, I teach online, from home. For all of you now working from home, I see you, I get it, and I am sorry. In so many ways working from home has been a blessing because I get to be with my children all the time, and I get to see them so much more. But, I also see my children all the time, and working is so much harder!
Additionally, our oldest is not at school, but in school while at home. We finished the last three months of school this way last year, and will be entering the new year this way as well. This shift is almost enough to prompt us to switch to a home-school platform, though I wouldn’t honestly know where to begin.
I do not aspire to only be a stay-at-home mom. This is a wonderful thing, and I value every parent who has the strength and devotion to take on this thankless job. But those that know me know I am not good at focusing on one thing and being present. I work on presence everyday, but this is a weakness of mine.
So my dream of being with my children is perhaps a bit more complex than it should be. I dream of writing. I dream of writing books, getting published, and creating works that people want to read. That they choose to read. And I dream of doing this in my own time, while working around the schedule my children have created for our household. You know, the schedule often driven by morning routines, eating many meals, needing educational moments, having story time, taking naps, and going to the potty.
My dreams of writing and being home with my children have been pulling at me more and more lately. This idea of writing, and publishing, has given me a platform for my dreams of staying at home with my children. But yet, it is still just a dream. I am nowhere near making this dream happen, and it hurts my heart.
But my children will still be at home, trying to learn, as I try to teach others. My job is important, and I make an impact on other futures. I remind myself of this everyday. And I worked hard for this career, this career I am proud of. Perhaps that makes this war inside me even more tumultuous.
So as parents, when do we decide to make a drastic change? When can we choose our career, or our children? How do we decide what the best move is for achieving our parenting goals? And are we even capable of recognizing what will have the most positive impact for our children?
I know I am not the only parent who has felt a shift in thought and desire since COVID-19 hit. And, if we think this will change, it likely won’t. Even if this pandemic ended tomorrow, which it will not, we have already grown. This pandemic has given us a new perspective on our lives and our parenting. We should be thankful for this shift, for this motivation to want to do things differently.
Yes, it sounds odd that such a disheartening and harmful thing can give us new light and motivation. But then, sometimes the best things come from the darkest moments in our lives.
The inspiration is there. Now, we just need to figure out what the right thing is. We just need to determine what each of our families need, and what each of us as individuals need. How can we be better in ourselves and in our parenting? Does that look like slowing down and changing careers? Or starting something new and showing our children perseverance and grit? What if it is figuring out a way to set everything else aside to put our children at the forefront?
Whatever this looks like for you, I hope you can determine if now is the time to make a change. Believe in your why, and believe in your family. After all, these are perhaps the most important things.