Returning to work had been nudging my heart since our son was approaching kindergarten. My husband and I prayed about building a new home and whether or not it was the right time to start such a big project.
Entertaining this new adventure truly did excite me after eight years as a stay-at-home mom. Was this a selfish thought or was it really time? My children came first after all, right?
I knew I would have to work around the school schedule. So I took a quick glance at the district website and there it was. As I read and reread the job description of a special needs assistant, my servant heart screamed “GO FOR IT!”
Nobody was going to “need” me anymore at home. Suddenly I was searching for a purpose, for friends, for a way to serve others. Why not a little bit of extra financial blessings as well?
I was handing over our youngest to the most incredible team of kindergarten teachers who I have known for the last three years. I had permission to return to work, right?
Looking for another way to serve children would fill the void, bless me with a sense of purpose and the ability to love on others at the same time. This special needs class needed someone to love on the children. Someone who would have the patience to teach them through the tough moments. And someone who was not going to give up on them. I felt called to be that person.
And I would make some new friends! Friends who may or may not have little ones at home. Friends who would be able to go out and have grownup conversations – even if only about work! Ha!As we served our classroom together, we would exchange notes and laughs, and support each other. New friendships are so filling!
The thought of being a part of a team brought purpose. New friendships all while making some extra income was such an adventure to me! Why was I holding myself back?
After I got the job, I had a family meeting and rolled out the new schedules. Mommy was going to need support if I was officially returning to work.
When the first day of school came around, I wished my babies a beautifully blessed day and kissed them goodbye. My husband and I reviewed the checklist which included our traditional school picture, and I was off to work.
Pulling out of my driveway, I could not help the sickening feeling that settled in. Was I sad? Where was this coming from?
As I watched our students waive their parents off, it came to me. I was not going to see those excited bright brown eyes walk into class. They were not going to look back at me and smile. I would miss that for 180 days.
The endless school events that came with having three children would be a hurdle for me now. There was no possible way I would be able to attend all of them. How would I choose? How would my children adjust to my absence? Who could I enlist to fill in for me? There were several holiday parties, gingerbread houses, book readings, fun runs, zoo trips and field days that I would be missing times two!
My husband got an earful that night and promised to do his very best to help. Being the child who’s mother was never at any school functions, this weighed heavily on my heart.
Although our junior could care less about having her mother hovering, she loved our lunch dates. That first text message turning her down devastated this mama. If you have a teenager, then you understand how precious these invitations truly are.
The mommy guilt was overwhelming at times and it was only the 31st day of school. In the middle of my pity party one day, I noticed all the other moms and dads at lunch. They were teachers, housekeepers, janitors and principals. Surely I was not the only one that felt this way. I mean, I knew I was going to miss some activities, was going to be too tired, my house was not always going to smell nice, but I could not get over the mommy guilt. Why?
As friendships bloomed, moms and grandmothers began sharing their personal motherhood guilt. I learned that this guilt comes in seasons, and I was in a new season. A season that was reshaping my motherhood journey and the relationship I had with my children. A season that was creating intentional growth for our family.
My biggest takeaway was that other parents felt the same way! My mommy guilt would subside as I learned which events meant the most to me, and made arrangements to make every moment count.
It was a blessing to be able to model this change for my children and begin a new home adventure with my husband as well.