For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a teacher. My poor younger siblings spent hours in our basement at home completing worksheets and listening to me read as I ordered them around pretending to be their teacher (sorry guys!). I’m sure many of you fellow teachers out there have similar stories like this from growing up, and I love being able to say that I followed my dream!
I completed my degree and luckily enough found a job in the school district where I had done my student teaching. And what better place is there to start than Kindergarten. The joy and energy of those sweet littles as they burst through the door first thing in the morning is just amazing! I began as a half-day teacher, then moved to teaching two half-day sections, and finally was on the front lines as our district transitioned from half-day to full-day Kindergarten.
Now as many of you know, there is a lot more work that goes on during the day outside of regular school hours. My husband worked second shift during this time in our lives which meant that during the week we didn’t see each other hardly at all. This left me free to work as long as I wanted and needed in the evenings. It was fun, and I had all the time I needed to plan and organize, cut things out, color, design, grade, etc.
It was in December of my 5th year teaching that my first little bundle of joy was born. I went back to work after just 8 weeks, and boy was that hard! The only consolation was that I knew she wasn’t going to remember missing that time with me, and summer break was just a few short months away. It was the first time I had ever had second thoughts about my career, as it was just so hard to leave her each morning. Thankfully, we had a fantastic sitter who took her while I was gone and treated her like one of their family. We were so blessed to find such a wonderful caregiver for that time that I wasn’t around.
Two short years later my second little bundle of joy arrived. It was even harder to go back to work the second time because my daughter was now old enough to know that I was working and old enough to remember times when my husband and I weren’t there. I loved my job and yet felt like I was missing so much. I had switched to teaching second grade at this time, and felt a lot of guilt about what I was doing no matter where I was. If I was at work I missed my kiddos and felt as though I should be spending more time with them at home. If I was at home my mind was constantly on those students at school and their many academic needs and I felt as though I was never fully able to appreciate my time in either place.
When my husband and I decided to have our third, we knew that once he arrived I would not go back to work. With three in childcare the cost would have just about equaled my income, and so we got to work finishing up our financial journey to become debt free in order to make it possible for me to stay home. It was with many bittersweet emotions that I finished up that last school year and began the transition from working mom to as we call it at my house “Domestic Engineer.” The transition has not always been easy, but it has been fun and well worth it!
In May of 2017 we decided as a family that it was time to be close to home. While I grew up in Ohio, my family had moved to Missouri after I graduated. My husband and I had stayed in Ohio where I had found my first teaching job right out of school, but with now being at home full-time and our kiddos getting older we wanted them to have a closer relationship with their cousins. So we made the big move to Missouri just before our oldest went to kindergarten. It was during this time that Curriculum Collection was created (to read more about that click over to Curriculum Collection’s Beginning).
Then almost a year ago our fourth child was born. With two girls and two boys, our family is complete. Every day is an adventure that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I love being able to focus on being our children’s first educator while supporting other educators with things for their classroom that they need but may not have the time to create for themselves. This may not be the path I thought my life would take when I first graduated and started in the classroom, but it’s been great. After all, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”