18 August 2012

Nerd in the World: Month 10

Cheese!

She loves my car keys.

Uga is a buddy during college football season.

My little lovely.

Age: 10 months (again, I'm late…shameful…)
Weight: 19 lbs.
Length: 28.5 in
What can she do now?
  • crawling!
  • sitting up from lying down position
  • can give a high-five
  • has teeth on top and bottom gums
  • tries to climb the stairs (making her mother sprout grey hairs each time)
  • constant babbling and using new sounds
  • adding foods to her list of likes
  • bathing in the big girl tub with non-slip fish-shaped treads (which she pulls up every time she bathes)
  • and since I'm so far behind, I'm sure I left something off the list…

    Celebrations from the past month:
    • No new school year for this teacher. Sure, the no-paycheck part is a tough pill to swallow. But with all the changes that were made in the school system I left, the salary wouldn't be worth the stress. The class sizes went up significantly after cutting teaching positions. The school day was lengthened because the school year was shortened by 14 days. The cost of benefits are no longer supplemented by the system. The entire state curriculum was changed all at one time when it is normally rolled out one subject per year (and with no new textbooks, technology, or significant training). Don't get me wrong--I really miss teaching. I've had at least 3 or 4 cry-fest breakdowns this summer due to the fact that me not teaching is the equivalent of having an identity crisis. But I have missed the actual teaching part a little more every year.
    • I have been building a business! Well, the pro-rated paycheck was going to run out eventually, so I started building a portfolio so I can work as a part-time photographer while I'm staying at home. I am scared. Like, out of my yoga pants scared. Every damn day, I learn something else I need to refine in my skill set. Books and the internet have been on my side, as are a couple of local mentors and several really good friends (and yes, even family) who are encouraging me. For all the years I've had an interest in photography--since, oh, let's say, the 2nd grade--I was the one who always took good pictures, but usually, out of dumb luck. Now I have to be good at it…on purpose…for money… THAT, my friends, is what's scary! But now that it's out there, be on the lookout come October(ish) for my Facebook business page or contact me for session inquiries.

    A Mother's Thoughts:
    I thought I was going to have trouble staying at home. I've always been a career-driven girl, especially since my career has been one that I truly love. Teaching was my calling! How could I give it up? And then there were the multiple weepy-eyed sessions I mentioned earlier. I'd break down driving my husband to work or while watching a movie about teachers and their students. He could see I was struggling with my decision. I wasn't leaving just any old job. I was leaving my students, their upcoming siblings, their parents. I was leaving old memories and the chance to make new ones. I keep photos of former students on my fridge because they are my babies. One was in my wedding. To say they are a part of my life would be an understatement.

    But I have spent the last 8 years putting everyone else first and my life at home second. Do you know how many times the hubs got a phone call from me, letting him know I would be staying late in the classroom or that a meeting with a parent ran over? Do you know how many times he got frustrated at the sight of my overstuffed teacher's bag? Do you know how many times I have apologized to friends because I graded papers while watching football or on a weekend away with them? Do you know how many parties, showers, and life events I have skipped because I was attending a student's Saturday morning football game or filling out report cards? Even poor Mojo has caught the brunt of it when my days ran long and my time for him short.

    I don't regret a moment I spent in education. I didn't love every moment, but I don't regret a one. When it is your calling, you don't mind the sacrifices. Not a one. Your husband still loves you. Your friends still invite you to their dinner parties. Your dog still enjoys the walks you take together. I still have parents and their children who message me updates in their lives or invite me to family events. And they will never truly realize just how special it makes me feel to continue to be included in their current lives when I was a part of theirs years ago.

    But now it's time I put my family first. It's a struggle sometimes, especially since staying at home doesn't mean it's automatically easier to keep the house running. I just got back 60 hours a week of my time back, and the laundry STILL doesn't get caught up. What's more comforting is that every loved one in my life has supported me in this decision. It helps considering the other thing I cry over is the fact that I no longer have a salary to contribute to the household. It's another sense of identity lost in the gaining of my SAHM identity.

    Plus, staying at home means I can wear jeans EVERY DAY. Well, sometimes, it's running shorts. But I get to say "no" to slacks every morning.

    All in all, staying at home with Baby Nerd is something I love. She is both a miracle and a blessing, and I get to see those awesome milestones as she grows. I spoil her with my home cooking and reading dozens of books. I take way too many pictures of her. I show her off in emails, text messages, and Facebook posts. It's totally worth it. Maybe when she's older and she has a little brother or sister she can drag to school with her, I'll be ready to sit at the head of the classroom again. I know I will have the itch to teach again. It's in my veins. As for now, I'll celebrate our time together as Mommy Nerd and Baby Nerd, keeping our nightly date with Daddy to watch Jeopardy.



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