“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”– Joshua 24:15
I thought I could do it all, but when I realized that I couldn’t I was really disappointed with one thing I let slide. I had been a stay at home mom and stepmom since 2009. I finished my bachelor’s degree in 2011, and my master’s degree in 2015. By this time our family had grown to 5 kids and I thought it was time my toddlers could go to daycare and I could go to work as an elementary school teacher. I had to use my degrees, right?
Leaving Home When My Teaching Career Began
I was so excited! I was finally going to have my classroom, and praise the Lord, He gave me a good one with great parents. The school year started. Life was crazy with taking my older kids to football and volleyball everyday, my husband working his normal police schedule of 12-13 hour days or more. I stayed up late, grading, teaching myself what to teach my students, planning, and figuring out all the first year teacher norms along with normal responsibilities. We had been going to Sunday school regularly, and I was excited for the kids to go to Awana or the student center on Wednesday nights.
But not long after school started, I was too tired to get up on Sunday mornings. I was dead to the world exhausted and missed my family time more than wanting to go to church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights.
Church just became another thing in our schedule that was taking time away from what used to be normal family life. It wasn’t so normal anymore. It almost felt like I was living someone else’s life. The days flew by so fast and I was exhausted.
I knew I was slipping further and further away from God. Everything replaced Him. And my family was replacing Him, too. Activities, sports, friends, and even family time took precedence over church, quiet time, and ultimately our family growing in the Lord at all. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t keep that one thing going, the most important thing!
I told myself for months that it would only be hard the first year. Each year will get better and better. Then one day at lunch, a retired teacher made the comment she didn’t know how teachers do it these days. It never gets easier! Something always changes and you have to start over.
Some teachers master this rollercoaster life of educational changes and student changes right along with life changes. I wasn’t so sure about it. Then another teacher I look up to straight up asked if I was going to make it a second year. It’s like she knew… after just a few months in. She said she would recommend to be at home as long as possible before going into teaching full-time.
When I was home, I wasn’t mentally home. My family could tell. My wheels kept turning and thinking about school and how I could make it better, and easier. Our house was a wreck, no one could find anything, there were more arguments and frustrations, I didn’t do HW with my 1st grader or help my older kids, we didn’t go to church, and my relationship with everyone was getting more and more distant.
I finally made it to Christmas break! The first few days went by. I had slept for 3 days straight for over 10 hours each day and still felt beaten. My attitude and demeanor showed it. I broke down, melted down, and felt in a way I had never felt before. I haven’t ever yelled at my husband like I had this day, but I did. Something was wrong and I didn’t want anyone near me. I told everyone to get away from me, even my sweet 2 year old twins.
I was empty. I felt like a failure in every area of my life. I had considered quitting early in the year, but knew I had to finish. I had to see if it got better. I wanted it to work so bad. I wanted to teach, I have a desire to teach! This had to work!
I tried so hard to get back into church. I knew I needed God to take over, and I was desperate for time with Him. Time I didn’t know how to find. I listened to our local Christian radio station every second I could. I still had break downs, but these were like stress relieving break downs.
I finally had His peace inside me again, experiencing His presence. A peace and contentment that I had less than a year earlier when one of our twins had open heart surgery. I wanted that peace. The peace that passes all understanding.
I did not return to teaching for a second year. I hope to teach again someday in some format. I still struggle with knowing that people work full time jobs and have all the kid responsibilities like us and somehow make it work. But I know God called me home, our home as a mom. He knew that’s where I need to be right now and has provided solutions.
“All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:8-9
It’s a battle, though. A battle that isn’t new to the world. But it’s wearisome to purposefully not let other things take the place of God. So here are some action steps for you to take if you find yourself in the same situation.
- Put God first with prayer. Prayer, prayer, and more prayer. And I mean the honest, on your face prayer to get real with God.
- Then listen. Listen to what He tells you. Not what the world thinks. Only God.
- Put God first by writing down everything you do where you include Him. Be honest! Write down other time fillers you have, and then mark the ones you might be able to get rid of. (For example, we’ve considered getting rid of satellite TV.)
- If you can make a change to your work, start the process now. No what ifs, just start the change if it means bringing God back to first place in the family. That doesn’t necessarily mean to quit your job, it means to put God first while at your job! I have a job. My full time (plus overtime!) job is to teach my children from home.
My year of teaching 3rd grade helped me realize and believe a few things. I learned how I desperately needed God’s presence in my life. I learned how I needed God so that I could be a godly example to my kids as they started making some worldly choices. I learned my value is not in my work, my home, or my family. My value is in Jesus Christ that sustains me every single day He lets me be a mother and wife.
Jeniece helps moms redeem their motherhood with realistic solutions at TheHomemadeFarmhouse.com. You can enjoy some mom fun on her Facebook page @thehomemadefarmhouse.
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