I’ve been really torn and struggling with something, so I thought I’d put it out there and see if anyone has any advice.
There are the occasional times when I think to myself, “I truly have the best of both worlds.”
Two days a week, I get to 100% stay at home with my kids, wake up with them, spend the day playing, have lunch, put them down for their naps, all without having to worry about the clock. While they’re sleeping, I get to write, read, or clean up around the house (with a toddler who wants to do EVERYTHING himself, it’s usually the latter).
On the other hand, I also get to have a career. Not a job, a career! I get to teach English literature and writing, which has always been my dream. Not only that, but my husband gets to teach with me! We spend our evenings “prepping” for the coming days, discussing books, writing techniques, and how to better prepare our students for living Godly lives. While I’ve sometimes felt like he’s encroaching on my “turf”, so to speak (um, hello, newcomer to MY English world!), I recognize that we’ll never have to be one of those couples who says, “Oh, what did you do today?” We get to share it all!
Thanks to my awesome boss, who partially designed the class schedule around me, I work 10:40-12:10 M,W, Th, and then 12:45-2:15 M and Th. She did this to give me the ability to run home and nurse (good thing we live 90 seconds away!). She even scheduled classes so that Jesse’s prep period is when I’m teaching. If something ever happens with the boys, I have a sub right there. Thanks to this schedule, we will probably never need to use any of the milk I’ve pumped/stored! I also have awesome family to fully cover my babysitting needs!
In the evenings, I also teach piano lessons in short 30-60 min. clumps, here and there (about 6 hrs./week). This enables us to save close to $1500/month!
So I definitely acknowledge that God has poured out abundant blessings on us. I honestly don’t know how we got so fortunate. We don’t deserve it, that’s for sure.
That being said…being a “Hybrid Mommy” has it’s own unique set of challenges. I never get to fully immerse myself in one or the other. For example, I don’t get a lunch on Mondays and Thursdays– instead, I am running home in between classes to nurse Anthony. I am constantly juggling babysitters and feeding schedules, managing our bills, groceries and dinner schedule, cleaning the house and doing all the laundry, while ALSO creating lesson plans, grading papers and taking notes on books. In the evenings, I am running my piano business, which involves much more than just teaching. I feel like each is a full-time job, yet I’m forced to do them all in half the time.
Basically, this is an emotional rant more than a logistical one. I can do this without too much hardship. But I feel so torn between both worlds. It’s really hard to both work AND be a stay at home Mommy. I don’t think I ever realized that until now.
I also want to be fully present wherever I am. This is SUPER CHALLENGING when being a Hybrid Mommy. When I’m with my boys, I have to be thinking about what I need to get prepared for tomorrow in order to be ready for class. When I’m with my students, I am wondering in the back of my mind if the boys are okay without me (they are, 99% of the time. Gregory practically crapped his pants with joy when “NANA” came to the door yesterday!).
In fact, as part of my “first day” speech yesterday, I said, “Instead of spending time with the 2 most important little people in my life, I’m here teaching you guys English. It’s not because I need the money, it’s because I believe in what I’m doing. So don’t you DARE let me catch you dissing my class or my subject.” (I think I scared them, just a little bit 🙂 )
So it’s definitely hard to remain present, especially because I don’t compartmentalize well. I find myself wishing I was one or the other– a Fulltime working Mom, or a Fulltime Stay at Home Mom. But I know this isn’t me. I would (and have!) gone crazy just being home all day, and I would go crazy missing my boys if I didn’t get to see them until dinner time. I can’t imagine not being a Mommy, and I can’t imagine not being a teacher.
I’m very fortunate to have a husband who believes whole-heartedly that I belong in both worlds. He encourages me often, saying that because God gave me such a wide array of gifts and he would be sad not to see me use them. That definitely takes the pressure off.
But I still wonder if I am really doing justice to either job.
Then again, aren’t we all “Hybrid Mommies” of a sort? Being a mother requires one to always be multi-tasking. It’s always a challenge to remain “present”.
Does anyone else deal with this? It’s not quite “Mommy guilt”…but I can’t put my finger on what it is. Perhaps, simply put, it’s just, “Life”?