One of the first questions people started asking me when I announced my pregnancy was, "So are you going to quit your job?"
Am I going to quit my job?
What a weird question, don't you think?
Part of me thinks why in the world would I quit my job? I sweated and stressed through years of college for this job, I've been eating breathing and sleeping this job for the past four years, why would I quit? This is my passion, my love, a great source of satisfaction and fulfillment in my life. Why would I just up and quit something that means so much to me?
The other part of me thinks, Of course I'll quit! I'm going to have a totally helpless newborn attached to me! A human being who doesn't even know the absolute basics of life. I have to teach her how to sleep, how to eat, how to navigate this great big world around her. When in the world will I have time to do anything but keep this kid alive?
I am jealous of parents who seem to know it all immediately. You know, the parents who have a name picked out the moment the sperm hits the egg, parents who know how they're going to deliver, how they're going to feed, how they're going to sleep train. Parents who are parents long before they are parents.
I know a lot of people who have seemed to know as soon as they got pregnant what they will do about work. Their mind is made up before pregnancy. It is easy to decide to quit their job or continue with their job because that was always the plan.
About the only plan I've ever had is that there is no plan.
Greg has been extremely supportive of whatever I have decided to do. "You wanna stay home with the baby? That's great, Bon." "You wanna work every day? That's great, Bon." "You want to do both and have your cake and eat it too? That's great too!"
As it turns out, having cake and eating it sounds very tempting to me.
I juggled with the decision for months. As soon as I got pregnant, my mind was a constant swirl of conflict and confusion on the issue of work. So many factors played into it- our financial situation, my energy level and need for constant interaction, my love for teaching, what would be best for the child, the worry that it would be impossible to leave a little baby behind while I jived with hormonal teenagers all day. A decision would seem to form in my mind only to be erased the next day by a whole new set of ideas.
This is not to mention the silent (and sometimes not so silent) war that is waged between working and SAHMs. Each side sticks to their decision faithfully, zealously defending their right to work or not work, the decision that they determined is "best" for their child. Not even a mother yet, I found myself offended by almost anything that was said on the issue by either side, as if I wasn't good enough for either side because I didn't know what I was going to do. I don't know if there is a "mommy" issue as sensitive or defended as this one. (Unless you want to go into the whole debate of breastfeeding and we all know that we do not want to touch that today for fear of moms everywhere raising their breast pumps in arms against us. Yes, let's leave the breastfeeding battle alone for today.)
Two weeks ago, my time was up. My principal was arranging the classes for next year, deciding who he needed to hire, what teacher was going to teach what classes. My window was quickly closing.
I waited until the last possible minute and then I wandered into his office after lunch one day to talk with him about it- still not totally sure what my answer was.
I sat down in a comfortable chair across his desk and waited quietly for him to finish an email. He finished, and turned to me while interlocking his fingers.
"What can I do for you, Bonnie?"
"Well... I told you in December that I was pregnant..."
"Yes. Yes. I think I recall." (I always feel a need to remind men that I'm pregnant. I don't know why.)
"So I'm just thinking about what I want to do for next year... is part time an option for me?" I asked. Some schools are really good about letting their teachers go part time, for other schools it is difficult and inconvenient.
"I think we could make that work," he said. Just like that.
"I'd teach every other day? Three classes?" I didn't think it would be this easy.
He stared at a spreadsheet on his computer of all the English classes and all the English teachers. He clicked a few boxes and scratched his goatee the way bosses do.
"We'd have to get rid of a few classes and combine here and there, but yes, we could let you go part time."
"That's what I want to do." I said quickly, as if the option were going to vanish into thin air if I didn't commit right this second.
"Fair enough. I'll put you down as part time."
And that was it. A decision I stressed about for five months, resolved in less than three minutes flat. It's weird how the decision came together- like I was trying to form it on my own for so long, and then it just up and formed itself in that principal's office. Decided on its own what it wanted to do. I never came to a decision, the decision came to me.
As I left the principal's office I couldn't help feel incredible excitement and joy. I was at once stoked out of my mind and extremely calm. I felt joy and I felt peace- emotions that I have learned to mean that I have made the right choice. I no longer felt conflicted, I no longer felt angst. Everything felt very clear and unmuddied to me. I texted Greg immediately, "I'm doing part time next year- it's a done deal!"
And so, the die has been cast, the decision made. Starting in September you can find me every other day in my classroom, teaching Hamlet and thesis statements and The American Dream to rowdy high school seniors. On the other days you can find me with my baby girl, taking long morning naps or going on walks to the park or meeting my mom for lunch. Maybe, if you're lucky, I'll invite you over one lazy afternoon and we can have some cake. And eat it too.
Oh, and Tayler is beyond nice and is giving away $15 to Babies R Us for all you mommies to be. Enter the giveaway below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway