Do I return to school or stay home?

Chelsey - posted on 05/26/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

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Hi there! I am new here...hope to meet some fellow teachers with little ones! :) I have been lucky and have had a long-term, unpaid leave since my 8 month old daughter was born. I teach 4th grade, and I have told school I'll be back next year. Things are tight--my hubby is looking for a more stable job--but we're making it. He says he supports me staying home next year or going back. I am so conflicted! Things would be easier with my teaching salary, and I love teaching, but I don't miss the stress--conferences, report cards, lesson plans. I'm also worried about all of the time away from the baby. The July 10th deadline is coming...eek...any advice? Any thoughts on how you balance the two with an infant at home?

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Amie - posted on 05/30/2009

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I decided to stay home again after teaching last year. With two young children at home I found it difficult to give enough time to my 8th grade class and still have enough time and patience for my family. I now intend to sub if money gets tight or volunteer at school if I get the teaching itch or the need be someone other than a mom to my children.

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Chelsey - posted on 06/04/2009

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Well, finances are now saying that I'll be going back. I went into school yesterday to help my long term sub pack up for the summer, and I missed my little one while I was gone the whole day. It was fun to see everyone, but I felt that stress creeping right back up.... like some of you said, so many people manage to teach and be a mom. I'll just have to strike a balance somehow. I am sooooo nervous about it! :(

Emily - posted on 06/02/2009

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I've been on leave since last April. I had thought that I would take the 2009-2010 school year as well (my district holds a position for you for two years). I miss work more than I thought. I also teach in a highly competitive teaching market. I was concerened about not returing because I didn't want to loose too much seniority since there will be many layoffs this year and possibly next. I lucked out though. I figured that I'd ask my superintendant to consider taking me back part time (I was teaching 4th half time and was a Literacy Coordinator the other half time). She said yes! I will be returning to my .5 Literacy Coordinator position next year which will maintain my seniority.



You might want to consider the job market you are working in...be sure that your position isn't at risk if there are future cuts...



Good luck in your decision! I'd be in your shoes if my district didn't say yes to .5. Thank goodness they did...best of both worlds!

Amie - posted on 06/02/2009

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Another possible income is tutoring. You can set your own hours and charge $30-50 an hour. High school student and even elementary students need homework support.

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I had the same decision this year. We could not have made on just one income, so I considered doing daycare to supplement, but that is a very demanding job too. I decided I would rather work nine months a year and have 3months to devote solely to my daughter than work 12 months a year and have little to no time off since I would have parents depending on me to take care of their kids year round.

It's a tough decision and only you know what is right for you. Good luck.

Christine - posted on 06/02/2009

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Good luck the last 11 days! I would have had to go back for four days but I decided to stay home and go back in September. Hope you're getting some sleep before work!

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I feel your pain, sista! I, too, am on mat leave and agonized over the decision to return to work. Finances made the decision for me (if we ever want to have another child I need to work). Daycare and being less type A/working long hours are definitely going to be challenges for me. I have been dragging my butt when it comes to searching daycare options as well. I look to other moms I work with and have decided to follow suit -- no late nights, use my prep wisely and I am looking for daycare near home so my husband can do am drop offs (and I can go to school ultra early to do any work I need to do). When the bell rings at the end of the day I want to be out the door ASAP to spend the measly 3 hours I will have before my son's bedtime with him. I have decided to make the best out of the situation. I plan to cook large batch meals and prepare food ahead on weekends to maximize this time. I'll keep you posted as to how it works out! :) Many moms do it and I'll just have to get my butt in gear and do it all too. :)

Esther E - posted on 05/28/2009

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Chelsey,
My situation is very similar to yours. My daughter is four months and I've been on maternity leave since January '09. Unpaid maternity started in April. My husband is a great provider but I was very "comfortable" with our two salaries. Just like your husband, mine will support whatever decision I make. My deadline is June 12 and I'm uncertain about what I should do, too. Since I've been off, I also added Grad school to my plate. It's an online program so it works well with my daughter's daily routines. If I don't return, I can work on my MEd and care for my daughter. My mother and sister have agreed to keep my daughter, if I decide to go back. That is a huge burden lifted because I am leery about daycare centers. If I go back, my principal said I will be moving to the sixth grade, which will be stress because I've only taught 4th grade. I'm taking two classes right now and I know I could not do this during the school year. This is an extremely hard decision. Let me know what you decide to do.

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for me, the tough part was not participating as much in school things. i teach high school, and my students always loved seeing me at things like plays, sports events, shows, etc. if i went to everything, i'd be broke from the babysitter! i tried advising a club this year, which was great but a time drain. i still work close to 7am-5pm hours even on part time, but i have more flexibility to leave early when i want and i'm less likely to bring work home with me. whatever you decide, make sure you're happy with that decision. :o)

Chelsey - posted on 05/27/2009

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I agree with what you said about balance, Juanita. I bet it is sooo hard! If I go back, I will have to be willing to give up some things at school, not stay so late, and not be so "type A" about stuff. Haha :)

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this is a very personal decision. some people are very good at separating their teaching from their home life. i am not. i'm pretty intense when i work, to the point of neglecting those around me. :o( because i realized that, i chose to stay home for a year. going back to work this year has been very tough, and it forced me to learn to not be so tunnel-visioned with work. i love teaching, but i also look forward to another year off with my second one.

for balance, the only way i achieved even a glint of balance was to request a part time schedule.

Nychole - posted on 05/26/2009

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I was able to stay at home for the 1st year of my son's life before returning to teaching. I love my job but it is SO hard to leave him every morning to go to work. I feel as though I am missing so much of his life that I will never be able to get back. In addition to missing out on his life, I struggle with my own internal feelings. I feel so mentally and physically exhausted after dealing with 18 first graders all day long that returning home to a toddler is tough. Good luck with your choice!

Jen - posted on 05/26/2009

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Does your district have separate maternity, FMLA, and Child-rearing leave? I, ironically, just returned to work today, but after only 2 1/2 months. Fortunately my mom is coming to our house to watch my daughter for these last 11 school days. I always said I couldn't be a SAHM, but I have definitely changed my song. We are just financially unable to do so at the present time. If you and your husband are making it work, and you are unsure of totally quitting, maybe look into whether you could do a 1 year child-rearing leave, similar to a sabatical. In my district, they will still guarantee our job, just not the same exact position, I believe. Just a thought! Good luck with your decision. Your daughter is beautiful!

Chelsey - posted on 05/26/2009

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Thanks for all of the advice. I have a whole list of sitter recommendations...and I just keep putting off my phone calls! :( Aghhh.

Gabriela - posted on 05/26/2009

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This is a very hard decision, and only you can say what is better for you. In my case, I'm mother of two (one boy 10 yrs, and a little girl 3 yrs old) and I after my babies born I always back to teach, why because I love my job, and I love my kids to, and by 3 o'clok I'm at home with them.Besides we had the same vacations and days off. So think about it, and choose what is better for you and you beatiful girl.

Melissa - posted on 05/26/2009

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I was in the same position as you when I had my daughter (now almost 4). I chose to stay home. I fully intended to go back, but just couldn't do it when the time came. The last few years have been SO tight and we've had to sacrifice a lot of creature comforts so I could be home. I'm just now starting to think about going back again, though I have to say, we've managed and I have truly loved being with my daughter and we have a very close bond. I am not someone that thinks that your kids are necessarily much better off whether you stay home or go back to work. For me, I just didn't want to miss this time with her. It has flown by. Also, whether you go back to work or not, it's important that you find some outlet that is only for you. You can get sucked into babyworld and it can be a very isolating place. Good Luck whatever you decide!

Summer - posted on 05/26/2009

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Hi Chelsey,

Seems like you're obviously torn here. How fortunate you are to be able to stay home with your baby. If I were in your shoes, I would definitely opt to stay home with my baby if you and your husband can afford it. Your time with your baby is going to fly by! School will always be there waiting for you to come back. I wish I could stay home with my children rather than teaching a bunch of 9 and 10 year olds each day, but hey, summer is right around the corner!!! :)

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