Ever since my four-year-old was around six months old, I’ve been wondering what my life will be like after I return to work (which will be when our youngest child starts kindergarten, which is full day in our district). Being a stay-at-home-mom is great – like herding the most adorable cats in the world – but it will end one day. I will hang up my yoga pants and rejoin the rat race.
(Actually, I don’t wear yoga pants during the day … that was just a SAHM stereotype … am I right, moms?!)
Today I took my first step in that direction, and while I don’t usually blog about myself and my life per se on this blog (it’s funnier to poke fun at this parenting gig and my children!), the topic of parenting and work is equally confusing, exciting, and terrifying to me. In short, it’s a perfect conversation starter for us.
Exactly four years ago, I quit my job in anticipation of my first daughter’s birth and my new job starting – the job of being a SAHM mom, of course. It seems like far less than four years ago! I was a mechanical engineer then, and when I rejoin the workforce I might take a similar job. Or I might become a high school or community college teacher in math or physics. Or … well, I have several other choices, but let’s stick with the science and math choices.
This morning I tested the waters of being a teacher, and boy was I nervous! I taught two STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) classes at my local library, one for 2-5 year-olds dealing with numbers in nature and one for 4-7 year olds dealing with building stable structures.
I did some tutoring about two years ago, but that is nothing compared with teaching a bigger group! I’m used to my own kids, and only two of them, so to teach ten unknown kids?! As they trickled into the room this morning, I thought, “What did I get myself into?!”
Eight kids (half boys, half girls) showed up for the first class, and seven (just one girl!) showed up for the second, so it was very manageable – phew! Thankfully, everything went smoothly. I felt very natural talking to all the kids. They were well-behaved, so I think I was lucky. And the parents were there to help their own kid if needed, so a real disaster couldn’t happen.
I surprised myself, in the end. I didn’t mess up reading the book I selected for each class, I kept the class moving, I kept all the kids engaged and interested in the subject (sometimes tough when it comes to numbers and such – I get it), and my activities for each class went over well. And, the kids had fun! One little boy even stayed an extra fifteen minutes at the end of one class to play more with the materials! Oh, my heart!
There are no pictures from the event, sorry; I didn’t want to take photos of other peoples’ kids, or even their creations (crafted “creatures” and marshmallow/spaghetti buildings). I’m sure that would make this post more interesting! The big issue I’m trying to talk about here is moving forward in life.
Aren’t we all trying to do that?
Raise our kids well.
Prepare them for school.
Prepare ourselves to rejoin the workforce – sometimes that means changing careers, like I might do.
Prepare our households and family budgets for the changes.
Get our head back into the game of working (for me that means getting my math center going strong again! Does it mean that for anyone else?).
It’s a lot to go through. Being a stay-at-home parent is mentally tough, right? I think it’s important to keep our career skills sharp and keep our eye on the ball – while our eyes are physically on our kids – of where we want to be in a few years.
It’s never too early to start preparing for going back to work. Does anyone else have a little timeline of when you need to start taking courses, polishing a resume, or applying to jobs? We parents have so much to juggle at times, but for us, just ourselves, adding this to the list is crucial.
I’m so satisfied with how today went, and I’m so very glad I took this step to see if I enjoy teaching a group, if I still enjoy the STEM field. This was a good first step for me. Here’s to a few more baby steps in the future!
What about you? What are you working toward, and what steps have you taken or plan to take?