I have a lot of mixed feeling about the fact I started working again this semester. I've been teaching for the past four weeks now, having picked up an Introduction to the Visual Arts class at my local community college. While I should be pretty happy about the additional income and the opportunity to use my degree, I can't say I'm thrilled. I'm not disappointed either, and I wouldn't go so far as to say I don't want to work. But, after spending so much time with the kids, it's pretty obvious that being a stay at home mom is a noble job. I get a lot of satisfaction from taking care of my family, the type of satisfaction that one can't achieve in a one-semester relationship with a student.
The girls, on the other hand, have been pretty straightforward about their view on having a working mom. Emily screams, "Mom!!!!!" and cries as I leave through the door. Nora, upon finding out I was going back to work, shook her head and said in a determined voice, "No Momma! I don't want you to go to work. I want you here with me". She hasn't voiced this opinion since, but it didn't exactly set the tone for a good first night back.
My first night back was nothing short of a disaster. In retrospect, I had simply forgotten how to deal with people outside of my immediate circle of family and friends. I am used to putting out fires by offering cups of juice and singing silly songs. Umm, that wasn't going to work with this crowd. Having to face a group of 20 unknown personalties, some of which were very vocal, totally and utterly threw me for a loop. It's getting better, but it still doesn't feel second nature. It's been a month, and I'm starting to think I may never be able to teach the way I used to, in part, because the experience of being a stay at home mom has changed me so much. The stuff we deal with in my class just doesn't seem as important as it used to. Is it interesting? Yeah, for sure. Half of the class should be called story time rather than art history, because we learn all kinds of tall tales of the great names of history. Do we have fun? Yes, on occasion the students crack me up and vice versa. I'm not saying I don't like teaching, because I do. But how can anything I teach in a secular environment be nearly as important as the lessons learned from our family and our faith? Or as heartfelt as the moments spent with our children? It simply can't compare.
So I end as I began. I have a lot of mixed emotions about this working thing.