I have spent the better part of the last two days in my new classroom, taking down old decor from the former teacher and slowly making it MY room. We as a staff will have an official “work week” for school prep in two weeks but since I have to do an entire room overhaul, I have been going up on my own to get stuff done.
While chatting with my sister yesterday she said something that stayed with me— You sound really happy. And truthfully, I did and I was. This is not to say that I have been profoundly unhappy until now, I have much to be happy about. But I didn’t realize how much of myself I had lost in the last five years. As a stay-at-home-mom, society seems to tell us that we shouldn’t complain about our lot. I felt this and took it quite seriously since the choice to stay home with my boys was primarily my own. There were some financial discussions, but ultimately, if I had told my husband I wanted to go back to work after my maternity leave, he would have supported that too.
Let me be clear, I am so incredibly thankful that I was able to stay home with my children. There were days that seemed to never end but, all-in-all, I would not trade the time with my boys for the world! But, staying home with your kids is all-consuming and, at times, isolating. Add the military life in the mix and that isolation hits tenfold. I would never say I was just a SAHM because that minimizes that role far too much. However, I will say that it became my only identity; at least it felt that way sometimes.
So when my sister and I talked yesterday, what she heard through the phone was that part of my life that has been buried for so long. I now have something in my life that distinguishes me as someone other than mom, mommy, momma, etc. I didn’t realize how much I had missed having something that is my own until I began prepping for this school year. And missing that does not mean I am “sick of my kids” or that I regret my choice to stay home with them. I was actually at a point of burn out at my last job before I had my first son. I honestly think this time with them was my reset. I am more mentally ready to start work than I can ever remember feeling before. Of course, there are the typical expected “new job jitters” but I know this next phase is happening at exactly the right time and I cannot wait!