the one about walking away

What a difference a day makes.

I distinctly remember the day when I decided that this would be my last year of teaching for a while. It was 6:45 in the morning, and I was dropping Noelle off at daycare. I walked her into the room, and I was excited for her because I saw that the teacher had the Play-Doh out. Play-Doh is kind of a luxury at our house because I don't really like colorful, dried, crusty crap all over my floor.

Anyway-- the Play-Doh was out, and I said to Noelle, "Look! You get to play with Play-Doh!" The teacher then smiled and looked up from what she was doing and said, "No, actually, I am having the kids clean the dried up Play-Doh out of the utensils."

Oh, neat.

Now, I'm not saying this activity was inappropriate or abusive or traumatizing. I'm sure it was highly necessary. Remember, I don't like the dried, crusty crap either. However, the anguish of walking out of that room, leaving my daughter there to essentially de-boogerize Play-Doh utensils while I went to work felt like I may as well have let her stand outside in a blizzard in her swimsuit. It felt that...wrong.

I spent that entire school day thinking about the possibility of staying home with the girls next year. For whatever reason, I grew just the tiniest pair of man parts and wrote an email to my principal that day, asking for a meeting to discuss something important to me. He was down in my room within the hour.

I couldn't believe that I was actually discussing this out loud. What had come over me? All my life, I have tried to do what I thought was right...what I thought everyone would agree with...what I thought was the most acceptable and appropriate...and that has really worked for me. I have achieved a lot...haven't been to jail...I have felt success. However, I have aways been afraid to just take a leap of faith and risk making the wrong decision. There I was...taking this risk...and it felt so liberating.

The fact that I had the courage to write that initial email pretty much told me that my mind was set. I was choosing to resign at the end of this school year. I was choosing to say goodbye to the job I was absolutely obsessed with getting. I was choosing to take a risk and accept that this may be a huge mistake, but I had to give it a try.

I have felt very supported by friends, family, coworkers, and even people I don't know very well. Everyone has told me that I will not regret this...that I can always go back...that the girls are only little once.

I know all of this to be true, but turning my back on my classroom tomorrow as I hand over the keys and pack up the last 6 years of my life will be extremely difficult. I never took this decision lightly, and I spent many nights going back and forth with myself. In many ways, I loved being a working mom. It felt powerful. However, I am at peace with this choice, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for my family. I know that this is not for everyone, and if you can make it work, Gurl make it werk.

I think my final thoughts can be summarized in two words.

I tried.

I tried to be a kick ass teacher and a hands-on mom at the same time. I tried to get up early and workout (once) so that I didn't have to waste precious evening hours at the gym. I tried to plan meals ahead of time so we wouldn't  be faced with the question of "what are we eating for dinner?" at 7 o'clock each night. I tried to cram in a week's worth of fun into a weekend to make up for all I missed. I tried to read professional books as well as fairy tales and Bible stories and SkippyJonJones. I tried to give everything to my school kids, but I realized the hard way that I can't do that and give everything to my kids, my own kids, at the same time. I tried to do it all, save it all, be it all, and I couldn't. I tried to be working woman, wonder woman, super woman, and I couldn't.

Some may call it failure. Some may call it stupidity what I did, leaving a job when there are plenty of people out there looking for one. Some may call it weakness.

I call it "twenty seconds of insane courage, and I promise something good will come of it." - We Bought a Zoo.

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