August 26, 2009

17 years i have studied and dedicated myself to early childhood education. things like :: vygotsky, piaget, montessori, steiner, gardner, erikson, reggio emilia + more have been mainstays in my theories and practices as i have served families. 17 years of working full time. 17 years teaching + directing preschool. and today... i am in awe that said journey is coming to an end. tomorrow i begin a new journey. a journey serving my own family. teaching my own children, solely. a long awaited dream has come to life. and yet, i feel so awkward. working full time is all i've ever known. serving other families is all i have ever done. society seems to say staying home to be mama is not worthy of a professional status. not that status is important. at all. staying home to be mama is all i've ever wanted. but i do feel a struggle today. i feel a bit guilty that i will no longer be contributing funds to our ever increasing expenses. i feel that many do not understand the duties of everyday mama-hood. nor appreciate it for that matter. how can you appreciate something that you do not understand? i have changed. my philosophy + passion for children and education has greatly changed. i am appalled at my former 'professional' self. urging parents to enroll their children into our care- full time. into our education. into our hands. children spending more awake hours at school rather than home. children with teachers more than their parents. how could i have believed in this system? it saddens me to think about the children who are at 'school' before breakfast and go home just in time to eat dinner, take a bath & go to bed. it is evident in their behavior that this system is detrimental to their very being. i feel convicted. i was an advocate. i was an active member of organizations promoting 'excellence' in child development. and all the while, i was essentially promoting society's voice :: mom + dad both have to work to make it in today's world. working is important. children need to be in school. children need to be socialized. children need to learn. trained teachers are the ones who can teach them best. you do believe all of society's points right? or perhaps not. if you want to know more... feel free to ask. i'd love to share. but for now... i'm signing off. this post is much longer than anticipated. i do believe it is the longest post i have ever written! :) if you are still reading, i apologize for rambling on... thanks for making it with me this far! xoxo.

10 comments:

... said...

jennifer...it's liberating isn't it..to know that you don't have to belong to a system you don't really believe in. I taught public education for 10 years before I finally took the leap of faith to follow my dreams and my heart. it hasn't all been a walk in the park, but I wouldn't go back for anything. blessings to you on this new bold move to follow your true call.

Naomi said...

A very brave step indeed. And depending on your circles, one you will most certainly get flak for. But look at society. If it criticizes you, that's the first sign that you're doing something right.

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~Robert Frost

Samantha Grace said...

Congrats on your leap of faith! I too come from the exact story (except I left Occupational Therapy), with all of the doubts, amazements that I was a feminist, ect. My role now is much graver than contributing to society...I'm preparing lil' souls for all of eternity. You will not have regrets...
A homeschooling Mom in LA

m a m a :: m i l i e u said...

Mama, I still haven't figured out what kind of schooling I am going to place Noah Finn in--we've been thinking Waldorf?--I'd like to hear your thoughts on that one day--but I do know that I agree with you whole heartedly.

Nothing, noone can replace the parents' role in educating their own children.

I am so very happy that you will be able to celebrate their every breath now--now that you'll be by their side all day every day.

Congrats mama Jenn. xo

Johnna said...

You are a good Mama, Jennifer! A true blessing to your children. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Proverbs 31:28. You have chosen what is noble and right.

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7

A homeschooling mom and friend of 27 years!

Lisa Leonard said...

so exciting that you'll be a fulltime mommy!! transition is hard but this sounds like a good one. xo

jennifer said...

thanks so much friends. surely i appreciate your words.

Lisa Stone said...

There is nothing so wonderful as the peace you feel when being fully present in your childrens' lives. And there is no more amazing feeling as knowing you made the right choice.

All this is said as I just watched my Joshua drive off to return to college, 7 hours away. It was soothing to have him home for the past few months, but saying good bye is never easy. And knowing that his return is never the same as it once was is even harder. This is what the love of a child is all about.

Aunt B said...

When our kids were born we made the decision that I was going to be a stay at home mom. It was hard dealing with the looks of "dismissal" from other mom's that had "real" jobs. They wore nice clothes, attended meetings and parties, and always had lots to say. I often felt that I didn't have anything to contribute to a conversation, and even if I did, nobody seemed to care. My uniform consisted of jeans & t-shirts, and pajamas. It became more and more difficult to find my self esteem, but it was important to me that I raise my kids myself, love them and nuture them. I got involved with their school by helping out in their classrooms, getting to know their friends, and discovering that my creative talents were much appreciated there! In the later years, due to all of our moving around I chose to homeschool them....kudos to all the moms that do that, it's not easy! So what am I trying to say here....being a full time stay at home mom is probably the hardest job you can ever do, but you will be rewarded with priceless memories! Welcome to the club Jen!!

Luv,

Aunt B

Elizabeth said...

yay! for staying home with your little guys! it will be so good for them, and for you. :)

i worked at a "preschool" for a while when ben and i were first married. i know what you mean about the kiddos who were dropped off the minute the doors opened at 7 and picked up just before they closed at 6. what a long day. and some of those kiddos went home to sitters . . . i used to just cry and cry . . . i read a quote somewhere, from a 4-year-old, the child said "mama, i wish you were 4, too." "why?" asked the mama. "beause," replied the child, "then you could come to preschool with me every day." ben made me quit working there. it was just too hard. and that time solidified in our minds that i would stay home with our kiddos when we had some. and here i am, home with my kiddos.

i never used to think i would homeschool, either. and here i am. homeschooling. :) more posts to come on that over at my place in the next week or so.

anyway. welcome to the world of staying home with your kids! it's going to be quite a journey!