I went back to work. Early. This was so NOT the plan. My plan was actually to extend my leave without pay and make the necessary cutbacks in our spending to allow that. God had other plans you guys! An opportunity presented itself that would allow me to finally join the teaching world. And I couldn't pass it up.
Even before going off for Nolan, Ryan and I had discussed a game plan for my career. Not particularly happy with my job at that time, I wanted...nope...needed to know we were on the same page to put forth a concentrated effort towards becoming a working teacher. Our plan: two years dedicated to volunteering in classrooms, applying to postings, tutoring and anything else that would help achieve the goal. If my foot wasn't at least in the door after the two years we would cut our loses and either stay where I was or pursue something else.
As you can imagine, when my friend Amelia from teacher's college (and the only one I've kept in touch with all these years) told me about a supply teaching opportunity at her school, it was a no brainer to apply. Don't get me wrong I hesitated not wanting to deprive my second born of the full year together his big brother got. Worried that nursing would quickly come to an end if we started skipping feeds. Scared to let someone else take care of my baby.
I prayed. Hard. For unquestionable guidance. For the door to be slammed shut if it wasn't where I was meant to be. For no doubts.
It took me a couple weeks to get my application done. Everything needed to be perfect. Off it went and we prayed some more. I interviewed and was hired on the spot. Talk about unquestionable guidance! Thank you God!
I am officially a working teacher at the most wonderful school! Not on my timeline but on God's perfect time. And my prayers continued to be answered with the first few calls...
One of the ways God has consistently spoken to me my whole life is through music. When I arrived for my first day to join the staff for devotions, I couldn't help but smile and hold back the tears as they began to worship. "You're a good, good Father...and I'm loved by You... it's who I am". As He spoke to my heart with those words, my doubt was gone. I was uplifted by his love and provision for my life. I literally could feel the weight of my anxiety lift. As if daily staff devotions wasn't great enough, of course my first day was a Monday when the staff worship together. I'm so thankful for when God speaks.
Over the weeks that followed God didn't stop affirming his plan. The staff have been so welcoming. Many of them Moms themselves who just get it. Who have been kind enough to check in with me, remembering how tricky it is to get out the door with littles and not have spit-up, breakfast etc. on your clothes or in your hair. Who, after hearing that both boys tag teamed the night to make sure I saw every hour (so nice of them eh?), went out on her prep period to get a coffee for me. Who have shared insights on students and tips for navigating the school. All of this and more has made the transition back to work, AND back to teaching, a little easier. They have been His hands and feet for me in so many ways.
Nolan's first couple days at daycare were rough, not gonna lie. The poor guy was just thrown into full days without his Mama or the comforts of home. So I don't blame him! But the third day I was called in for work I received a video from daycare of Nolan being his chatty-Cathy, into everything self. A little piece of mind! At first he would cry when I would pick him up. Like a week's worth of daycare days in, I picked him up and he smiled his gigantic Noli smile and talked my ear off all the way home. Obviously telling me all about his awesome day. My social butterfly was loving it! More piece of mind. He really is a social guy, despite being a total Mama's boy. And with each daycare day I'm realizing more and more that this is probably really good for him.
And the last thing, the most notable and unexpected thing, is the impact going back to work has had on me. I've mentioned this before and I promise to share more about it one of these days, this past year I haven't really been myself. Without going totally into it and making this the longest post ever, suffice it to say I really think God provided this job at the time that He did for the sake of my mental health. Part of it was probably the forced time away from the home-front. Where the concept of personal space is mostly understood and there are adults to talk to and a schedule to follow that some else made. The other part is likely that I'm doing something for me. Something that forces me to put myself together in the morning. Something that pushes me in a good way. Something that I'm confident I do well. All of this makes me more thankful for my time at home with my boys. I find I have been a little more patient with them and I'm SO excited to see and snuggle them up when I get home. My own attempts at rallying myself have helped in their own ways but not like this has. This has reminded me that I can still feel like me and be a Mama. Clearly I needed help with that reminder!
I'll be honest, going back to work hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows. Being a working Mama is no joke! That being said, all of these ways that God has moved in my life and made clear His plans at this time make me confident in the decision to go back. AND when I'm missing my own babies I just pop down to elementary where hugs and warm greetings are abundant. Problem solved :)
It's an extraordinary, ordinary life!