You know the expression, “stuck between a rock and a hard place”? Meaning, forced to choose between two undesirable choices?
I had the opposite problem. Which made it less of a problem, but not any less difficult to make a decision.
I recently read Emily Ley’s book, Grace Not Perfection, and she claims that everyone has a calling, a purpose to her life, written on her heart by God. I agree. At school, I call this a vocation. Everywhere else, I call this passion.
Dry Mama and I used to talk about this idea a lot, especially when she was applying for first undergraduate, and then graduate, schools. Our aunt always said that you can either have a career that supports your passions/hobbies/interests on the side, or you can have a career that fulfills you (and probably doesn’t pay enough to support outside interests or at least, not expensive ones).
Dry Mama didn’t like that. She’s trying to do both. And she’ll probably succeed, because that’s what she does. But for the longest time, she has struggled to nail down just what her passion is.
I never had that problem. I wanted to be a teacher before I went to kindergarten. The only thing I can remember ever wanting to be before that was a mom. My childhood was filled with a mixture of play school and house, writing lesson plans in composition notebooks and caring for my dolls. Making my sister practice her penmanship and putting my dolls to bed on time (keeping on schedule is very important!).
Kind of like my life now.
Teaching and motherhood were written on my heart before I was born, and I was blessed to know it at a young age. Becoming a teacher, and actually teaching, has been more than the fulfillment of a little girl’s dream. The school that offered me my first job has become my family, my classroom my second home. I’ve been there for five years now and it’s always felt so right. The staff, the students, the families—it doesn’t get any better than what I’ve experienced. Just writing about it brings tears to my eyes because the amount of love given and received, the lessons learned across the board.
Teaching came much more naturally to me than motherhood has.
Anyone who reads this blog knows what a struggle motherhood has been for me. And continues to be. So, so much harder than I ever anticipated, so much less instinctive compared to becoming a teacher. I don’t know the extent of the role postpartum depression played, and I never will, but I do know that it decimated my confidence, stretched my marriage, and threatened my relationship with my tiny son. The possibility/likelihood of it returning is absolutely terrifying.
Long before The Engineer and I were married (probably a little too early in the relationship), I told him I wanted to stay home with our kids if it was ever possible. Before I left for college, I called my friend and told her I just wanted to get married, have some babies, and stay home with my family. I never doubted that I’d want to be a stay-at-home mom (or SAHM, as the cool kids call it these days).
Until it became a real possibility. A real, frightening possibility.
I’m sure you can imagine my fears surrounding the idea of being a SAHM this fall—the financial risk, the mental strength. The possibility of failure. I’m not even sure what it would mean to “fail” at being a SAHM. But I’ve never liked the idea of failure.
So. You see my rock and you see my hard place. I could continue teaching and (try to) ignore the calling that I’ve felt to stay home. Or I could leave my dream job at my dream school in my dream grade, to focus on my family and motherhood for awhile.
Less of a rock, and more of a comfortable bubble I know and love. Less of a hard place, and more of a nest that promises unknown challenges and rewards.
I tried to ignore my calling before—God’s little coconuts nudged me back on track. This time, I’m going to embrace my motherly vocation and trust what’s been written on my heart. Teaching will always be there, my babies will not. Time to settle into our nest for a little while.
Do you believe everyone is called to something? Is it possible to ignore that kind of passion? I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below!