Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Working Mom

When I got pregnant, I knew I had a decision to make. I had been working at the Art City Music Academy for 9 years–that’s nearly one third of my life. Chris and Yvonne Blonquist have become like family to me. I ran their school for so long that I had it down to a science. I taught piano lessons for so long that my students became my family.

I have always wanted to be a mom, and always wanted to be able to stay at home with my kids. It was easy to decide that I wouldn’t continue working full time after the baby was born. The harder decision was whether I should stop working completely, or keep teaching part time? Many people told me I would relish the time out of the house and away from the baby. Others told me I might resent the time away.

I decided I would keep two afternoons of teaching. I made the decision knowing that I couldn’t really know until I got there whether or not it would be okay. But I felt like I had something important to offer my students. And I have spent so many years of my life becoming a great teacher; I didn’t want to just give it up.

I have been back to work for two weeks now. When I am teaching, it’s almost like my life hasn’t been completely turned upside down. In the back of my mind, I know I have a baby at home, but at work, for 6 hours my life is not governed by whether the baby is hungry or tired or needs a diaper change. My existence is not carved into 2-3 hour slices delineated by the sweet babe’s hunger. I tuck his smiles and soft skin into the back of my mind. At work I am helping other mothers raise their children, and it be doing what I have done for 9 years.

Then tonight I came home to a baby that had been crying for so long that even as he fell asleep in my arms, he kept breathing in with little sobs. Russell is really great with him, but he doesn’t like taking a bottle, and by the end of the day, he has just had it.

The truth is, I don’t resent the time away from my baby. But I also don’t need the time away from him. Being a mother is the most natural thing in the world to me. I don’t need a break from it. But I do love teaching.

Am I doing the right thing?


Amber said...

I'm afraid you've hit the dilemma that comes to every mom in America at one point or another. It's hard, especially when they're so little. This will sound like a cliche, but it's true: No one can tell you the right answer. You just have to trust yourself that you will make the best decision you can. And the bottle issue is tough, Gray went through it too, but it won't last forever. When they're this young, it just feels like forever. Hang in there!

Also, I was cleaning out a trunk for the nursery and found a big pile of our notes from 8th grade. (Folded in little squares!) I don't know how I managed to save them for so long. They were hillarious and mortifying to read. I saved one or two of the best. I'll send them to you if you want a good laugh.

Marie said...

Wish I could give you some input here but as you know I don't have any kids.

As Amber said there is no right answer, but knowing you, I know you are making the right decision and that you are an awesome mom. :)

Kelley said...

I think part of the transition into motherhood is finding what works for you and your family, regardless of what others think. Many, many times I have asked for advice from all sides, but just gone with my gut in the end. Usually, it's right. It's the times that I rely on the advice of others to make my decisions that I get into trouble. I'm sure you'll do what is best for you and your family.

the lunch lady said...

Bonnie --
As the mom of two of your students, I love you teaching my kids. You really are a blessing to them(us). And I appreciate very much the way you share your talents. So, selfishly, I want you to keep teaching. But I also agree with Kelley -- you need to do what is best for you and your family. But we do love you.
(He really is a doll.)


Jenny said...

I agree, it's just for you to decide, keep praying and I know the Lord will prompt you to make the best decision for you and your family. I know it's hard to hear our little ones cry, but sometimes they just cry even if you are home or not and they will totally forget about it later. I left my baby with a sitter last night, he just cried and cried, but he did that with me all day and I just really needed the break, and today he has been totally happy and fine. So I'm sure your little guy will really be just okay, besides he is with someone that loves him just as much as you do.

Brooke said...

Only you can know the real answer to that. I didn't need the time away from James when he was little either. I could sure use it now though!

Amy F said...

I just always follow my gut feeling on things and it rarely leads me wrong.
IMPO - Being away from kids is a good and healthy thing. We're supposed to be moms, but we are also supposed to use and develop our talents. You are so talented in music, it's great that you are able to teach our younger generations (and heaven knows we need more musically inclined people). Besides teaching your baby trust by going and coming back, I think time away allows you to maintain your personal sense of self and stay emotionally healthy - both which helps make you the best mom you can be.

Swenson Family said...

Hey Bonnie- I found you on Kelley's blog. Good luck with everything. Your little boy is ADORABLE. Keep in mind, everything gets soooo much easier when they get even just a little older, especially when you are no longer their ONLY source of food. I work very occassionally for my mom painting when she needs it When Kelsi was really little, I could take her with me, but it was so hard when I had to leave her. The time with Dad has been good for everyone, though. Now, I really enjoy the occassional break. Good luck- he is adorable. :) I hope it is okay I stopped by. :)

Swenson Family said...

This is Ashley Drury Swenson, by the way. :) I wanted to add, though, follow your gut and impressions for sure. Pray about it. You will know what is best for you and your family. It may be different for different phases in your life. :)