Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Big Decision; Limitless Life

First Big Decision.  I think we've decided on our Christmas Card for the year.  Here it is:


Or how about this one:




On a serious note.  I really do have a big decision to make and it is part of the reason I've probably been feeling "stuck" lately or a bit on the lost side.  I have until February to officially make this decision but as with most things in my life, I'm always one step ahead of the game (not necessarily a good thing).  I have to decide whether I will return to my half-time job as a teacher or give up my position and decide to stay at home with my kids for who knows how long.  This isn't a decision I make lightly.  My career as a teacher is one that I love.  It fills me with so much joy and passion to be in the classroom building relationships with students and making a difference in their life and learning.  It is a "dream job" in my eyes.  But so is being a mother.  I've decided.  I'm making my decision official tonight for all the world to see (or really, just the few people that are reading this blog besides my mother).  I've decided to give up my teaching job and see where life takes me! 

Getting to this decision has been hard for me.  I know that in my heart I've always known the answer but there have been several things holding me back.  Mostly FEAR.  Fear always gets in the way of life and living fully.  Fear of what it means for me as an individual and the idea of losing myself.  Fear of becoming just a washed up pile of yoga pants, greasy hair, and no make-up while my mind slowly turns to mush after finger painting or drawing stick figures for the umpteenth time.  Fear of having no professional connections or letting my dreams of writing, getting my Doctorate, and becoming a professor of education fall through the cracks.  Fear of not having intellectual stimulation or inspiration to write.  Fear of what others will think of me as just a stay-at-home-mom or the assumptions that I don't have a "REAL" job.  Fear of hearing someone with good intentions say  "Aww, that is so cute that you get to stay at home with your kids and play all day" and wanting to just eat their face off!  So. Much. Fear. 

I am done living my life with fear and doubt.  I'm done playing life "Safe" and sticking to the rules that others set for me.  I'm ready to dream big and take chances.  I'm ready to live for the NOW and hold close the things that are the most dear to me.  I'm ready to push myself to new limits and decide to not let what others think of me hold me back. 

How did I come to this decision? 

Part of it is because of the words my mom said to me the other day after giving me two books about writing.  I asked her if she thought my blog was stupid and if she thought it looked pathetic that I was a stay-at-home-mom writing a blog.  Here is what she told me in so many words:

"Amanda, NO, I don't think it is stupid and you shouldn't care what others think.  I think this is a step in the right direction to where you want to go.  You've always wanted to be a Mom. You've always wanted to write.  Let this be your start.  We all have different chapters in our life.  Who says that being a teacher is something you have to do with the rest of your life?  It may just have been a chapter and now you are moving on to a new chapter.  Use this time to stay home with your kids for as long as you can.  For now, get better at writing and expressing your voice through blogging and then, when the kids are in school, you can write more.  Who knows what it will lead to.  Use this time to be an artist and create your life in a way you want it to go".  Right then and there a huge weight was lifted. I think it was then, that I really decided in my heart of hearts what I would do.

Katy Jo.  She's one of the biggest inspirations in my life lately and one of the biggest influences in helping me make my decision to give up my teaching job.  Katy is a senior in high school that lives around the corner from me.  Recently she lost her Mom to cancer.  I didn't know Katy until just about a month ago but I already love her and so do my children.  Having her hang out with me and share stories about her mother and her life fill my heart fully.  Talking to her last night on e-mail and today when she came to visit after school made me realize how short life is.  Too short to not do what you love and take advantages of the gifts and opportunities God gives us in life. Before we know it, life will be gone.  Hearing her tell stories of her Dear Mother is teaching me so much. I've learned from her Mother about motherhood through her daughter's stories of love.  Thank you Katy for reminding me just how important my job as a Mother is.  So happy you came into my life. 

All the comments I got yesterday on my blog Clearing Energy Blockages also helped me with this big decision.  One of my readers/followers, Christina at Lazy Bones Running sent me an e-mail today as a follow up conversation that made me realize the importance of making a decision, going with it and embracing the NOW for what it is.  There are always different decisions to make in the future. 

 What hit the nail all the way in my "teaching next year coffin"  was actually a blog I read tonight by SUAR or Shut Up And Run.  It was just a simple posting of a sticker she had made with her blog name on it.  She is giving it away to the first 150 people who mail her their address.  Of course she will get more than 150 people who want a sticker with her blog name on it.  A sticker to remind them of what Beth at SUAR stands for.  A sticker that reminds them of whatever it is that her honest writing means to them.  To me, I want this sticker to remind me to embrace myself for who I am and not worry about what others think.  This post made me realize the power of JUST. BEING. REAL.  I am no longer going to go through life wondering if I made a fool out of myself with my lack of verbal filter or for saying just what I think.  I'm no longer going to fret about those people that are critical of my outside-the-box personality because it makes them feel uncomfortable.  Those people shouldn't matter.  I'm ready to stop putting LIMITS on my life.  That is what SUAR's blog reminds me of. 

Shel Silverstein says it best :

“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”


Anything is possible.  Just because I am deciding to give give up my teaching job and stay at home doesn't mean I'm going to stop making ambitious goals for my life and career.  It doesn't meant that my life just turns into craft time, cheerios, and running kids around.  It just means I'm starting a new chapter in my life!  I feel SO free with this decision.  I feel so happy to have made up my mind and I'm excited to continue to give my ALL to what I do.  I'm ready to be the Mom, the Writer, and the Runner.  Here's to the next chapter in my life! 

Thanks to all of you for the wonderful support and encouragement you have given me.  On all levels...Running, Motherhood, Life. 


Amanda

23 comments:

  1. I applaud you! As a stay at home mom, I get those comments a lot. Wow, must be nice to watch what ever you want and sit on the couch all day..oh if only they knew what my day entailed. It's a full time job 24/7..we don't get vactions or sick days, but I wouldn't change it for the world!! Because I love seeing all of Colin's milestones and it's so worth the stress, the greasy hair, the sweat pants and the no make up days.

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  2. Congrats on the decision!

    One of my favorite Shel poems by far. I've had it memorized since 5th grade.

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  3. Heart you, Amanda. Go for it!

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  4. Cheers. WAY TO GO AMANDA JEAN! Inspiring as ever!

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  5. Very, very happy to read this tonight :)

    When it all seems nutty, just remember your long-term goals. What you pay in now will pay back 100 times later.

    BTW thanks for your kind comments yesterday. I would be very happy to catch your marathon PR pace :) someday!

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  6. I know my mom would be so happy to know that a family like yours is now in my life. It made me feel great knowing that stories of my mom were able to help you through a difficult decision. Thinking about what she would do always helps me!!

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  7. Big decision, but one I know you won't regret. Childhood is so short! Relish the time you have with them. You are their best teacher!

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  8. Such a huge decision...I had to make the same difficult decision years ago when I had my 1st set of twins. It was a tough transition, I won't lie. I had the same fears as you did. I don't regret my decision in the least and it sounds like you won't either!!

    I had to laugh about you mentioning wanting to eat those people's faces off who assume you just sit on the sofa all day long, playing with your kids. If they only knew....being a SAHM is probably the most challenging "job" I've ever had!

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  9. I think we need to come up with a better term then "Stay at home mom", cause honestly...im never at home! Excited for your decision and finally having some peace of mind. And you'll have lots more time to fit in running now too!

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  10. Thanks everyone! Wow, tonight I've received more e-mails, comments and phone calls about this than I expected! I'm so touched by all the encouragement and support.

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  11. Sounds like a big decision. Glad that you finally made it! I am sure that you will be successful in whatever you choose to do.
    Jesse

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  12. First, thanks for stopping by my blog. I meant to say that I was going to put it on my water bottle, but alas, I was typing too fast and I wrote in my water bottle. Hahah...

    And good for you for making that choice. My mom did this after my little brother was born and she took care of us for a few years. Then he started preschool and she went back to work. I think it's all what you make of it and your mom is right, you need to do what's right for you and not care what others think.

    Good luck!

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  13. Congrats...what a great and brave decision!

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  14. I say GREAT decision!
    I've been a work at home mom for the last 8 years and although it's been hard, it's been THE BEST decision ever. The only thing better to me...would be to not have to work in addition to all the jobs of being a stay at home mom, but I have loved being with my kids every step of the way and I know they love it, too!

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  15. Awesome post.

    Love Shel Silverstein. He rocks.

    I like the second photo best. :)

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  16. I don't think you will regret it! There are times when I get overwhelmed with thankfulness when I'm doing something as simple as folding clothes or grocery shopping for my family. I feel VERY blessed have been a stay at home mom. Of course it's not always easy and I sometimes think the grass may be greener doing something else, but time flies, and there will always soon be a new season, like your mom said!

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  17. I think you made a wise and brave decision. I often look at my life and can see what others might interpret as "missed opportunities." I have an Ivy League degree that I've never used. I got married right out of college and had three kids before I was 27. I never "experienced" life in many ways. But, when I look at it, I see all the the opportunities I have gained. I am there everyday for my children. I watch them grow and nurture them. Yes, I may not have a "real" job, but staying at home with them has aloud me to find my true passion - running. And it has allowed me to share that love through my coaching and my blog. And maybe one day, when the time is right, it will be my REAL job. But for now, I take peace in knowing that the decision has been the right one for me. I hope that it is the right one for you too!

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  18. Agreeing with everyone here. It IS a wise and very brave decision. I wish I could've made the same decision before when my daughter was still young but I HAD to work (long story). Now that she's a teenager and I'm finally a stay at home mom, I'm making up for it and enjoying every single day. =)

    Oh and I LOOOOOOVE the 2nd photo =)

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  19. You have to follow your heart and this is the path the heart is leading. I stayed home with the now-20-year old when she was tiny and then when my twins were born, and it was the best thing I ever did. To this day, I still work part time (thought 32 hours) so that I can be home when my boys get home from school. I love it. It means I can't get insurance and that is a problem in itself with a bum heel, but it works for us. I hope you're at peace!!!

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  20. Just awesome. You are on the RIGHT track without a doubt. It gets so exhausting to care what people think and to try to please. I was there for along time. Funny thing is, when you start being authentic, people know it. You are very heartfelt and honest and I love that about you. Also love what your mom said.

    Picture number 2 is the best ever. I've never been a fan of the posed xmas card pictures (probably doesn't surprise you). I always go for the "real" ones.

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  21. I was in the same situation and had to choose between being a part time teacher or being a stay-at-home mom. I had the same fears you did, but in the end, I decided to stay home with my boys. They are only little once, and fortunately, we were able to financially support my decision to stay home.
    It is hard being a SAHM, but I wouldn't change my decision for the world. Yes, I miss teaching. I miss having adult interactions. But, I LOVE being a part of my boys' lives.
    Congrats on your decision!!! :)
    Oh..and I totally think you should use pic. #2 for the x-mas card! It would be awesome!

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  22. I, like you, have always planned on being a mom. More than anything I wanted to be with my children when they were young. We have sacrificed a more decadent lifestyle to accomplish this, but I wouldn't change it. Your kids will love and, someday, really appreciate everything that you do for them by being there for them all time.

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  23. LOVE these honest thoughts! I can really relate to that fear... and I think it's holding me back from the jump into motherhood. I am so afraid of losing myself & the things that make me, "me." The past year has brought a lot of prayer & soul searching on how I define myself. I'm realizing how limiting it is to rely on a job or a hobby to find fulfillment. GOOD FOR YOU for taking a leap of faith. Inspiring for sure!

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