Dealing with Regrets While Making the Most of the Present
My husband asked me the other day if I was happy with my decision to stay at home. I can honestly say I am. I am more relaxed and I'm hoping that is rubbing off on my children. For one thing, I know our afternoons run more smoothly and there are less melt downs - from my sons AND me! They no longer have to wait for me to finish up in my classroom after school and on early dismissal days or get dragged to my classroom on teacher work days. I am able to attend their school events if and when I want to. We are all more relaxed at homework time, and we're enjoying each others' company more, especially on weekends since I get all the cleaning and errands done during the week!
However, I can't help but agonize over the fact that I missed out on all those years when I was working, when I could have been home with my sons. I know what they say about not being able to change the past so don't dwell on it, and I'm trying not to. However, I resent the fact that I missed out on school functions, had to drag my kids to school on their days off, and was exhausted by the time it came for me to help MY OWN children with schoolwork. I was never a room mom, never planned a classroom party, or got to volunteer on Field Day to see my sons compete.
I still think back to when my youngest was in preschool three days a week and I decided to accept a 5-day position at school. My mom watched him on the two days I was working, and I know that was wonderful for both of them. My mother treasured that time, but those are days I missed and will never have back. He is ten now and I still think about that, so, yes, it's weighed heavily on my heart ever since. I was home with his older brother, and feel guilty he didn't receive the same time.
I suppose I thought I was helping my family in a different way -and I know I was. But, if I could go back and change one thing, that would it. I would not have worked full-time until both boys were in Kindergarten or later. I realize taking that position opened many, many doors for me. I know that was the path that was meant for me, but in hindsight.......
When I resigned this past May, a colleague asked me if I needed to work - not in the financial sense, he emphasized - but for my mental health. I suppose that is yet to be answered for sure, but I know I am loving my new role as a full-time mom and know that I will have plenty of opportunity to work in the future. For now, I'm making the most of each day with my sons.
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