Like me, Jackie is a former teacher turned at-home mom. I have to admit that I never really thought about things in the way that she puts them for today’s guest post feature. She’ll make you think, too. Welcome Jackie of Not Wifezilla.
Making the decision to stay home was easy for me. However coming to terms with my new identity, that was the struggle. I never thought a conversation with my seven year old neighbor would have helped me embrace the new way I define myself.
Talking to my neighbor about school, my former teacher self always comes to the surface. As the school year comes to a close, I can’t help but ask a plethora of questions.
How did you like first grade?
Did you have a fun year?
Did you like your teacher?
Are you excited to be a second grader?
In the midst of these questions, she catches me off guard,
“Aren’t you glad school is over too?”
Of course, I am a bit confused. Why would I have an opinion on the end of the school year? I am happy for her and all the other kids on the block as summer vacation is just around the corner. I sympathize with the teachers, cooped up in their classrooms, dealing with all the end of the year paperwork that needs to be done.
Am I glad the school year is over?
“Well, yes I guess.” I respond.
“Are you sad to leave your class?”
It is then, in that question, I get it. She knew I HAD been a first grade teacher, and just assumed I was still doing it.
Quickly I clarify, “Well, J I haven’t been a teacher this year or last year. I have been home with Mo & Maeve.”
Nodding her head she continues, “So, you’ll go back next year?”
“Uh, no. I resigned.”
“Well what does that mean?”
I go through some eloquent explanation telling J that my decision to stop teaching gave me the opportunity to stay home with the girls. I explain how while I loved what I did, staying home was the right fit for our family. I go on and on.
Apparently this definition falls on deaf ears when she pauses for a moment then responds, “Oh, so you quit!”
GASP! I did no such thing. I did not quit!
I quit soccer at ten because of a sexist coach.
I quit piano because I despised practicing.
I quit field hockey in high school because frankly I sucked, but I didn’t quit a job I loved.
Resigning isn’t quitting.
Resigning keeps relationships grown over eight years intact with many families and co-workers.
Resigning demonstrates integrity.
Resigning is professional while quitting,
well, it’s not.
I am professional.
I made an informed decision to stop teaching, and with the submission of my resignation letter I terminated my tenure at my former school district.
I’m not a quitter.
But, in this moment I realize to a 7 year old, that’s exactly what I am. There is no difference between resigning and quitting in her vocabulary. To her, I’m just a quitter.
It’s all semantics anyway, right?
Like any kid, within in minutes I know that this conversation left J’s brain. Absorbed in chalk drawing or playing with her friend, her life goes on. Summer is just around the corner, and her thoughts of school will soon flee her brain for all the fun associated with the warm weather.
For me this day, this conversation is a defining moment in my life.
This, the first time I say out loud that I chose quitting my job to staying home with my kids.
I guess, now I can be called a quitter.
I’m okay with that and I only hope my kids will thank me for it someday.