Growing up we used to listen to Dr. Laura on the radio. She always says about herself that "I am my kid's mom." I thought, "duh," of course you are your son's mom, but it wasn't until recently that I truly understood the gravity of this phrase.
When people ask me if I'm going back to the teaching profession, as I have now taken an indefinite leave, I often joke around by saying that my one little babe keeps me busier than my 29 third graders. But in all seriousness, Christian parenthood is a sacred vocation. At Avila's baptism we promised to raise her in the truth's of the Catholic faith and we also desire our children to develop their intellectual and physical character to their full potential. Before Michael and I even got married we had the big discussion of career and family. This was an important conversation as my heart tugged me in two directions - one being to stay home full-time and be the primary person to raise our children based on our desires listed above, and two, the fact that I also felt called to ministry in a large capacity. However, to steal a line from Cheaper by the Dozen, no success - whether material or even spiritual - is worth it if it means sacrificing the well-being of my family. So, when we got pregnant (a bit before the "plan"...haha) this decision came to a head. And in my heart, I immediately knew the decision we needed to make.
This past June I cleaned out my classroom. Avila sat, somewhat contently, watching me pack up books and teaching material. I knew I was leaving a school I loved and people I loved working with. But the then 3 month old beckoned me to a new calling - one that was not necessarily valued in the eyes of this world, but one that meant everything to our little girl. She, along with our future children, needs Michael and I to influence her more than we can influence others and what better way to put my talents to use than to raise our children. As a teacher of children of all ages, I knew that the true teaching moments were not found in the textbooks or in any lesson. But rather they were found in the everyday encounters and experiences of a child. From getting left out by friends to instigating harm of their own, it is in these moments that children learn character and what type of person to be. And more than anything in the world, I want to be the teacher of these principles to our children.
Making the commitment to be at home, tending to our family from this new vantage point, has been an incredible blessing. We have had to rightly sacrifice a lot, watching the dollars pretty closely, but I wouldn't trade the first smiles and spilled carrots for anything. (And yes, I get them all on video for papa!) The somewhat mundane - of making the bed, wiping spit up, and changing diapers - has become my new path to holiness - a path that has shown itself to be working!
As we continue to add children to our family I pray that God will always keep in front of me the virtue of sacrifice and putting our family's needs before my own. It's not easy, as insatiability for material wealth is at the root of our culture, however if we can trust in Him He will provide for all our needs.