Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about my purpose. What are the things that I am really passionate about? One of the things that prompted this is the dissatisfaction I have in my work life. I work in a busy early childhood program. I work with children from ages six weeks to five-years-old, but spend the majority of my time in the one-year-old and preschool classrooms. Due to the hours I am working, most of my work day consists of changing diapers, cleaning and putting children to sleep at nap time. Not to mention putting winter gear on 14 children before they go outside is pure torture. Most of the time, I can’t do the things I love most about teaching. I used to enjoy planning creative activities, playing with children and seeing the moments of enlightenment.
I’ll admit something changed after Rosebud was born. All I wanted to do is be home with my daughter. I didn’t want to be with someone else’s children when I couldn’t be with my own. That feeling never goes away. At least not for me. That is what I’m most passionate about. Being a mom and watching my child grow and learn. I am thankful that I got to see her first steps and hear her first words. I’ve been able to change my schedule so I can spend more time with her than I did in her first year. Working in the one-year-old classroom has made me realize something. A group of ten one-year-olds were never meant to be thrown together in a classroom. They were meant to be at home with their families. I know for many families that’s not an option. I’m all too aware of the struggles of working parents and making ends meet. This is a societal problem. Although there are quality programs out there, the majority of children aren’t getting the attention they need or deserve to flourish.
Since I can’t be home with my daughter, I have come to the realization that the classroom is not a good fit for me. I’ve gained a lot of experience and knowledge over the past decade that I would like to use to help others. Some of my interests are in the areas of research, curriculum design or being an instructor for adults taking early childhood education courses. that way I could use my knowledge and experiences to improve the lives of children without working directly in the classroom. I feel that that is more aligned with the person I am becoming.
One very important lesson I’ve learned is that it’s okay to change your mind. You can take a different road even if you’ve traveled the same road for miles. I’ve often regretted my decision to work in early childhood. I often wish I’d have picked something else. Something higher paying, less stressful, less demanding, but then I wouldn’t have gained the experiences that have been so valuable in caring for Rosebud. I wouldn’t have had the confidence in my ability to parent. I wouldn’t have met some of the wonderful children who have crossed my path. I wouldn’t have played my part in making my classrooms a safe place where children are happy. These days, I don’t feel I provide that warmth and brightness as I once did so now I begin a new journey.
It’s going to be a climb because I feel overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed with all the steps I need to take to start over and planning my transition into something new. There will be networking, second thoughts, focusing on my writing, maybe there will be more education or training and did I mention second thoughts? The only way to make this happen is if I push myself. Break it down into small achievable goals and go! Always remember, you can start over and reinvent at any point. You have not failed. You have learned and grown. You have said, this is no longer serving me and when you are ready for change, it starts with one small step.