Quitting Work to Homeschool

wpid-IMAG1859-1-1.jpgLet me just say, if I did not have children, I would not have stopped working as a physician.  I loved working as a medical doctor.  The challenge of acquiring mass loads of information.  Applying the information to patients.  Recognizing patients as individuals and trying to get through to them in a way they could understand.  And accept.  Looking at a chart with loads of data and sorting it into a problem list.  Figuring out how to address each problem to correct it.  Realizing fixing one problem may not be the answer–but make things worse.

On top of this, throw in phones and pagers that make you aware of codes (crashing patients).  Lets the emergency department call you for admissions.  Lets nurses call you about lab values or new changes in your patients.  Lets pharmacists call you about drug interactions or non-formulary drug choices.  Lets other doctors call you to discuss admitting or consulting on their patients.  Throw in new-computer charting that must be learned and navigated.  Occasional meetings.  New governmental regulations.  And it’s just one of the most challenging and fulfilling jobs around.

But I chose to have kids.  Three in fact.  Four if you count a miscarriage.  First kid–kept working full-time.  Second kid–cut back to three days per week.  Third kid–two days per week or less.  I had the perfect job and coworkers.  Loved the work.  Loved the flexible schedule.  Was still able to squeeze homeschooling in, although barely.  My loving in-laws traveled from Charleston, SC to Sumter, SC to watch the girls for us when I worked.  But it got tougher and tougher to manage the household, marriage, kids, homeschooling, and life in general.  Life was getting hectic.  Not so much fun.

I knew I had to make a choice.  For me, there really is no choice but my family.  I chose them.  I created them.  Without me, they would not exist.  My parents gave up everything for me.  Made me know I was numero uno.  That’s what I want for my girls.  A healthy life.  Healthy emotions.  Healthy spirits.  Healthy psychology.  I intend to do everything in my power to build them into strong, healthy women who are discerning towards themselves and others.  With strong ethics and principles.  That doesn’t come from an absent mother and father.  A mother and father driven to perfect their careers, their giving to others–but not giving to their own dearest families.  I may fail in my endeavors, but I could never, ever live with myself if I didn’t give of my best to them.  If I didn’t go down trying to give them what I think they need to achieve inner peace, love, and happiness.

Luckily for us, my husband is an orthopedic surgeon.  Our bills get paid.  Would I make the same decision to stay home and homeschool my kids if finances were an issue?  My emergency medicine doctor friend asks me this repeatedly.  Her husband is a chemist and work isn’t so easy to find for him.  The salary not so great.  She has moved from part-time to full-time.  Moved from homeschooling her children to moving them to private schools.  Listening to her life makes me cower in a corner, sweating.  The juggling act of her life, well, I’m sorry, but it sucks.  I want nothing to do with it.

But giving up years of study, work, and diligence, though, is daunting.  No longer belonging to the ranks of white coats and stethoscopes.  No longer discussing critical lab values and issues with your medical peers.  No longer talking with families, breaking hard news to them.  My orders no longer followed and respected.  Not healing patients.  Not being the “fixer.”  Not being known for doing a good, thorough job.  Not touching the lives of numerous people daily.

Being relegated from Dr. Fites to Dr. Fites’s wife, well, a lot too humbling.  Yeah.  Doctor’s wife.  Fingers on a chalkboard.  A lot too humbling.

Being at a total loss to decide what to do, I pined for a sign to know whether to quit or not.  I wrote up a letter of resignation and as I turned it in, the manager told me something like:  “I don’t want to see it.  We’re raising your salary.  You may work fewer hours if you need to.”  I wanted to stop working, and they were willing to make it easier for me to keep working.  I had wanted a sign.  Surely this was it.  It must not be time to stop.  Right?  I went with it.  I continued my slow work pace until we moved to South Dakota for my husband’s job.  Then, I just never made the initiative to look for a job here:  1) I wasn’t going to find a job like I had.  2)  No decision is a decision.  Unable to decide if I wanted to work, I chose not to work by choosing to not job search.

I have not worked for about 20 months now.  It took about a year to be okay with it.  And what I had to get over was my pride.  My desire for society’s approval of me as a worthy individual because of what I did professionally.   “Do you stay at home?”  “Well, yes…” It seems groping to add on, “…but I’m really a medical doctor.”  As far as being with my children daily and teaching them, I absolutely love it.  It is just as challenging as medicine, just in a different way.  It is what I want for them, and to provide that, I need to be around daily.  Our house usually runs smoothly, or as smoothly as it can with kids underfoot all day.  I miss taking care of patients, but I am finding lots, lots more time to read up on areas of medicine I’ve never approached before.  And that is exciting.  Perhaps my medical path will bud in a different way in the future.

But how did I know it was time to move on and move out [of medicine]?

1.  Persistent edginess and irritation at my family.  After a 12-13 hour shift, I would walk in the door to excited screams, yells, and hugs.  A loving, adoring family.  I was supposed to be happy about this, right?  Right.  But I wasn’t.  I’d try to quietly sneak in the back door and tiptoe straight upstairs to shower and change my clothes, hoping nobody would hear me and come up with greetings.  De-germed–now I was ready to hang out with the family, right?  Nope.  My fast lunch had been metabolized, and I was starving and wanted to eat in peace and quiet.  Now?  No.  I wanted to open the mail without interruptions.  I wanted the kitchen and family room cleaned up before bedtime.  I just wanted to be left alone.  All day the pager/phone attached to my hip had gone off interrupting nearly everything I did–patient admissions, patient rounds, checking labs, writing notes.  I was tired and tired of my own thoughts being interrupted.  Can’t they just leave me alone tonight?  Can’t you just get them into bed without me?  Well, not really.  You are the mom.  Hmph.  If I was off the next day, things were no better.  I was playing catch-up and needed to get things done:  answer business-related calls that inevitably came in while I worked, pay bills and respond to paperwork that somehow only arrived when I worked, run errands, and clean the house up from by absence.  There was no warm-fuzzy time with the kids.  There was too much TV time.  Why couldn’t everybody just leave me alone so I could get my “work” done?

2.  Feelings of guilt.  My heart would always sink when I saw Katie’s (my coworker) number on my ringing phone.  Work was so good about not pestering me to work much more than my part-time schedule.  But, occasionally, they needed coverage and they were down to me.  Katie was also a physician–a mother of three.  Full-time.  PTA president.  Staunch, active worker/member of the Junior League.  And she was asking me to work.  I almost always said “no”, feeling exceptional guilt.  Katie did it.  Katie would pick up a shift.  Or two shifts.  Or an overnight call.  Will would pick up a shift.  Bee would pick up a shift.  Surely I could pick up a shift to help my partners out.  They all work so hard.  Here I am cherry-picking my shifts.  What gives me the right.  I need to “man up” and be a real doctor.  I felt guilty to say “no” to more work.

But I also felt extreme guilt to say “yes.”  The angel on my other shoulder was shouting, “You’ll be grouchy.  You won’t be patient with your kids.  Heck, you won’t even see your kids.  You’ll be irritated with your husband.  You won’t get the homeschool lessons covered.  Say no.  Say no.  Don’t do it.  You’ve got a stack of paperwork piling up on the kitchen counter.  You said you’d have a playdate with Adam and Jo this week.  Your kids need you.  Your husband needs you.  You need some peace and quiet.  Just because Katie does it, doesn’t make it right for your family.”

3.  Inability to let entropy reign in housework.  Entropy is a scientific law.  All things will fall to a state of disorder.  I always justify my constant housework by saying it keeps me at my ideal body weight.  I call it “defying entropy”, and I laughingly say it’s healthy.  But I won’t sit down until the house is in order.  And if you’ve been gone for a few days for 12-13 hour shifts, the house has succumbed to entropy.  I don’t like it, and it takes a day to get it back into my definition of working order.  I do wonder if I would find working easier if I was one of those people who could live with clutter and chaos around them.  Maybe I could work short morning shifts and homeschool in the afternoon.  And if the house fell apart, the cleaners in the top of the closet were falling out on my head when I opened the door, and the laundry 8 loads behind–well, no big deal.  It’ll keep.  And I know it will keep.  But I am not wired to let it go.  And I was neglecting my kids after working to try to get the house back into shape, meanwhile internally berating my in-laws inability to keep things up the way I did.

4.  There’s no Mary Poppins.  Many a working mom can sing the sob-story of not finding good, reliable child-care.  When family lives close enough–in our situation they’d drive 2 hours and spend a night or two–at least you know the kids are being watched by people who love them dearly.  However, that puts grandparents in the situation of babysitter rather than grandparent.  Many aren’t very good at that.  “No” doesn’t roll as often as it should.  And they’re getting older.  Once you start having two, three kids, you see the grandparents’ stamina plummet.  It’s hard for them to get down on the floor and get up off the floor.  Multi-tasking less easy.  Afternoon naps more vital–okay if all the kids take a nap, not so much when the older ones drop their nap.  Somehow computer keys get completely removed from a laptop keyboard, great-grandma’s china gets rearranged in the dining room cabinets (unbeknownst to grandma or grandpa), boxed up wedding veils get removed from their boxes after 10 years of dormancy.  And, oh, the mess–in the kitchen, the bedrooms, the living room.

But ignore the mess.  Ignore the too much TV.  Focus on reliability and responsibility.  For real…What happens when you’re supposed to be at work at 6:30 in the morning and the sitter calls at 6:10 to say she’s puking and can’t make it?  What then?  You’re husband is already in the OR.  Or another one calls from the hospital because she’s having chest pain and ends up with coronary stents.  What then?  What do you think when you host an end-of-the-year preschool pool party and a working friend has sent her child with a younger nanny/sitter of good repute–and the sitter is sitting under the umbrella with her back turned talking on her cell phone WHILE THE CHILD IS IN THE POOL?  What do you think?  I’ve watched smaller-sized daycare owners bring kids to the park.  As I’m pushing my daughters on the swing, the woman has plunked down on a bench to read a book and the kids scatter to play.  One of her wards comes up to her, “Will you push me on the swing?”  I can’t hear the answer, but she keeps reading her book, and the child runs off to play elsewhere.

5.  Homeschooling began taking up lots more time.  I chose to homeschool before the kids were even born.  Didn’t really think about the implications of that on my career.  Wouldn’t change it anyway.  Getting the kids home to Indiana to the farm and knowing grandparents took precedent over anything else.  Didn’t believe in pulling my kids out of class for a “vacation”, either.  I’m just not too thrilled with the example that sets for them.  So when the time came for kindergarten, we homeschooled.  That was a fun, easy year.  Then first grade and second grade came along and my student could actually do some math and write.  I needed to read a bit to figure out how to present reading and writing to her.  Needed to plan ahead.  Needed to sit with her and read the worksheets to her.  Needed to be doing read-alouds with her.  Work began cutting into our homeschool schedule.  We weren’t getting it done.  I tried giving worksheets to the grandparents, but they didn’t get done.  In their behalf, we also had another nanny for a bit, and she didn’t even give the worksheets to my daughter.  Didn’t even give them to her!  I had asked her to just hand them to Mary for Mary to work on her own.  Didn’t happen.  So if homeschooling was going to happen, I had to be there.

6.  Concern about my kids’ second guessing my priorities.  What are my priorities?  Taking care of other people or taking care of my kids?  Time with my kids and family or stuff for my kids and family?  As a doctor, and I’m sure in other fields, as well,  it’s easy to take care of other people–pick up another shift, pick up another call, answer pages off-work hours, run in to see a patient you’ve grown attached to, discuss health problems outside the office at a birthday party, go to a meeting about the new charting system, leave the Valentine’s Day party early to help your partners finish rounds on an exceptionally busy day.  And the question of my ER friend rings in my ears, “What if your husband only brought in X amount of dollars…would you give up medicine then?”  Would I?  I don’t know.  We try to keep it pretty simple here.  No boats.  No video games.  No Coach purses (are those still around?).  My mini-van from fellowship is 7-years strong with a few more years to go!  Our 2 flat screen TVs are smaller than the average-joe’s.  But we have them.  And we love to travel.  And grass-fed beef and free-range chickens aren’t cheap.  So I don’t know.  But, in our given situation, my kids would have clearly seen that I was working to nurture other people and not them.  And unfortunately for them, my parents never had enough for a trip to Disney World, Pasta sweaters, and video games.  But we had enough.  And I love my childhood and wouldn’t trade it for anybody else’s!  So you won’t see me going to work for a boat or a back-patio remodel.

7.  Work days were never convenient.  No matter when they came around, work days always interfered with something.  Homeschool co-op day.  Preschool parties.  Doctor appointments.  Birthdays.  And they always seemed to get sick on my work days.  Croup.  Fevers.  Gastroenteritises.  Work just seemed to interfere!

8.  Things flow more smoothly when one of us stays home.  When a kid gets sick, I am home.  When a tax paper has to be run in, I can do it.  A dentist appointment–check.  Kids in need of a bit more discipline–I’ve got the energy.  Bills are paid on time.  Paperwork pile gone through once weekly.  House picked up.  Usually have food in the house and on the table.  Underwear aplenty in the drawers.  Kids to practices on time.  Get some quiet time with my husband every now and then.  Have time to read about health-related matters helping our family.  For us, it made more sense for me to stay home with the kids.  I have more patience.  I made less money.  I had less technical skills to lose.  We have the utmost respect for both roles in our house.  I know I could not stay home if my husband didn’t treat me as an equal.  I could not do it if he ever expressed that my role was inferior to his.  My complaints about cooking, laundry, and school, he treats as openly and importantly as if it was his work.

Well, I’m rambling on too long.  Kids are awake and all over the place like monkeys.  So I’d better tend to them.  I love what I do, and staying home was the right decision for us.  Probably not for everyone.  If you have any questions about giving up your job for your kids or homeschooling, ask away!  Although the decision to stay home wasn’t tough, the mental process of giving up work to stay home for me was.  When I was trying to decide whether to stop working or not, I Googled and Googled looking for insight.  Here, on the other side, is my insight!  Best wishes to you!

27 thoughts on “Quitting Work to Homeschool

  1. Kathy

    Glad I found your site. I am a physician and have extreme guilt about working while homeschooling. I also have (less) guilt about not working as much as my partners. My husband just started his own business and I can’t leave right now. I don’t know if I will ever be able to leave. It worked better 4 years ago when they were younger. As they age I feel like they need the emotional support more. Glad you were able to make it work.

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thanks, Kathy! Luckily, it does work for us. I think the abrupt move across the country for my husband’s job forced my hand. Otherwise, I kept feeling too guilty, as I watched my partners (well, I can’t really call them partners, can I, as I was only part-time) literally slave away. A few months ago, I had thought about looking for a job with minimal hours because it was “getting easier” to homeschool. I’m glad you commented on the emotional support needed–reminded me that this comfort time is just a nice phase. (Plus, then, I got pregnant. Geesh, how did that happen–LOL!) Thanks for commenting, and I am wishing the best for you and your family.

      Reply
  2. Rebecca

    Thank you for this post. I am a paediatric Occupational Therapist and run my own business whilst studying my PhD. I am sitting here today suppose to be completing admin and have two girls home from school today absolutely exhausted due to an underlying genetic condition. Homeschooling is an idea we have toyed with for years, but after a very very stressful month for our family and pushing me to the point of burnt out I am asking myself why not? I love what i do for work. I am good at it. I have a great reputation as a specialist in my field. But not at the expense of our family. I love being able to help students succeed….. but what about my own daughter who is struggling and misses so much school? What am I doing for her? She is too exhausted after school to do the remediation work needed due to a system failing her (Australian age based progression). So is she just going to go through school and not reach her full potential or have sound skills for life all because i am too busy fixing everyone else’s children? Why? Our home life is so stressful as both hubby and myself juggle so many balls that one slight thing to throw out live out and we drop everything in a crashing heap…. Life i so much more than this ans shouldn’t be this stressful.

    So thank you so much for speaking so directly to me through this post. I know it is not going to happen right away. I have so much to do (unfortunately even homeschooling in Australia is very heavily regulated). But i actually feel at ease about doing it.

    Reply
  3. JM

    I love your “rambles” so therapeutic for me. I just read through this whole post and all comments in one sitting. I, too something like “quit good job homeschool identity loss”. And here I found you! Thank you! I am 2 weeks into homeschool my 8 year-old (almost 9) who is in second grade and wondering if I did the right thing. I am even feeling a little depressed. We had to pull her out and restart kindergarten a year late because she wasn’t academically or emotionally ready (as agreed upon by her teacher and myself and dad).

    Fast forward, she struggled in first grade. She complained about not making friends, she complained about being embarrassed because she didn’t understand the work. She cried a lot. Near the end of first grade, I am working with her on practicing her spelling words. I noticed she got them right if she looked at my face when I said the word and wrong if she was looking down at her paper. OH MY GOSH! She failed the hearing test at birth. A few infant hearing tests didn’t work because of fluid on the inner ear. At 18 months we had tubes put in. I guessed the problem was solved (I feel horribly guilty about not asking the right questions). Anyway, after the spelling practice incident we got her right to an audiologist- bilateral hearing loss on the cusp of moderate/severe. No structural abnormalities, no reason why she has it, no surgery can cure it.She got her hearing aids a week before first grade ended.

    Fast forward, second grade. We do a 504 plan, the teacher gets the FM. My daughter isn’t catching up. I am weary of getting the nasty notes home on her paper because she couldn’t ‘ger’ it in class and the teacher wants me to add on MORE homework and teach her, etc. I am weary of calling the school over and over and over forcing them to follow the anti-bullying laws because she is being bullied. I find out the teacher is not wearing the FM!! I am heartbroken when she steps off the school bus sobbing-looking up at me with her glasses slipping down her nose, her hearing aids blinking-she looks a mess “mommy it was just such a bad day, I am so happy to see you”. Then, I make (I guess) the mistake of asking for her to be tested for a learning disability-she has failed math for 2 years. After I made that request, it was like a witch hunt ensued. The school psychologist called me to berate me and let me know hearing loss isn’t a disability at her level of loss, that she doesn’t fall into the bottom 10% on standardized tests so they will not be doing any testing for special education. Her teacher’s attitude toward me completely changed. I started researching and found that the schools in my district are expected to make a profit each year to get raises and supplies. Special education kids cost the school twice as much as ‘regular’ students (approx 24K a year) so the more special education kids, the less the profits. What??? I was just over fighting them. I knew they were breaking education laws in my state and I just did not have it in me to fight anymore-which is NOT like me.

    Meanwhile, I am going to work as a state director of drug treatment centers, I am a licensed counselor, I have been at my job 20 years (no retirement). Over the years I have had to leave my kids to travel for work. I have older kids 26, 17, 15. It was painful leaving them to travel for work, but felt I had no choice I had to feed them and there was no other job in my field that even paid close to what I was making. So, the tipping point: 4 weeks ago, I was leaving for a work trip. I tiptoed around the house to not wake my daughter because I cannot say goodbye to her when I leave for work trips, it’s too painful. She wakes up and cries “mommy don’t go, I am just going to miss you so much”. What the h*** am I doing? I am sobbing, she’s sobbing. I have to peel her off me and get to the airport and I miss my flight anyway. I pay for another flight to not have to fly standby (I don’t want my boss mad at me). That evening in the hotel room I wrote my resignation letter and emailed it. I have worked for this family owned business so long I was able to get very personal and honest because we have that kind of relationship “I have failed my daughter for 8 years. I can’t continue to pick money over her wellbeing”. I don’t make near as much as a doctor, but I make 6 figures, I worked approx 7am-2pm (sweet hours, huh?). I considered getting a nanny to homeschool her, but I thought then I could end up in the same place-where the nanny is doing as crappy a job as the school/teachers and I am back at square one. Also, I was losing my passion for my job. Yes, the mission is important. But, I was no longer doing counseling, it was all administrative, and hiring and firing people. I, too have been judgmental about those SAHM moms. I saw them at the library on occasion or at parks for the mommy and me groups. I felt so much more superior then them and thought if they had my college education they wouldn’t sit at home. sigh. But, also secretly jealous that they had freedom and didn’t have to punch a clock.

    So, I am 2 weeks into it and I am doubting myself. The hardest part for me is my identity. I have been the breadwinner in my last marriage and current. I have made more money then my husband our whole marriage. It was my martyrdom/poor me/I am superior to you. My husband is a union electrician. He gets laid off..a lot. The money is good, lots of overtime, then no work for a month. This is a huge leap of faith for me. I think it will make or break or marriage. He will either step up the side jobs during lay offs, or he won’t and we can’t pay the bills. I am pretty sure if I have to go back to work because he won’t make enough to pay the bills (not can’t, won’t) it will end our marriage. That’s a whole other issue (money fears). I have already cut back on A LOT so we can make this work, but he has to step up.

    Meanwhile, I keep thinking what all of you said, is it OK to be “just” a homeschool mom? Oh and I tried to hang out with other homeschool moms today and I was very uncomfortable, not a good fit with me or my daughter and their violent (hitting each other with sticks in the face at the park and not being told to stop). Never in a million years would I have thought I would quit my job to homeschool, I still can’t believe it’s happening. She says she is happy she is homeschool, but misses kids who she can have laughs with.. I will remain hopeful, we will find our fit, our rhythm, and I will get OK with being a homeschool mom (not a homeschool mom with a masters degree and a license and a…). BTW, I keep secretly sending out my resume. I don’t know why.

    Thankfully, we have a playdate from one of my ex-coworkers daughters who is the same age and also hearing impaired this weekend.

    Reply
    1. Hélène

      2 take aways
      You dont want to hs. Might I even gander your identity is wrapped up in your earning power? IDK.
      You feel you are forced, evenso, to hs.
      Your marraige is a different issue, yet implicitly tied to this.
      Your effort is going to be in vain if you can’t resolve foundational things. Our society pushes institutional schooling, so you must have it within you, a deep belief, to go outside that with any success. Everyone else is rooting for you to fail so they feel better about their choice not to hs. Trust me. This can’t be a response to emotionalism, your heartbreak at leaving her that morning, etc.
      We hslers tho are rooting FOR you, FOR your precious daughter. For your marriage. Find your place. 🙂

      Reply
      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        You’re right, Helene (I’m learning currently how to get those accents on my keyboard. Tried alt0233 and tried control/alt/letter–but not good. Might try getting the international keyboard in place…), we homeschoolers ARE rooting for JM’s family! Homeschoolers believe in leading children to success!!!

      2. Hélène

        The intl keyboad is already on your computer. Just go in control panel n enable it. Then for é, you push the apostrophe key and then the e key. For è, push the key with the tilde and the backwards apostrophe under it and then the e key. These accent keys work for any letter to accent it. There are other symbols now enabled with the intl keyboard also â, ö, ç, ñ, etc.
        Just my contribution to educating the workd, one computer at a time 🙂

      3. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Hello again! The beginning of you comment looked like maybe something was copied and pasted? It didn’t take. If that’s the case, bummer. I would have liked to have seen it. If that’s not the case, well then, just a bunch of computer code there at the top!——

        Hélène, I got the keyboard! The route to get it added was sneaky and hiding. Found it by accident, although tried to follow all kinds of internet instructions. I had to click on my US English keyboard icon, and then it offered other English keyboards as well. Important thing, I got it! I need to learn to use it so I can teach my daughter who sometimes has to type in Spanish.

        Sexist, huh? I often laugh that my life looks crazy traditional, but my route to getting there was feminist, but in my own defined way. Never the world’s way. I want women to be truly happy (like you say, when you’re knee-deep in manure and it’s dripping down your face, that’s when the important, happy things shine back at you like a hot, inviting washcloth—and it’s not career, money, and cars but “the other”– our relationships), not constrained by other women’s ideas of what should/shouldn’t be. That’s anti-feminism all over again disguised in female form. And that’s disgusting. Women constraining women instead of cheering them on to find their way, to explore new ideas for themselves, to not be afraid to envelop old ideas as beautiful and worthy, to not be afraid to live life loving and sharing care (which women are often so good at!).

        Okay. Rambling. Hope you got supper ready!

      4. Hélène Gómez

        blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } Yay! Its so simple to do the keyboard but no one ever does it lolThe old paths are the most fulfilling, Ive found. Kyna why theyve lasted till the very recent past in human history, eh 😉

    2. Hélène

      Hi JM, how are you doing? For some reason your comment was found in my inbox again (I had subscribed to the post) and I reread it. How did it work with your precious daughter?
      I had to laugh when reading about your superior feeling when you looked at moms in libraries, etc (I know you were just being honest, no judgement). I look at moms at parks or libraries or walking trails around town and feel so inferior to them as I have to work and my kids dont get enough of my time. Those moms have husbands who give them the privilege of being a mom who gets more than 2 hrs in the evening with their babies. Thats all I see, not moms who arent educated or who dont know what they are missing by not having that career.
      Its so interesting to see others’ viewpoints. We can understand each other so much better then! I do hope you have found an answer for your child’s needs.

      Reply
  4. crystal

    Thank you Terri for taking the time to reply. I know that you are also very busy and time is precious, so I am very appreciative!

    “I always said God did it wrong for women. Kids should have come later for us. Not earlier. Just not fair. But since that’s the way He did it, then that’s what we got.”

    So much THIS!!! I have desired to be a mom ever since I can remember. And I feel especially drawn to have a large family. If I’d known in my 20s what I know now, I would’ve started having kids sooner, but I kept waiting until we could “afford” them, which we still probably can’t! I turn 38 this year. Without going into too much detail, I think one thing that is complicating my desires at this moment is this urgency I feel with my “biological clock” for lack of better terminology. My family experienced a significant loss during this past year amidst all of the stress of getting my husband through his LPN-RN year of school. We had a surprise pregnancy. It was awful timing, but we were very happy about increasing our family. We gave birth to a baby girl at 20 weeks gestation this past January. She had developed to about 15-16 weeks before she passed away in utero. I realize that maybe this seemingly has nothing to do with this conversation. But in my perfectionist mind, it does. Before we lost her, we were going to have her in June of this year. I was going to be home with the new baby and my other kids during the summer and then start school this fall. And we’d have our fourth and be on our way to that “large” family that seems to be a desire for us. It all seemed so perfect. So starting the nursing program now, well, that sort of means trying not to have a baby for the next few years. And I’ll be 40 when I’m done with the program. And the reality is that fertility is not a predictable thing. Yes, women have babies into their forties, but there’s no guarantee that my body will do that. And I know that I will never regret another baby, but I will regret ones that I didn’t have. But my husband and I both feel a desire to adopt – perhaps from foster care or perhaps kids from another country who could benefit from medical resources available in our country. I don’t know. But I do know that if I don’t continue with my educational plan, we may never have the resources to adopt. Maybe this is actually how God is going to make a large family reality for us? I really wish that he’d share his entire blueprint with me!

    I agree with what you’ve said about prayer and tiny steps. Interestingly, this path wasn’t on my radar even a year and a half ago. But when trying to find a job to support the family last year while my hubby completed his schooling, one thing sort of led to another. Every attempt to get a decent job was met with a door slammed in my face. And every step towards school was met with doors flung wide open – including finding a full funding source for my education. I have all tuition, fees, books, supplies, etc…covered for my nursing program for the next two years. So I will be able to obtain this degree with no student loan debt. It almost feels like it’s all lined up too perfectly not to proceed. Then again, I do believe that a path can be wide open for someone and still not be the right one. If we simply looked to circumstances and opportunity as our guide without taking other factors into account, we’d probably make some poor choices. So I try not to read into this ease with which this path was dropped into my lap too much.

    I love what you have to say about the schooling. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Charlotte Mason homeschooling? It’s lots of literature and narration. So it sounds similar to what you’ve mentioned. I’ve already decided that if I continue on the RN school path, we will focus on the 3 R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic) and just chip away at the reading list with our program as time allows(Ambleside Online), rather than try to get through a year’s reading list “on time.” I figure we can always add things later once I’m through the schooling part, which I know will be pretty intense.

    I have a lot to consider. I know there are many homeschooling RN moms out there who cut back to part-time or PRN and basically just work enough to maintain their license. This is something I see as a good option for me. Though I see midwifery as my ultimate goal, I’m okay staying at the RN level for awhile and gaining experience and waiting to pursue the midwifery part when all of my kids are older. So I’ll be a “granny” midwife! So in a way I see this as an intermediate step towards a future goal, even if I cut back and work very little after the RN step.

    I also agree with your thoughts on marriage. Yes – kids deserve to have parents who are in love. While my husband and I have certainly climbed some crazy obstacles together and worked as a team, the constant stress of him being in school and little financial means and our loss this last year has taken its toll. Truthfully, I cope better with school busyness, studying, and testing than my husband does. So I’m hoping that as he feels less bogged down mentally and emotionally, we are able to increase connection and fun in our marriage, even if I do follow through with this RN path.

    And I do agree with you that I’m going to have to try to set up the house, schooling, etc…to work with us and not against us if I pursue this. I will have a short break between summer semester (currently in Microbiology) and the start of the nursing program. I plan to use it to organize the house as much as possible as well as organize, tweak, and streamline plans for my oldest’s school this coming year.

    We do have some decent options for childcare I think. I don’t know. Everything’s up in the air as my husband isn’t even starting his new job until two weeks into my program. But we have someone we know and trust lined up as a possibility and grandparents to fall back on (trying to minimize the grandparents though – they juggled our boys 3-4 days a week this last year and it was just too much for them).

    So I guess to sum, when praying, thinking, pondering I feel pulled equally in both directions. Though some days I feel definitely pulled to just forget this nursing thing and pour all of my focus into homeschooling my boys and then some days I feel definitely pulled to this RN program and a future that includes midwifery. Most days I just feel completely split in half!!! Luckily I have a supportive husband who will support whatever I do. I think he does want to see me go through with the program, simply because he feels I’d do well with it and it would set me up for the future.

    Anyways, I feel I’ve rambled enough. I guess I’ll see what this next month brings and go from there! Thank you again!!!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Crystal: I think it sounds like you’ve got it all set up! So go for it and don’t be a perfectionist. Roll with it! As I tell my friends, “I’m lowering my standards.” Ha! Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! Think outside the box!!!!! Think, think, think!!! It is possible if we can roll with it!

      I’m so sorry about your loss (and your family’s loss). Over a trimester of expected joy and then such sorrow. I’m sorry. It does color how we look at things and ourselves and our womanhood.

      Well, as you go along the next few years, always remember to “travel a bit,” then stop and regroup. Adjust. “Travel a bit more.” Stop. Regroup. Readjust. Let’s REGROUP is my favorite phrase, I think!

      God bless you, your husband, your family, your gifts to the world, your children’s education, your learning (may it come easily). And congrats on getting the school paid for! Yay!

      Terri

      Reply
  5. At Sunnyside

    I’m Sunnyside, one of the old-timers of the small but growing group of women who choose to leave medicine to homeschool. When I quit my medical practice 25 years ago, it was a lonely road — but I would do it all over again. With six children (oldest is 30!?), I understand every word you wrote. Especially loved,

    “Being relegated from Dr. Fites to Dr. Fites’s wife, well, a lot too humbling. Yeah. Doctor’s wife. Fingers on a chalkboard. A lot too humbling.” LOLOL …

    I hope visit often. I am just getting my wordpress blog going, but still store my brain at Sunnyside Classical Christian School (https://www.russellsproutsofsunnysideschool.com/)

    Congratulations on a beautiful blog. 🙂

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thank you, Sunnyside! Good luck with your WordPress blog! It can be quite rewarding! And thanks for paving the way for other homeschoolers—and women physicians! I’m glad to hear you don’t seem to have any regrets!

      I’ll go now and check out your link!—–Oh, the artwork is so beautiful! And I loved the Sheppard links with the language arts skills (grammar)!

      Reply
  6. Pingback: Quitting Work to Homeschool- Reblog – Justbemom.com

  7. Anabel

    Thank you for the post. I know it’s dated but on time for me. I am professional counselor on the verge of making a decision about putting my career on the backburner. I plan to maintain my credentials knowing I can go back when this season ends. Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts. It was insightful and validating. God bless you!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      You’re welcome! BEST WISHES! I’m still so happy and content with our family dynamics. I’m beyond glad that I’ve been physically available for the changing physical and emotional needs of my family! We’ve had some bumps, and I just try to imagine what they would have felt like had I still been working.

      Reply

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