Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and the blog Mommy Knows What's Best. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and was a teacher.
Deciding to Become a Stay-at-Home Mom
I was born to be a teacher. From my youngest days, I strove to become the best teacher I could be. I played school often with my younger siblings. I read, reread, discovered, and rediscovered books. I wrote stories, made up songs, came up with new games, tried my hand at adult banter at the holiday tables, and listened to my stay-at-home mom (SAHM) as she dealt with her children.
So, I became a teacher. I started out teaching Spanish to middle-schoolers, and then I moved on to 8th grade Language Arts. I loved every minute of it. I loved that I could help shape the futures of the students in front of me. I loved the challenges that arose, whether it be finding a way to reach all of my students so they would have the "aha!" moment or explaining to a parent why their son or daughter just came short of earning an A. I loved the support and friendship of my colleagues who became some of my dearest friends. I just absolutely loved my job!
My husband was supportive in all of this; after all, he was a teacher, too. We loved coming home, cooking a meal, enjoying the evenings, having fun on the weekends, and planning our next school years in the summer. We shared household responsibilities, although—I’ll admit—he did most, if not all, of the cooking (he is the better cook, and he actually enjoys it!).
A Baby Changes Everything
Our world changed when we decided to have a baby. It wasn't when I was pregnant; it was the actual decision that changed us. We knew life would be different. No more absolute lazy days. No more easy mornings, afternoons, or evenings. No more kid- and clutter-free house. Life as we knew it was over, and we decided we were ready.
Work or Stay at Home?
I Still Wasn't Ready to Become a SAHM Even After My Son Was Born
My son was a summer baby, so I actually only had to take a bit of time off from work. I wasn’t going to lose a lot of pay, nor was I going to lose my health insurance. We had so much fun with him that summer.
My mom, who as I said above was a stay-at-home-mom, told us she’d watch our son when we returned to work. That was awesome news. I wouldn't have to place him in daycare and he’d be with someone we trusted whole-heartedly to keep our precious child safe, healthy and loved. We even decided to give her some money (despite her protests) for giving us such a great opportunity.
It worked out pretty well for two years. I left before my son woke up in the morning—my job was an hour away—and my husband took him to my mom’s before he went to work. Only when my son was sick and needed to see a doctor did we need to miss work. When we came home, we picked him up and had fun with him until it was time for bed.
I’ll admit, I was exhausted every day from getting up so early, working non-stop with 150ish teenagers, taking care of my son, taking care of my house, waking up occasionally in the middle of the night…It did take it’s toll on me and my husband, but we kept it up. We still were able to enjoy the evenings, weekends and summertime with our son and make many memories as a family.
The Birth of My Daughter: Would She Change My Mind?
When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, our world was rocked a bit. She would be a winter baby, due right after the New Year and smack in the middle of the school year. I had to make a decision about my maternity leave: would I only take the twelve weeks FMLA afforded me (Family Medical Leave Act) or take off the rest of the year?
My husband and I decided, about two months before my daughter was due, that I could take off the rest of the year. That way, I’d be able to spend time with my son and my daughter at home and enjoy the time with them and return to school the next school year (my mom again would watch them).
And then I got an early Christmas present: my daughter was born three weeks early. Three days before she was born, without knowing she would be coming so soon, I sat down with my students on a Friday and spoke with them about my leave that was fast approaching. I wasn’t supposed to be leaving for about another week, which was the beginning of Christmas break. My daughter had other plans. She came into this world three weeks early as a full-term healthy baby.
That’s when my ideas about life changed. I no longer had the urge to return to work. I wanted, no needed, to be home with my children. Did I ever see this coming? Not in a million years did I see myself as a full-time stay-at-home-mom. It was the hardest decision of my life. Could we afford it? What about all of those undergraduate/graduate degree loans we had to pay, along with the mortgage and regular house bills?
I brought this up to a good friend of mine who was a great encouragement to me during my teaching years. She was supportive, but said something that surprised me. She said she was worried about me, because these days, a woman in a relationship, no matter how wonderful the man is, needs to have some financial power. She was also concerned that I would have trouble getting back in to the teaching world.
It made me think. I had never considered my paycheck really to be power for me. It was a means to pay the bills and to put food on the table. Plus, I wasn’t in teaching for money, and I by no means think I am the best teacher ever but I felt in me that someday I’d make my way back in. But wow, did it make me think. What was going to happen to me as a person? Where was my life going to go?
What Did Being a SAHM Mean for Me?
It made me think: what was being a stay-at-home-mom all about?
To me, being a stay-at-home-mom meant a few things. I could be the one to love and teach my children about life. I could be the one to witness their firsts, like crawling, walking or riding a bike. I could be somewhat rested enough to play, and clean.
There were some benefits just for me as well. I now could take time during nap times to exercise and make myself healthy. I could stay in my jammies some days instead of worrying what I would wear. I could work on some of my hobbies, like reading or writing (thanks so much, HubPages!) or even my newfound hobby, gardening. I could relieve any stress I had just by looking into my children’s eyes or listening to my son tell a silly story to his favorite stuffed animals.
I knew, though, there’d be sacrifices. I had to give up my favorite job in the world: teaching. My husband and I had to give up several things, like our internet plan on our phones, the extra purchases we’d make on the fly and going out for dinner. I’d become the cook of the house (I ever so despise cooking, though I may have some talent in it).
The Verdict Is in: I'm a Stay-at-Home Mom, and I Love It
In the end, no matter what, I know this will be the best decision I have ever made in my life. Will I get frequent bouts of cabin fever? Yep. Will my toddler’s tantrums drive me up a wall? Absolutely. Will laundry be a part of my every day life? You got it.
But it isn’t about me. It’s about them: my children. They are my world, and I’d do anything for them.
If you have any thoughts about this, please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear what more people think about it!
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Marissa (author) from United States on September 27, 2017:
Sanabrown, I'm sorry you are having trouble conceiving. I suggest speaking with your doctor about your options.
sanabrown on September 20, 2017:
When we planned for the wedding I was not sure about that I will think about the baby. First year was gap as I decided not to get pregnant. When I feel like ready we decided to conceive. I was trying for two years but my every attempt was fail. It is really hard to know that I cannot get baby in my life.
I was feeling empty. Doctor said there is an issue with my ovarian. It was so difficult to handle the depression that time. I know that it is really difficult and I know it can be handling with my husband. But still I need support to figure things out.
Marissa (author) from United States on October 05, 2012:
Lita C. Malicdem, thank you very much for your kind comment and for sharing your story! I'm glad to see you have/had the best of both worlds, both teaching and spending quality time with your daughters. :D
Lita C. Malicdem from Philippines on October 04, 2012:
I was so engrossed reading your remarkable story that I couldn't help thinking of a time in my life when I was in that same dilemma. I was a full time public school teacher and my husband was a government employee, too. Raising kids by us, working parents, poses unlimited challenges and problems. You did the right choice! I took the opposite and realized that our salaries were barely enough to pay for househelpers. Still, I pursued my love- of teaching. I was so blessed for my parents who helped us raise my 2 daughters. Now, a widow, I'm a full-time stay-at-home-mom and dad in my retirement days. I do the bed, the laundry, the cooking, and all. I have all the time at 66 to do some catching up with my single girls! It's fun to be a SAHM! Those kids of yours are wonderful!
Marissa (author) from United States on July 07, 2012:
fjohn from india on July 07, 2012:
Marissa (author) from United States on February 16, 2012:
alocsin, thank you for your kind comment! :)
Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on February 16, 2012:
I think your kids will be grateful that you took this decision. Thanks for sharing your feelings and how you got there. Voting this Up and Interesting.
Marissa (author) from United States on February 16, 2012:
Judi Bee, thank you for sharing your story and for your comment. How lucky you are to have such a wonderful mother-in-law to help!
You're right: some moms can't afford not to work, especially in this economy, but for those who can stay home and still make things work financially, it is well worth it to stay home.
Thanks for reading and for commenting! :)
Judi Brown from UK on February 16, 2012:
I didn't stay at home all the time, but I cut back my work hours dramatically when my daughter was born. My lovely mother-in-law also helped out when I was at work. If you have a choice (and I realise that some mothers can't afford not to work) staying home seems like the obvious choice to make.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, voted up etc.
Marissa (author) from United States on February 04, 2012:
kelleyward, isn't it amazing how our workplace skills come in handy as mom skills? Thank you very much for reading and commenting! :)
kelleyward on February 04, 2012:
From one stay at home mom to another I say it is one of the hardest decisions to make but one of the most important ones also. I miss being a nursing professor and child development researcher but now that I have there's boys I find i still use many of my skills. Great pics of you cute kids! Thanks for sharing.
Marissa (author) from United States on February 02, 2012:
Diamond120, thanks for stopping by again. I know what you mean about having to break some spending habits. Before, it was nothing for me to pick up little gifts or clothes for my son when I went shopping, but now I only get what I absolutely need. As for the professional friends who didn't understand at first, yeah I can relate with that as well. As you already seem to know, you just need to do what is right for you and your family. Best of luck! :)
Diamond120 on February 02, 2012:
When I say control, yes I mean over the finances. I have been independent for so long, letting someone else take the wheel can be difficult. I am not worried about my husband as he is frugal and stays on budget. It is me that possess the concern and some adjustments, there are some habits I will definitely have to break when it comes to spending. Also, most of my friends are professional woman who can't understand my line of thinking so sometimes I feel like a fish out of water. My decision is leaning towards 90% staying home. If I can get passed the overly independent syndrome, I will be fine. Thanks for your help/support.
Marissa (author) from United States on February 01, 2012:
Diamond120, thank you for sharing your story. Being a stay-at-home parent is such a big decision to make, especially when you know that there are bills to pay and mouths to feed. I'm sure you are taking that all into consideration, which is why you are not taking this decision lightly.
I'm not sure what you mean about someone else control things; do you mean control financially? If you have concerns about this, you should speak with your husband about budgeting, which if you have the funds and know how to effectively save, might allow some extra spending money here and there. If you can stick to a budget, you'll be more aware of where your money is going and you'll be able to make sure you pay your bills before you spend money otherwise.
If you're looking for some stay-at-home work, why not try HubPages? Here you can write articles about what you know best and make a little money from it. It takes a little while to get established, but it could work for you in the long run. If you're interested, click on the link in my profile to join. You do write pretty well, which is a bonus for writing on this site! ;)
Thanks so much for taking the time to read and to comment. I hope all goes well for you. Feel free to stop by again and let me know how everything is working out!
Diamond120 on February 01, 2012:
Please excuse any grammatical errors; I know you will see since you were a Lang Arts Teacher (smile).
Diamond120 on February 01, 2012:
Scared...Scared...Scared..I have been caught in the recession mess since 2008. From 2008 to 2010 I didn't work, which started my whole visual world of not working and actually being a stay-at-home mom. I started working again in 2010 on a special project for a year than back home again. The last time I was home, I realized I sort of like this...the freedom, the ability to volunteer at my children's school and to be there when they were sick without reprecutions, all the things I couldn't do for my oldest children who are out of high school and please let's not forget I lost 20pds, because I wasn't to tired to excerise. While my light bulb was going off, I didn't realize my husband's was too. He liked the fact that I was home and really wanted me there fulltime. I was shocked, because when we first were married (second marriage, which children already involved) it was discussed that I would work. I started another assignment in 2011 but desperately miss my family and for some reason I no longer desire Corporate America. I discussed with my friends most thought it was a bad idea a woman should have her own, but in the same breath saying they wish they could stay home. Of course, there would be sacrifices ones that I was willing to do and that is big for me a confessed shopperahololic. I sat my husband down and told him he wins after this I will stay home. However, here is my fear...letting someone else control things, not being able to do what I want when I wanted, and also the student loans, I have a graduate degree so you can imagine, the cutting back, will we go into financial ruins. I would be willing to work fulltime or even a work from home job. I guess I have to give it a try and if it doesn't work, I can always go back to work. Thanks Practice Mommy I needed this...any advice
Marissa (author) from United States on January 28, 2012:
nina64, I really appreciate that you support stay-at-home parents, just as I fully support working parents! As you said, we have to do what is right for our families. Thanks so much for your kind comment and for reading! :)
Nina L James from chicago, Illinois on January 27, 2012:
Hello PracticalMommy, I truly understand your situation and I agree that each person has to do what is best for their family at whatever point in their lives. As a working parent, I sometimes wished that I could have stayed at home with my children. I missed out on so many things, but I had to do what I needed to do. I don't regret my decision; and you should not either. In today's world, being a stay at home mother is so underrated and undervalued. We as women are faced with the challenge of feeling like we "have to do it all". I guess our society has taken a back seat when it comes to appreciating all that stay at home parents do. I support all stay at home parents!!!!!!! By the way, your children are beautiful with those big blue eyes!!!!!!!!
Marissa (author) from United States on November 21, 2011:
alissaroberts, I'm glad other SAHMs can relate to my experience. It was a tough decision, but I know I made the right decision. :)
I don't mind at all if you link to my hub. I'll have to check out your hubs. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Alissa Roberts from Normandy, TN on November 21, 2011:
Really enjoyed this hub since I am also a stay at home mom. I can totally relate to how tough of a decision it was for you. I am putting a link into my own hub about stay at home moms. Hope you don't mind :) Voted up!
Marissa (author) from United States on October 14, 2011:
Aceblogs, it is a tough decision for many families to have a stay-at-home person, but I'm glad to see that you're willing to rethink it with your fiancé. It's really important to have these kinds of conversations now--talking about these kinds of issues before marriage can help the marriage get off to a great start. I wish you both all the luck and blessings for your upcoming marriage! Thanks for reading my hub and commenting. :)
Aceblogs from India on October 14, 2011:
Loved reading your experience. Soon i will be married and me and my fiancé was having some issues of staying at home and looking after it , but now i may give it a second thought and would not have any problems if she decides to stay at home . Also you have very sweet and cute kids. God bless you all !
Marissa (author) from United States on October 12, 2011:
jacqui2011, it's so nice to hear from other moms who have made the decision to be a SAHM. I'm so happy to hear that it was the best decision you ever made. Thank you very much for reading and commenting! :)
jacqui2011 from Norfolk, UK on October 11, 2011:
I loved reading your story about being a stay at home mom for your children. I, too was a stay at home mom and decided when my youngest daughter started school that I would return to work as a nursery nurse. Spending time at home with my kids was the best decision that I ever made too. Btw your children are beautiful, you are very lucky. Enjoy!
Marissa (author) from United States on August 03, 2011:
Ashley Gray, saving money now before having children is a great step to take, especially if you'd like to stay home with them. My husband and I found out rather quickly what it was like to lose a paycheck, but we are just making it financially, month by month. Sure, we had to cut out some things to meet our budget, but it is possible to live on just one paycheck if you're smart about it. I hope that when you and your husband are blessed with children, you find a way to financially support your way of life and stay home with them, at least for a bit! Lots of luck to you, and thanks for reading! :)
Marissa (author) from United States on August 03, 2011:
Phil Plasma, being a SAHParent surely comes with its sacrifices, but it really is worth it to be able to spend time with my children and watch them grow. I can understand how your wife feels; I didn't think I'd ever be a SAHM either! It would be great if you were able to be a SAHD, but you are still doing great things supporting your family and giving them a good life. :) I hope you enjoy reading the second part to this. Thanks!
Ashley Gray from Colorado on August 03, 2011:
I loved this hub!! I am currently a career girl, and always thought I would be! But lately, I've been wanting to start a family, and my husband and I are just saving money to do so - and I would really love to stay at home with my kids, I'm just nervous about the financial side of things. My income supports a large part of our household currently!
Phil Plasma from Montreal, Quebec on August 03, 2011:
It is really good that you were able to afford it with the sacrifices you made. The house we bought is really great for entertaining because of its size and location, but as a result, my wife and I both need to be working to pay for it. My wife has indicated she would not really consider being a stay at home mom, but I'd love to be a SAHD! I'll be reading part two shortly.
Marissa (author) from United States on June 15, 2011:
Thank you very much, Jo_Goldsmith, for your best wishes and kind comment! :)
Jo_Goldsmith11 on June 15, 2011:
God Bless you and the two beautiful miracles! I wish you all the best! excellent hub :-)
Marissa (author) from United States on June 11, 2011:
puddingicecream, thanks so much for reading both hubs and commenting! :)
puddingicecream from United States on June 10, 2011:
Thanks for sharing your story with us! It was a pleasure reading both parts, and made me think about what it might mean to be a stay-at-home mom. I hear many "career women" never had plans to be a stay-at-home mom but once they have a child, they can't help it!
Marissa (author) from United States on June 10, 2011:
Reena_yadav, you're right; a woman's job never ends! It's a 24/7 job no matter what we do. Thanks for reading and commenting! :)
reena_yadav on June 10, 2011:
I guess we would always be 'teachers' throughout our lifetime. A woman's job doesn't end at all, regardless of whether she is a working woman or a full time mom.
I look forward to being a stay at home mom myself once my kids arrive.
Great article :)
Marissa (author) from United States on June 06, 2011:
Thank you very much, NaomiRuth, for reading and sharing your experience! :)
NaomiRuth on June 06, 2011:
Practical Mommy, we have similar stories. I too, was a teacher, I never even thought of staying at home with my children until I became pregant, 10 years and 4 kids later, it was by far the best decision I could have ever made. It has not been easy financially, but well worth it to see the fruit in my kids!!! Thanks for writing this article!!!
Marissa (author) from United States on June 03, 2011:
Thanks, acelliccui, for reading and commenting! We had to wait a couple of years before we could handle it financially, and even now it's a bit of a struggle but well worth it. I hope you have the opportunity to do so someday! :)
acellucci from Pennsylvania on June 03, 2011:
I love, love, love this hub. I really want to be a stay at home mom but right now my husband and I can't do it financially. We hope one day to be able to change our situation. Your kids are so cute! Voting this hub up!
SharkFuel on June 02, 2011:
I absolutely agree with StayPos that it is important and necessary to invest in kids and child development. Our children are our future! :)
Marissa (author) from United States on June 01, 2011:
I appreciate your thoughts on this, StayPos! Thank you very much for reading and commenting. :)
StayPos from Florida, USA on June 01, 2011:
Thanks for sharing your story and insights :-)
It's a topic that really needs to be front and center in our national and political consciousness!
It's critical that we place high value on supporting families and early childhood development.
The reason is not only because its the right thing to do but also it is a very smart " investment " in the quality and growth of our citizenry in the future!
Up and Awesome!
Marissa (author) from United States on May 30, 2011:
The points you make in your comment are true, SharkFuel. It is nice to be a SAHM and to know that I am supporting my children in their early years. :)
SharkFuel on May 30, 2011:
It is very important for any mom to support a child at the first stages of his/her life. It is one of the main reasons for which so many women decide rather to be stay-at-home-moms than to hire a baby-sitter. In addition, I would like to say that the modern world provides moms with numerous opportunities to earn from home today. So, to be a stay-at-home-mom and combine family life and work is much easier now!
Marissa (author) from United States on May 14, 2011:
Thanks so much, Ashlea B, for your kind words! :)
Ashlea B on May 14, 2011:
From one stay-at-home Mom to another... it's totally worth it. I agree completely with what you said, especially under "What did it mean for me?" I don't think you'll ever regret time spent with your children pouring into their lives. Money and careers can be nice, helpful, and practical, but pales in comparison to the LOVE and TIME a mother gives her children in raising them. Good for you!!!
Marissa (author) from United States on May 14, 2011:
Thanks, RTalloni! Sharing stories/journeys and learning from them makes life that much easier. :)
RTalloni on May 14, 2011:
Good for you. So glad you are sharing your journey and giving others a chance to learn from it and share a bit about their journeys.
Marissa (author) from United States on May 13, 2011:
KidsPartyFavors, it certainly is fullfilling being a stay-at-home mom! Thanks for reading and commenting. :)
Marissa (author) from United States on May 13, 2011:
Tasksgirl, I was there once, so I know what it is like to go back to work after having a baby. It's hard at first, but you'll be working to provide the best you can for your child. That's awesome that your company allows you to work from home so you can spend some time with the baby! I wish you all the best with your pregnancy. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)
KidsPartyFavors on May 13, 2011:
I am an at home mom too! It's fulfilling!
tasksgirl from Los Angeles, CA on May 12, 2011:
Thanks for this article! Our first baby is due November 2nd and it's definitely going to be a struggle to have to go back to work. I can only hope that someday I can be a stay at home mom. Luckily my company lets me work from home 2x a week and I should be able to stretch out my paid family leave to take off every Friday for another few months so that I only have to actually go into the office 2 days a week at first.
Marissa (author) from United States on May 11, 2011:
Thank you so much, EuroCafeAuLait, for your comment and for reading. I really appreciate it! :)
Anastasia Kingsley from Croatia, Europe on May 11, 2011:
Great Hub! I can really understand how you reached your decision - good for you. I have no doubt that you will figure a way to challenge your energy and figure out new ways to express your teaching - helping - writing talents. Keep writing, you've got a great style!
Marissa (author) from United States on May 06, 2011:
Maggs224, you are certainly right. Though it was a very difficult decision for me to make, I know it was the right one since I'll be able to spend time with my children and not miss all of their special moments.
Thanks for reading and commenting! :)
maggs224 from Sunny Spain on May 05, 2011:
An excellent hub I really enjoyed reading it, it is amazing how our values change when we have children.
I am sure that you will not regret the choice you have made. Things change so fast in our society today and nothing is certain, but no one can take away from you the time that you have already spent with your children.
No matter how rich and successful we become in later life there is no way we can go back and recover that time that we wished we had spent with our children.
Marissa (author) from United States on May 02, 2011:
Thanks for reading and for the kind comment! I had fun dressing the kids up for Easter this year. :)
ChristineVianello from Philadelphia on May 02, 2011:
That's so awesome! Your children are sooo beautiful by the way!
Marissa (author) from United States on April 30, 2011:
Thank you all for reading and commenting. I appreciate your support and kind comments, Sinea Pies, kirsteno and carolapple!
Marissa (author) from United States on April 28, 2011:
Thank you for your support, Giselle Maine. It is about what is best for each individual family; you certainly have that right. I really appreciate your comment!
Giselle Maine on April 28, 2011:
I loved getting to read about your experience here. I think its fantastic that you've been a full-time-working mother AND a stay-at-home mother. I immensely respect that, and I tend to listen much more carefully to advice from those who've been in *both* situations.
There is so much parenting criticism and/or incorrect assumptions about working mothers OR about stay-at-home mothers, usually from people who have only had experience with their side of the situation!! I think if everyone tried both situations, we'd all be a lot more understanding of each other! (Of course, ultimately everyone needs to make the best decision for THEIR family...) Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for the great hub, I really liked this topic & how you wrote it.
carolapple from Suffolk Virginia on April 25, 2011:
What a great story about a hard decision so many of us have to make. My kids are teenagers now but I remember how hard it was to do go to work and be a parent to small children. I had the constant feeling of needing to be somewhere other than where I was. Eventually I quit my job and found a way to earn some money at home. Of course, like you, I was lucky enough to have a supportive husband. Good luck - I think you are making the right choice!
kirsteno on April 25, 2011:
Despite our current society and the common belief that women should work, and there must be two salaries to make ends meet in our world, staying home with your child is the highest calling a woman can have. Great decision. You will never regret it!
Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on April 25, 2011:
Your "reasons for staying home" are adorable. I applaude your decision. They grow up so fast and, you'll see, there will be plenty of time to do those other things you've wanted to do. Maybe even go back to teaching.
Marissa (author) from United States on April 25, 2011:
Denise: I hope to be a 'teacher' my whole life. Thanks for the kind words!
Danette: Thanks for the book suggestion. I believe a friend of mine read that and joked how she wanted to move to Scandinavia because of their family friendly policies. I will definitely have to look into it. Thanks for reading!
Danette Watt from Illinois on April 25, 2011:
Thanks for sharing your story. Staying at home with kids does have its advantages, but also challenges, not the least of which is the break in any careers or loss of financial savings.
Don't get me wrong, I loved staying home with my kids and would do it again. But in my opinion, our govt/society gives lip service to (primarily) women and put us in a bind, expecting us to stay home to provide all the nurturing, etc. kids need and yet our time at home is quite devalued and we earn nothing tangible for doing so. I always told my husband I supported the capitalist society as much as he did by making it possible for him to go to work every day without worrying about kids.
An excellent book on this point is The price of motherhood by Ann Crittenden. She compares the US with other countries (mainly Scandinavian) with much more family friendly policies. Really, parents should not be put in the position of choosing between financial security/growth and raising children as so many often are.
Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on April 25, 2011:
Way to go! You will never give up your teaching, you will be doing that for the rest of your life! The time will come when there will no longer be the pitty patter of little bitty feet in your house. Trust me! I raised seven of them and now they are all gone!