For this mom, time comes to decide on career path

2013-05-23T00:00:00Z For this mom, time comes to decide on career pathOpinion by Sarah McKeown Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Work full time or part time, have a career from home or be a stay-at-home mom? As a new mom, it's a big decision to make, and it's one each family has to agree on together. For me, my faith is helping me decide which of these paths to take.

While pregnant with my son, I knew what I was going to do once he was born. As a second-grade teacher, I had planned to take 12 weeks of maternity leave, then go back to work part time. I told the school's principal that I planned to resume teaching full time the following school year. He firmly told me, "I would hope so." I should have watched what I said pre-baby.

Once my sweet baby was born, I took on a new full-time job title - "Mom." It's the most amazing job I've been blessed with. The first three months flew by, and then part-time teaching was added to my list of responsibilities. I enjoyed teaching my students in the morning and looked forward to the afternoons with my son. Working part time wasn't so bad after all.

Fast-forward several months to the end of the school year when I realized that going back to work full time while raising young kids is not for me. I wanted to be at home with my son more, so I began the current school year working part time as a resource teacher. It's been a rewarding job, and I still have most of the week to play with my now 18-month-old son.

Time goes by fast, and I've been contemplating what I want to do next in my career. I've ruled out working full time, and part time is great, but I don't want to miss many firsts or funnies from my son.

Not that I am a fickle person, but here we go again.

Do I continue to work at the school or do I pick up some part-time duties from my workplace that are more at-home friendly? I love spending time with my little man, and I also enjoy having some job responsibility outside of my 24/7 job of mothering and being all that I can be for my son.

I knew my preference was the latter, but I was nervous about making another big change in my career. After many prayers and a lot of contemplating, I realized all the signs pointed in one direction: the part-time job, with most of the work done from home.

My answer became clear one night when my son toddled over to a shelf, pulled out my daily devotional book and brought it to me.

Reading the day's devotion, I knew God was telling me what to do career-wise. The reading discussed not fearing changes that God is calling you to make, and if you do fear the change, then it is OK to do it afraid. This devotion was even applied to the book's author quitting her job for another calling she felt led to.

This really pertains to every area of life. If we feel called to journey down a different path, we can pray or meditate, trust God or our instincts to guide us, and know that it is OK to be nervous beginning a new adventure.

As soon as I made that realization, I found much excitement in my new job decision! It's the perfect balance for me - staying at home to raise my son while having a wonderful part-time career, with duties performed mostly from home.

Raising children is a full-time job in and of itself. For some moms, the answer is simple as to where, if and how much they work in addition to raising children. For others, exploring different options over time leads the way to the best path.

I trust the path God is leading me on, and I am ready to see where this next adventure in my career takes me in life, with my family right by my side.

Email Sarah McKeown at east@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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