For the past year or so, I've been on a journey. A journey to find myself. I've had this overwhelming feeling for A WHILE (like years) that something is missing in my life. That sounds crazy, yeah? I have everything anyone could ever ask for: A great family, wonderful husband, healthy, crazy children, I'm a stay at home mom, I even got a minivan for crying out loud! The whole nine yards, and yet I couldn't figure out the void!
Then one day my husband asked me about my dreams. I thought about it for a moment and realized I had none. I had no dreams! All my dreams from when I was younger had been realized. I always dreamed of going to college and getting a degree. Done. I dreamed of getting married and having children. Check. I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Doing it. Outside of raising productive human beings and struggling to keep my house clean, I had nothing bigger that I was striving towards each day.
When I told my husband (who is one of the biggest dreamers I know), "I don't think I have any dreams," he looked at me like I had just told him I didn't have any arms and said, "I can't imagine a life without dreams."
That made me stop and pause. Shouldn't I have a dream for myself outside of my home and children? A dream of my very own? I figured out that day my life was missing GROWTH. I had become completely stagnant in my personal growth.
I always heard that as women and as mothers we need to take time for ourselves. I always thought this meant going shopping every so often, or getting a pedicure once in a while, or letting your kids binge on Netflix while you take a nap. While I do enjoy ALL of these things (a lot!) this is not what taking time for myself means to me. These things don't make me feel more fulfilled or more purposeful. What I need is self-improvement. Taking time to grow my mind, body, and talents.
I began reading. I have never been much of a reader, but I've read 67 books this year! (Hoping to do a longer blog post on this soon) I started playing the piano again! I performed in our Church recital, which is something I haven't done in over 10 years! I started playing volleyball again, and discovered I can still play pretty well! These are all things that I LOVE to do, but I realized became lost in the shuffle of juggling three rambunctious kids and a busy household everyday.
I started to feel better, but the void was still there. While I was again doing things that I enjoy, finally doing something just for me-and growing in these areas-, I still feel the need to strive towards something greater. I began to feel an overwhelming need to look for a job. What???
-insert horror face here-
Let's back up. Back it WAAAAAY up. Back to Mendocino College in Ukiah, CA 13 years ago.
I told you this blog might take us crazy places!
When I graduated from high school, I chose to go to the junior college in my hometown for 2 years, live at home, play volleyball, and figure out what the heck I wanted to do with my life. When I started at Mendo, I was a political science major, with GIANT dreams of someday becoming a campaign manager and running a national campaign. Then one day I got in a very heated debate with a girl in my class over politics, something that is bound to happen when you lean right in a very left part of the world (aka Northern California). I hated how the argument made me feel. While I totally enjoy politics, I hate the divisiveness and the contention of politics. I realized right then and there that I didn't want to do this for the rest of my life. Naturally, that left me with the question- what do I want to do with the rest of my life?????
I had always been really good at math and I come from a long line of educators, so it made sense to go into Math Education, which is exactly what I did. I finished up at Mendo, transferred to Utah State and pursued my teaching degree.
After I graduated with my undergrad in Mathematics and Statistics Composite Education, I began my teaching career at North Stafford High School in Stafford, VA. I had the sweetest teaching experience at NSHS. The teachers and staff were amazing- we went out for chips and salsa every week, I only had to teach 2 classes, and I loved a lot of my students. I could not have had a better set up than I did at North Stafford.
Which is when I realized I hated being a classroom teacher. What I loved about teaching- ya know, teaching, can get totally lost in a classroom. I was terrible at classroom management. I didn't know how to motivate unmotivated students, and I couldn't keep control of an unruly class. While I loved connecting with students, getting to know them, and teaching them one-on-one, I didn't love teaching a class. I dreaded going to work every day. And that was when I knew, this wasn't what I was supposed to do for the rest of my life either.
Back to square one.
I decided to go back to school again and get my masters degree while Daniel was earning his law degree. Sticking with my love of math, I earned my master's degree from Cleveland State in Mathematics with a Statistics Emphasis. Then I began my career in the corporate world. I worked for a major insurance company as a product analysis: writing code, running queries, and analyzing data. And I LOVED IT!! I had finally found a job I could do for the rest of my life and be happy!!! Until............
Logan was born.
Suddenly my dream job turned into my nightmare. The long hours at the office made it hard to spend a ton of time with my new baby. I cried on the drive to work at the thought of the hours I would be missing that day. I lived in fear that I would be missing out on some of his first milestones, and seriously worried about the future. While I loved my work, my heart wasn't in it. When Daniel graduated from law school, I quit the workforce completely to raise our growing family, absolutely convinced I would NEVER go back to work again.
Which brings me to today. If you're still reading- kudos!
I love being home with my kids. Like really love it! I completely, 100% think I have the best gig in the whole world. Outside of what my kids have going on, I have no schedule and no commitments. If I want to turn on the TV and lay on the couch all day, I can totally do that. I spend my summer days at the pool, the park, the museum, getting ice cream, and lounging in my PJs. I spend my school days watching the kids' soccer games and running them to piano and dance class. This really is something I could do for the rest of my life. Or at least the next 18 years! It's a sweet life.
But it's not a very mentally challenging life. Oh, it's challenging... don't get me wrong! Raising young children is very challenging in its own way. But I don't feel like I'm being stretched or growing personally from my day to day grind.
So here I am, feeling inspired to go back to work. With 3 small children, how on Earth am I supposed to do that? I fell to my knees to pray for guidance. I really felt God was guiding me on this journey to grow personally, but how would it be possible? The answer I kept getting was: "You'll know it's right when everything is perfect."
With that faith, I started applying for jobs: jobs in my old corporate wheelhouse, where I had found the most professional fulfillment previously. And low and behold, I got a call back almost immediately. They wanted me to interview, prepare a presentation, and research a topic and write code to analyze it. I should be happy and excited, right? Yeah, no. I felt the most overwhelming sense of DREAD and ANXIETY, maybe more than I have ever felt in my life. I felt inspired to ask the recruiter about the flexibility and scheduling of the job. I was told it was definitely an 8 am to 5 pm job and coming in early and staying late is "highly encouraged." With 3 kids under 6, I knew immediately that this wasn't going to work. I quickly withdrew my name from consideration with the thought of "Maybe in 5 years I will revisit going back to work."
Then, scrolling Facebook one night, I saw an ad that would change my life.
It said something crazy like: "Make $2000 a month working from home. Work 3 hours a day and make your own schedule!"This immediately made me think: SCAM!
But then I saw the ad again. And again. And again.
"Become a VIPKID Teacher" the ad said. Over and over and over again. For weeks, I saw the ad. Facebook is good like that, aren't they??
So I began to research becoming a VIPKID teacher. Here's what I found:
1. VIPKID teachers are contractors who teach students in China age 4-12 English one-on-one for 25 minute lessons at a time.
2. You make your own schedule- work as much or as little as you want.
3. The hours you work are typically very early in the morning or very late at night.
4. There is little to no prep work- just show up and teach.
5. Requirements are a bachelors degree in any subject and teaching experience in some regard.
6. It's a legit company which employs over 20,000 ESL teachers in America and Canada, and is valued at over $1BIL!
After learning this, my thoughts were: "Wait, you're telling me: I can work online, from home, while my kids sleep, doing something that I'm trained to do, in a setting where I would actually enjoy doing it? And I can make pretty decent money while I'm at it?" SOLD.
"You'll know it's right when everything is perfect."
For my life right now, it doesn't get any more perfect than this. And it is totally right.
I've been a VIPKID teacher for 2 weeks now, and I'm happy to say I am LOVING it. The kids are adorable, the schedule is ideal, the hours are as flexible as they come, and I'm feeling inspired and challenged everyday. It's so nice to have something that is just for me, and doing something simply because I want to improve myself- and help others at the same time. (bonus!) I don't miss any time at home with my kids. I can still take Reagan to dance and preschool, and Logan to school, piano lessons, and basketball try-outs. I'm still the one making everyone's lunch and putting Ansley down for a nap everyday. The only thing I do differently is put on my teacher hat for 2.5 hours every morning before the kids get up. Yes, it's early... but I'm hoping my body will eventually adjust. Until then, I've got my kid's stash of Halloween candy to keep me going. Most importantly, the void has finally been filled.
I feel like I've truly found the best of both worlds. (Cue the Hannah Montana theme song). ;)
Do you feel like VIPKID might be the perfect fit for you??? Follow this referral link and I will help you get hired! I'm happy to answer any and all questions you have!