Schools are coming to an end. Students are getting antsy in their seats (Well..getting MORE antsy... the antsy-ness really started in April, didn't it?). Teachers are packing away the year, ready for that much needed break. Parents are scrambling for summer activities to keep their children busy for those long two months.
It is an odd feeling for myself, being on maternity leave and not going through the normal end-of-the-school-year traditions and clean ups. Having gone straight from school to a full-time teaching position, this is my first year to not be dreaming about summer plans, looking forward to relaxing.
Maternity leave has been a blessing, but also very much a challenge. Those who do not have children or have never been on maternity leave might be thinking - Maternity leave, a challenge?! Staying at home all day with your baby, a challenge!? It might sound surprising.
Staying at home with my beautiful daughter IS a challenge most days. The days can be long, 'boring' yet exhausting, never-ending, quiet, lonely, and simply overwhelming. Any mom will understand where I am coming from.
Teaching elementary full-time was also a challenge most days. The days were also exhausting, long, overwhelming. But they were busy, loud, and simply crazy as well. Any teacher would be able to agree with me to some extent.
It is easy to find a complaint in any situation you are in. It is easy to focus on the hardship that comes with the job you are given. There were days when I was teaching that I chose to focus on this, and there are days on my maternity leave that I choose to focus on it as well.
These are the jobs that God has given me - the responsibilities that I have been entrusted to. The blessings of them out-shine the hardships. Many times it is simply a matter of focus and perspective. What am I choosing to put my focus on? It IS a choice. We can choose to be thankful, to find the blessings in our current position, or we can choose to look for the negative and dwell on that.
For myself, it is a daily choice to be thankful in my current circumstance. One way I help myself to do so is by writing down my blessings. While you most likely have heard that before, it is not until you take the time to do so each and every day, will you really see the benefit from it. Doing so, brings me into a much more positive attitude.
And if I choose to focus on being thankful? Then I see maternity leave as full of laughter, fun, joy, excitement and a time of growth, blessing and purpose. And teaching? I see that also as full of joy and excitement, growth, blessing and purpose.