A New Path

I've been staring at this computer screen for about thirty minutes now, not quite sure how to start this post.  My heart is pounding as I type this, so I think I'll just come out with it.  I decided to take some time off from teaching.  There.

There are so many complex decisions that went into making this decision, that it would take hours to discuss, so I will keep it simple.  The main reason I am taking some time off is

Brooke is now 7 and Kayla will be 10 in August.

my family.

This past year I seemed to be asked fairly often, "How do you do it all?  How do you have time to regularly post new products to TpT, teach full-time, blog, and be a mom?"  I will be the first to admit, I'm not very good at trying to manage all of those roles.  I felt like I was trying to juggle three full-time jobs- being a dedicated teacher, a business owner, and a devoted and present mom.  The stress was huge, mainly because I am a perfectionist, and it was mentally and physically draining.  One would think that I would have been exhausted from trying to manage so much, but I reacted the opposite... I couldn't sleep well at night, and that obviously made for even more challenges. Ultimately, I knew that I didn't want to look back in twenty years and regret the years when Kayla and Brooke were young.  I didn't want to wonder what happened to my marriage (but know deep down that we drifted apart because of the time I spent on the computer after my daughters went to bed each night).  I knew that something had to give... I had to give up one of my three responsibilities for now.

Some might ask why I decided to give up teaching and not TpT.  Time for honesty, here... after 16 years of teaching, I'm feeling a little burned out.  Also, I tried really hard to cut back on creating things for TpT for awhile, and had no success.  Yes, the money is nice, but it's more than that.  I love creating things, and then knowing that they are being used in classrooms across the world at any given moment gives me an even added boost of fulfillment.  When friends send me photos of completed craftivities hanging in their classrooms, well, it's hard to describe the joy I feel!  Creating lessons has always been my favorite part of teaching.  When I first started teaching, I loved writing lesson plans.  I remember realizing admitting to myself around Year #3 that I actually enjoyed creating the lessons more than teaching the lessons!  So when a friend suggested that I try posting some of my materials on TpT in the fall of 2012, I was in for less than a week before I was sold on it.  When I tried to cut back on the amount of time I was spending on TpT, I couldn't.  I found myself STRESSED about not being successful in my goal to cut back.  

When did I make this big decision?  Actually, it was quite recently.  Back in January, I had no idea that I would be resigning at the end of the school year.  The notion first came to mind when my twin sister sent me Ari's blog post back in March when Ari announced that she was leaving the classroom.  (My twin sister is not a teacher, but in following my blog, she has come to follow quite a few educational blogs!)  When I read Ari's post, I felt like I was reading my own thoughts- but written down in a clear manner.  She wrote what I was feeling!!!  I forwarded it to my husband right away, almost as a hint to see if he had a reaction anywhere close to my own. We talked about it a little at that point, but at that point we decided we should wait another year before taking such a big step.

The idea simmered for both of us, and we talked a lot.  There are some benefits for Troy to me working from home.  For the past ten years, Troy has gotten the girls up and ready for school almost every day of the school year.  He's looking forward to being able to go into work earlier and being able to skip the "doing hair" part of his current daily routine.  It was May when we decided together that it was time to go-out-on-a-limb, take a leap of faith, and to see what happens.

Is this a permanent decision?  My hunch is that this is a short-term situation for my family.  I really do think that I will return to teaching at some point.  I might have some time away and find that I really miss teaching and working with students directly.  I might find that I need to be in the schools every day to keep my creative juices flowing!  For now, I am enjoying my peace of mind and I am taking one day at a time!


  1. It sounds like you have made a great decision for yourself! How great that you will get to spend more time with your family next year! I'm still looking forward to more great products from you :)


  2. Congratulations on making a tough decision! Family is the most important thing, and I am happy for you because you will be able to spend more time with yours! Enjoy!

    Fit to be Fourth

  3. Good luck in your new adventures! I'm glad you're still doing TPT and your blog!

  4. Good for you!! Sounds like you made the right decision for you and your family! I always think we should trust our first instinct and it sounds like you did. Enjoy your time!


  5. Congratulations on taking this new leap of faith! I am so happy for you :)

  6. Deb-

    I am so happy for you! Your family is beautiful and you being able to spend more time with them is invaluable!! You will be successful at all you do. Happiness is truly everything. :)


  7. Sometimes the hardest decision is the most right decision! Good for you for realizing what is right for you and your family! Best of luck on your new adventure!!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  8. Deb,
    Thanks for sharing about your decision, and congratulations! You deserve it! You are such a hard worker. You are absolutely going to love the extra time with your husband and beautiful girls! You will never regret it! :)

  9. Im excited for you and your family! Hopefully you'll continue to share your great ideas on this blog every now and then, but I'm really happy for your new path. :) Enjoy every minute of it!
    Tales of a Teacher

  10. Good for you!! I know what you mean about feeling burnt out. I wish that I were in the position to do the same thing, but I guess that may be something for the future. I'm so happy for you!!

  11. I'm with everyone else on this....GOOD FOR YOU and for your family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Congrats! What a big decision and one that it sounds you put a lot of thought and time into making! What a blessing that TpT can help AND, I totally agree with the joy of sharing ideas with others.
    You are amazing. Enjoy being a mom and dedicated TpTer! :)
    -John, Created by MrHughes
    P.S. Remember to keep your license current if you plan to return!

  13. THANK YOU for all of your positive, supportive comments! You can't imagine how much I appreciate your encouraging words!

  14. The words in your post reflect so many of the same thoughts that I have had. I am so excited for you, and I agree with Mr. Hughes, "What a huge blessing! that TpT can help!" Enjoy your time with your family! I so want to be able to stay at home, as well, but I only have two more years until I can retire. I wish you all the best, Deb! Your products are amazing!


  15. Way to go! I bet your kids are so excited. I can't wait to see all the ideas that flow from you to your TPT store!


  16. I wish I was able to do this.... I wish you the very best my friend. You have given me a little bit of confidence to focus on either my teacher store or my blog, I am having a hard time growing both at the same time, most of the time spent comparing my humble beginnings to the middle of these top sellers. Thinking maybe I should just grow the blog for now and add to my TPT store quarterly...I love how reading these blogs makes me look at my own personal situation to evaluate where I am in life! Hey, I am teaching 2nd grade now...can you create some cutey patooty craftivities for my 2nd grade sweeties?

  17. Congratulations and good for you!! There are so many teachers out there who would love to be able to do what you are fortunate enough to try. Scary, I know....but you are a very talented creator of many awesome products. I totally understand being burnt out. I'm finishing year 18, and sometimes the thought of doing another year is painful. I fantasize about being able to make a living creating. So happy for you, Deb!!!

    Teaching Powered by Caffeine

  18. Deb, I am so happy that you were able to make this decision for your family and you. I agree that spending time creating does steal time away from your family, and marriage. I noticed myself running in to that dilemma and would often tell myself to stay off of the computer. I am glad you are able to make the change and were cognizant of the need to make the change. Best wishes! I am looking forward to seeing all of the great things you are able to create!

  19. I just emailed you. Do you not work in our district anymore?! I guess that is what being busy does to us all...Either way-love your work and if I knew how to do all of this, I'd be tempted to create for teachers who don't have time for it all. So exciting!