One year ago, I packed my lunch bag and headed to my classroom—for the first time in three years. It definitely wasn’t in “my plan” to take three years off from teaching, but let me take you back before I get ahead of myself.

Right after college, I landed my dream job: teaching in rural Montana. Halfway through my first year of teaching, my boyfriend proposed. I said yes, and together we decided the best choice was for me to join him in upstate New York after we wed.

Once the dust settled from our honeymoon, I found myself as a new wife in a new state where the only person familiar to me was my husband. It was quite an adjustment. And when I was unable to find a full time teaching position, I began to substitute teach while pursuing my graduate degree. So we settled into our lives together until a few years later when we had the opportunity to move to Colorado. We took it and once again I found myself as a stay-at-home wife and, as a friend put it, “a stay-at-home-mom to Zoe-dog.”

When I completed my last graduate class in August of 2012, it was time to apply for jobs again. I was very excited when I received a job offer, but I was anxious about the changes it would bring to our lives.

When I stayed home, I took care of most of the cooking, cleaning, laundry and other household tasks since, well, it just made sense. When Justin came home, we spent our evening together, rarely doing dishes or any other chore around the house. We were able to go for long walks and spend time relaxing.

Needless to say, when I started my job—our life changed dramatically. I am now finding myself as a wife busier than ever. My weeks can get hectic, especially Wednesdays when I see eight different classes and don’t even have a lunch break until after 2:00.

One Wednesday night early in the school year, I grew so upset that I yelled at my husband. I am not proud of it and it is one of only a few times in our entire marriage that I really yelled at him. Not long after, I burst into tears. I was a wreck—exhausted and drained, but this was no excuse for mistreating my husband. I apologized and we set to work to create new expectations.

Besides that meltdown and a few other exhausted nights where I went to bed early (think 7:00 p.m.), the transition has been fairly smooth. I’ve learned to ask for help and, thankfully, my husband has risen to the challenge. Now we take turns making dinner, doing laundry and household chores. He listens to me when I need to vent. He is my biggest supporter and I couldn’t be more thankful. He is interested in my students and even attended the school Christmas program. I’ve also learned to recognize when I am too exhausted and when I need to ask for some time alone. I am an extrovert so it’s a big change to use up that energy during the day and have much less in the evenings.

I certainly enjoyed taking care of everything in our home in the first few years, but now even more, I love my job. Sure, our life looks different than it did at first, but I am so thankful to have Justin’s love, support and extra help around the house. I know this will not be our last major life adjustment, but it was a good transition. I know once again the “school bell” will ring, but I am confident hat it will be a much smoother transition this time around.


Amy VanSlocum grew up in rural Alaska 100 miles from the nearest stop light, McDonald's and movie theater. She has lived in Michigan, Montana, New York and has finally settled in northern Colorado. She graduated from Calvin College in 2008 with a degree in elementary education and earned her graduate degree in library science. Amy and her husband, Justin, embarked on their latest adventure, parenthood, in the summer of 2014. In their spare time, the VanSlocum family heads to the mountains to hike or ski.

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