It doesn't really feel real yet, but yesterday was my last day teaching for a while. And by a while, I mean probably a couple of years (with the exception of one student who I'm only keeping because she is my little prodigy student, but we won't start lessons again until October). It just feels like the end of a normal teaching week, and next week my students will come again.
But that is not the case.
I decided to stop teaching about 2 and 1/2 months before our baby is due so that I could have a little break beforehand. And also because most of my students are out of school in a couple of weeks anyway and I wanted to enjoy the summer with my family.
The extended hiatus from teaching is because I didn't know how I would be able to teach with both a newborn and a toddler. Right now, I have two 12 year old girls that alternate babysitting Preston at their homes on the days that I teach. I pay them each $5/hr. So for each week that they babysit for me, it ends up being the cost of about one piano lesson.
I did teach when Preston was a newborn, but I can't say that it was easy.
I had a girl come over and watch him in his bedroom while I taught, but being that she was only 13 years old and not very experienced with newborns, I had to intervene a lot during lessons. Not to mention, it's impossible to predict a newborn's feeding schedule. When they are hungry they cry. A lot. And Preston would never take a bottle, so I had no other choice than to go and fetch him during the middle of my lesson and feed him while my student was there. Which, was both inconvenient, and a little embarrassing for myself and the student.
I also remember how tired I was. Preston wasn't a very good night sleeper and so I was very sleep deprived myself. My brain was often scattered and I don't feel like I was the best music teacher during the time in our lives.
So with a new little one on the way, I've tried to imagine my current schedule of trying to manage naptimes in before piano lessons, hauling Preston to his sitter's house, being back in time to teach, and having energy to do so - but doing all of that with a newborn as well. It is a bit much to handle.
Teaching has been a blessing for us, as it's provided some additional income every month. It's been steady, and I've never been in want of students. I never advertised and yet had an overwhelming amount of parents contacting me on a regular basis asking if I had any openings. I originally only planned to have a small studio of 6 students so that I could keep my teaching down to only one day a week. But over the last 2 years I kept saying yes to more and more students and eventually ended up with 17 students, and taught 3 days per week (Tues, Wed, and Thurs).
By the time Fridays would come, I felt that it was my only chance to catch up on house cleaning and errands. Then the weekend came and we all spent some good family time together, and then Mondays were spent cleaning up the house after the weekend. I rarely had opportunities to work on composing unless I stayed up half the night, and I often felt like a bad mother because on my "free" days they were mostly spent cleaning and doing errands instead of spending quality time with Preston.
So because of all these various little details and reasons, I've really felt it is my time and season to stop teaching for a couple of years so that I can concentrate on being a better mother. One who is less stressed and busy that is for sure. I also want to time to work on composing which doesn't involve me having to do it from 10pm - 5am. Perhaps I can actually get some music projects done during the middle of the day once in a while.
So as of today, I am no longer teaching. I have the summer to finish out my 3rd trimester and then our little one is due sometime mid-August (the date is depending on if I either try for a VBAC or schedule a csection). In the meantime, I am composing the score for a short film that I have to get done by the end of July. And we have a family reunion in mid-June.
Other than that, I think I will get to have a little relaxation time and enjoy my last 2 & 1/2 months of being the mother of only one child.
Oh, here is a picture of the giant chocolate chip cookies that I made for my students this week. They were humungous. :)