I’m Mandi. I’m a teacher turned stay-at-home mother.
I’m married to Jeff. We met on the internet while I was in college and our relationship began as a whirlwind romance. I worked in the computer lab at Lander, so I often had time to chat with people online. I found Jeff through the “Find a Random Chat Partner” on ICQ, which makes our meeting even that much more of a crazy thing. In our early conversations we found out that we had a lot in common: our religious beliefs, SC (I live here, Jeff’s parents are from here and he visited often), Germany (Jeff lived there, I was an exchange student), where we once went to college (2 small Bible colleges in GA a mere 30 minutes apart–we both attended them the same year). But, when we met I lived in Greenwood, SC at Lander University and Jeff in Anchorage, AK. We got close quickly and Jeff called me one night when I was out of work with the flu. From that point, it was all history. We first spoke to each other in January, we met on Valentine’s weekend, I spent my Spring Break in AK with Jeff’s family, I spent my summer in AK and Jeff moved here at the end of the summer, I graduated in December, got a teaching position the next summer, we were engaged the next Christmas and married in June.
I taught for 8 years and am still a certified teacher. I was really good at my job and I loved it. I put all I knew into those children each day and it paid off with great rewards by the end of each year. I know that I impacted lives and that was a very special feeling for me. Leaving teaching was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made, though I’ve enjoyed my time at home with my son and wouldn’t trade anything for it. My final year teaching I was voted Teacher of the Year by my peers. That was pretty high up on the list of Special Moments for Mandi.
Having my son and becoming a mother was my #1 life-changing event. When I went back to work after 12 weeks at home with him, I was completely torn up. I couldn’t do it, so I left my career. The first 2 weeks at home were so difficult for me. I knew that I’d just torn myself away from a very successful career and that I’d never have the same opportunity again. I know now that for this season in my life, this is where I’m meant to be. As I watch Carter grow, I’ve been here see it all and knowing that he is who he is because of my influence makes my decision matter and makes it the right one. As he gets a little older, I know that I’ll be able to use my knowledge of young children to his benefit. He won’t need a daycare or a “program” because he’ll have his Mom.
Being a stay-at-home mom can be very lonely. I went from being around adults and 20 children each day to a quiet house. I went from managing a classroom and the learning of 20 children to managing this house and Carter’s life. I went from being highly respected by my peers and the parents of my students to sort of…well…invisible, really. It was a big shift for me. My college friends have drifted away, I don’t talk with anyone I used to work with, my “new” friends expect a certain level of behavior from me which sometimes limits what I should talk about with them and Jeff works a lot to provide for our family. So it’s me alone with my thoughts. I have little time to process my thoughts, so in the moments that I have to throw them into this computer they often come out as mess. Read them if you like, but don’t judge.
I started this blog to have a place to write down my opinions on things that mattered to me. I write when I want to and when I don’t want to, I just don’t. I stopped for quite a while because my private life began to feel to public, which I think ran just about everyone off. I just wanted to feel smart about something again. It’s evolved into something more personal. Writing and taking the time to think has brought out so many things I realized that I’m keeping inside. So, there’s this and there’s you (whoever you are reading this). I can’t promise that what you’ll read will be pretty or that it will always have a point. It’s therapy for me and not meant to read like a novel or a news story. Take it or leave it.
Because some entries will be intensely personal and WHO KNOWS who might stumble upon this little journal of mine, I’ve chosen to password protect some entries. If you want to read them, you’re welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for the password. Chances are it’s not about you, so I don’t mind giving it out. You’ll just enter it once to unlock all protected entries.