Hello and welcome to the CA Forums!
I had to reply to your post since I just put my teaching career on hold to become a SAHM. I taught for seven years and really enjoyed it. When I became pregnant in the fall of '04, I knew God was calling me to leave my teaching position to stay at home with my children. My baby is now eight months old, and I don’t regret a thing. I value the time I spent in the workforce as I gained some good experiences working with children and adults, but there is nothing that compares to taking care of your own baby everyday. The time is so short and they grow so fast; why give away those months to someone else?–especially a day care provider who doesn’t have the same emotional attachment to your child as you do.
It took a good five years to become comfortable in the classroom with managing the kids, discipline, curriculum, etc., plus I had a job at a school that was earning a lot of prestige and growing in popularity. There were a few times that I had second thoughts about giving all this away since I had worked so hard to get to the point I was at. But that’s when my religious convictions came in to clarify things for me and put me on the right path. I knew that my children would benefit by having me at home in so many ways: emotionally, mentally, intellectually, spiritually, etc. Plus, I had the experience of my own mother at home all throughout my childhood and I appreciated the security that brought. Being a mother requires sacrifice. I felt it was more important to put my children’s well-being ahead of my own desires and satisfaction. Although I was a bit sad to leave my teaching position, I knew that this decision would be best for our family. The joy I now receive from taking care of my daughter outweighs the job satisfaction I had.
My advice would be to finish your education and become a teacher for as long as God wills you to. Also, marry someone who shares your views on family and child-rearing. It would be an added benefit to marry someone of the same religion, too. Save as much money as you can before having children to get all your finances in order and make living on one salary possible–it may be tight, but possible.
My husband and I want to have a big family, so I estimate that I won’t re-enter teaching for about 14-15 years or so. I am not really worried about this. I’ve checked with my state’s credentialing policies and it doesn’t seem too difficult to re-establish myself. If we need some extra income, I can do private tutoring (which I am thinking of beginning in a few months).
I hope my experience gives you some insight. Good luck with your discernment in coming into the Catholic faith. If you do become Catholic, you won’t regret it. If fact, it just might change your entire life and how you view raising a family.
P.S. By the way, a co-worker/friend of mine had a baby the same time I did, but kept her full-time position. Her baby is in daycare M-F from 7am-5pm! I could not imagine being in this situation.