Hello, Friends! Today, I want to share with you something personal. It is scary, and exciting, and giving me so much hope. I have made a big decision. Before I get into that, I want to share a little back story. This is my journey beyond motherhood to discovering that I am so much more.
The Back Story
As a teenager, I was pretty directionless. I went to school and squeaked through classes, not because they were difficult for me, but because I was far more interested in other more trivial things.
I attended college. To be honest, it took me the better part of a decade, seven years in all, to obtain a 2 year degree. At first, I wasn’t taking it seriously. Then, as I got a little older, I got more serious, but life was in my way. I was living on my own, working full-time, and going to school at night. I worked my butt off, and had wonderful grades. However, I was still fairly directionless.
The career I wanted to pursue was in Early Childhood Education. My college offered a wonderful program, but I was unable to enroll due to certain requirements. Mainly, I would need to be working in a daycare or classroom setting during the program. Let’s face it. As insanely expensive as daycares are, the workers, often times, aren’t making much money. I already had a full-time job that I needed to support myself, and I wasn’t able to give it up and take a major pay-cut. My dreams were basically abandoned.
Off to Work
I had a decent paying job through college, working in a corporate setting. I enjoyed it well enough. However, when the recession hit in 2008, like many others, I found myself without a job. I was unemployed for a year. In Michigan, at that time, you seriously couldn’t buy work. There were so many people out of work, and very few positions on offer. Like many others, I lost nearly everything. It was a very difficult time.
Eventually, I found employment through an electronics retailer. I started as a seasonal worker, only guaranteed a position through the Christmas holiday. I worked hard, even though the job was fairly simple. After the holidays ended, I was kept on. I stayed for 3 years until a more lucrative position at another retailer presented itself. Again, I worked my butt off. I got promoted. I was pretty happy in that job. Then, fate handed me another offer. Higher pay and a better job title. I jumped at it. Long story short, it was a huge mistake.
Throughout all of this, I never made much money. I did okay for someone working in the retail industry, but never came close to “career” money.
Along Came My Son
I got pregnant with my son in 2014, and my husband and I quickly decided that it would be best if I stayed home with him, at least for a few years while he was small. My husband makes a decent wage. However, the money I was making wouldn’t have even covered daycare and gas money. It just made sense. I couldn’t wait to be a mom. It was all I could think of. It never occurred to me that there was life beyond motherhood.
Time Goes By
Its been nearly 4 years now that I have been a stay-at-home mom. School days are looming not far off on the horizon now for my son. It had me asking the question: “Then what?”
I truly didn’t know. What is beyond motherhood? I always figured I would go back to work in some capacity. However, I could barely stomach the thought of having to do any more customer service or retail type of jobs. The pay just wouldn’t be worth it.
The biggest problem I faced was that I wasn’t really qualified for anything else. All I’d ever done was customer service in one capacity or another. After 14 years in that industry, I am completely over it. I just don’t have it in me anymore. A decade and a half of listening to and dealing with cranky, angry, or just generally pissed off people is more than any person should have to endure.
So what, then?
The Words That Changed My World
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot
One evening, my husband and I were casually discussing the idea of me returning to the workforce and what I would do. He brought up the idea of me returning to school. He asked what I would want to do, if I could choose anything.
The answer was easy. I’d known it all along. I had just never had the means or opportunity to make it happen.
He encouraged me, as he always does. I began doing some research, and met with a counselor at my former school.
Just like that, I made the decision to pursue the career and passion I have always dreamed of. This would be my life beyond motherhood.
Don’t Hold Back
So many women I know have given up careers, or opportunities, to be mothers. And not a single one would trade their children for anything in the world. Motherhood is such a wonderful experience. However, I can’t even count the number of times women have said to me, “You know, I always wanted to…” or “If I wasn’t just a mom, I would…”
If you are one of these women, I must tell you this. First off, you are NEVER ‘just a mom’. We are all so much more. It is so easy to get swallowed up in the chaos that is motherhood. We are always so busy with feedings and diapers, and school plays, and sports, and a million other things. So many women lose themselves in this hectic life. And if that’s your passion, then it’s a wonderful thing. Rock it out, Mommas.
But, please never ever think that you can’t have more, if that is what you want for yourself. You can have it. It isn’t too late. Reach for it. Grab those dreams. They may not be as far away as you think. Take a leap. Do something for yourself. There is life beyond motherhood if you want it.
Dealing with the Dreaded Mom-Guilt
Inevitably, whenever moms do anything for themselves, they are faced with the dreaded ‘mom-guilt’. Ladies, please do not think of going for your dreams as a bad thing. Yes, it may take you away from your family temporarily. Yes, it may be difficult. But you are teaching your children that they can dream big, achieve their goals, and get what they want out of this world. That message is so huge. It is one of the most important things we can teach our children. Never EVER feel guilty for demonstrating such a wonderful thing.
For me, I will be continuing to go on this preschool adventure at home with my son. Come January, I will be back hitting the books and working hard toward a degree in my dream field. The idea is a little overwhelming. I am a mom, first and foremost, but soon, I will be able to be myself, beyond motherhood.
What’s next for you? What are your dreams and goals? Big or small? Are you going for it? If not, what is holding you back? Please share in the comments!