After staying at home with my two small children for over two years, I wanted more. I loved taking care of my kids, but a huge part of me felt tired, complacent, and honestly, unfulfilled. My days were spent doing things like laundry, reading Dr. Seuss, and making casseroles for dinner. Being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job and a really hard one at that, but I knew I needed more.
I thought about returning to my prekids job — teaching high school English — but I didn't want to go back to adhering to a strict bell schedule and being surrounded by rowdy, pep-rally-bound teenagers. I considered diving into a freelance writing career, but that didn't feel right either. I missed standing in front of a classroom, but the one in my mind looked different than the ones I'd been in before. Then I wondered, am I too old to go back to school? Could I earn my degree to teach in a college setting?
I ignored my new dream. I tried to push it back to the furthest corner of my mind, but it grew louder with each passing week.
In my mid-30s, my gray hair was beginning to sprout through my dark locks. My crow's feet stayed around my eyes even after I was done laughing. Were these signs that it really was too late to go back to school? I already had one graduate degree — one I hadn't even used yet — so why get another? But the truth was, I wanted to. I yearned to go back to school so that I could teach composition at the collegiate level. But because I can sometimes overthink things, I quickly began to wonder if I was being selfish. So many people trudge through jobs they don't like just to make sure they make ends meet. It's a luxury to get even one college degree, and I wanted to get two? After making myself feel guilty, I decided to ignore my new dream. I tried to push it back to the furthest corner of my mind, but it grew louder with each passing week.
Finally, I mentioned it to my husband and closest friends (just to make sure I wasn't being crazy). Turns out, I wasn't. Sitting at my computer, I let the arrow hover over a class I wanted to enroll in. Finally, I clicked "register." For some reason, making that decision was more difficult than going back to school altogether. And it's been a breath of fresh air for our entire family. I look forward to class because I get to interact intellectually with adults again. I'm also passionate about what I'm learning, and I know that it will one day lead to a job that fulfills me.
I thought juggling school, kids, and homework would be horrible, but it isn't. I think the reason for that is my passion. I knew in my gut that this was for me. I needed to go back to school, despite my doubts, gray hairs, and lingering crow's feet, for myself and nobody else. And in the end, it's made me a better mom, too. I'm happier and rejuvenated. I don't snap as easily as I used to. Overall, waking up and thinking about the challenges that school brings me is exciting.
The main thing I've learned from all this is something I hope every other mom can realize: if you're thinking about going back to school or changing careers, do it. You're so worth it. If you're passionate enough about making a change, it'll be easier than you think. Your family will likely be better off, too, because they'll see it in your eyes. Your drive to succeed will be evident in everything else you do. And you'll set such a good example for your children. By being brave and having the courage to do what makes you happy, your kids will know that no goal in life is too high. The sky is the limit for them . . . and for you.