Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Why I Waited

I am getting ready to begin my college journey again. I am currently 34 years old and have approximately one year of college courses under my belt. I have worked in office settings and the service industry in the past, never making more than $30k annually (and that was by far the most). To the outside world, I may look like a failure. No skill set and very little formal education. Here is why, despite all of this, I am glad I waited...

Lets take an example of what I wanted to do my senior year of high school. You know, when you are "supposed" to know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life and have it all perfectly mapped out. I, being a big dreamer (Go for your dreams! Reach for the moon!), wanted to become a famous actress. Yes, you read that correctly. In order to achieve this I thought I needed to attend a major acting school in NYC. So I applied, auditioned, and thank god did not make it. If I had, this is a possibility of what my life could look like now: First off, I would be in debt up to my ass. These acting schools are not cheap. So I'd have approximately $100k in student loans to repay. I'd have an acting degree, which basically means shit, and I'd be auditioning. Anyone who knows me knows I cannot handle rejection. I won't even attempt to tell a man, to this day, that I'm into him for fear of rejection. So, after a few auditions of being turned down I would have most likely collapsed into a pool of nothingness. Best case scenario turn out: I become a porn star to pay off my student loans. Worst case: I have a needle in my arm in some seedy NYC downtown apartment.

So a few years passed and my dreams changed. I wanted to become a psychologist with a private therapy practice. Yay. Lets take a look at this: It would take at least 7 years of college to obtain my Psy D. I wanted to, again, attend a very prestigious Buddhist school in Colorado. I actually got accepted to this one and was literally a few months away from going. If I had been able to complete the program in seven years while working full time (very unlikely for a person like me who is VERY type B) and having no family or friends around me, then I would graduate with about $170k in student loan debt. At the same time, I wouldn't have spent the time with my mother that I did and she would have died while I was in school. So most likely I would not have completed my degree and would just be in debt over my head. So I would have had to get a job with a bachelors degree in psychology...most likely social work. I would be making very little and probably hate my career with a passion. That is best case scenario.

Now, I am older and hopefully a bit wiser. I had years of making beautiful memories with my mother before she passed. I met an incredible man while waiting tables and had a wonderful, amazing son. We have traveled and been on many adventures that I couldn't have experienced if I were bogged down with debt. I sewed all of my wild oats and did what I wanted, when I wanted. Now we rent a cute little home in a great neighborhood and my son is about to start his journey into education. I have changed my mind completely about what I want to study. I know myself much better now. I know how to go through school and come out the other end debt free. I have no desire to "go out" at night or travel much anymore. I will be quite content studying at night after my son is in bed. I am ready.

I am far from failure. I just decided to take the long way around. The back country road with lots of twists and turns. I could have taken the highway and ended up in a horrible collision. Instead, I took the scenic route, and I am so glad I did.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Single Motherhood

Warning: this is a bit of a rant!

So I am a single mother. I am not referring to the kind who shares custody with the father and gets every other weekend (or every other week) to herself. I'm also not talking about the kind who has living parents close by who help out a lot. I am not putting down any role of mother here. Each unique situation has its benefits and difficulties. Would I want to be dealing with custody battles? No. Would I want to be working outside the home and missing so many moments with my child? Absolutely not. I am extremely grateful for my current situation and would not change it at this point. All that being said...I need to let off some steam.

This is hard. These have been the most challenging four years of my life. Being a stay at home mom with little to (mostly) no help has been exhausting. I am the only one and have been the only one to care for my son on a day to day basis. For those with an actively engaged partner this has to be unimaginable. I never thought I would be the sole guardian and caretaker of a child.

From birth until now I have done it all. There is no one else to wake up with him (including the 7 months he didn't sleep through the night), no one else to worry and bring him into urgent care when he got sick, no one else to read him a bedtime story or give him a bath. Every boo boo has been kissed by me. Every tear felt by me alone. I am the only one to get him breakfast and have NEVER gotten to sleep in. There is no one else to teach him how to catch a ball or learn his letters and numbers. I am his playmate, disciplinarian, nurturer, nurse, and teacher. Then there are all the household chores to be done daily with no other adult to help. I am solely responsible for cooking dinner each and every night. I have taken on roles that I never expected, putting furniture and toys together, taking out the trash every week, catching spiders and releasing them outside, and teaching him about his penis! I am responsible for all the yard work and all the grocery shopping (and I have to bring him to the store each and every time). Then I am left at the end of the night to watch a show or take a bath...the only time I get to be alone ever.

Why am I writing this? I'm not sure. Maybe because there are so many moments throughout the week where I just want to burst into tears and throw my own tantrum, but I can't. (Actually I haven't cried in over a year at least) I have to keep going day in and day out for the sake of my child. Maybe its because I am sitting here researching pre schools and feeling overwhelmed, wishing his dad were around to help with yet another tough choice. Maybe its because I miss my own mother and wish I could ask for her advice and help. Perhaps it is just to vent and release these feelings pent up inside. I don't know. All I know is I will wake up tomorrow and do it all again because I love my son and I want the best possible life for him. So high five to all the single moms out there for not giving up. You are amazing.