For a very long time I have wanted to work with children, to be a medical professional, and to own my own business. Most of these ideas about who I wanted to be when I "grew up" changed drastically when I had children. My sole goal the last 8 years it seems has been simply to be the best mother and wife I can be, to give every ounce of what I have to my children. psychotically so.......yes I understand that is probably harsh, but I have seriously developed a psychosis over the years, to the point of having panic attacks and mental break downs when I felt like for any reason I was choosing to do something that took away from me being physically and emotionally available for my children at ALL times. The only job I have ever been able to hold for any length of time was at the animal ER. Because I knew, that I was only gone for 2 hrs before bed, and that they slept through my shift. I was there for play dates, birthdays, diaper changes, meals, ect. and they were young ( do you know I never left Matthew overnight or for more than a 2 hr dinner out, until I was 5 months pregnant with his sister?!). It actually got worse when they got older, then if I missed a trick or treat, if I wasn't active in the preschool and kindergarten class a minimum of 1 day a week, if I didn't accompany Matthew to every enrichment class every Wednesday, I was failing as far as I was concerned.
So, when I started college in 2007 I took two semesters of full time classes, I left my kids with a sitter or their dad a few hours every day, I told myself I could do it, it was worth it, It was NEEDED for me to get this degree....and yet I beat myself up, I cried, I sobbed...my poor husband...trying so hard to convince me that it was ok, that the kids were ok, that I WAS a good mom even if I didn't sit down to dinner every night with the kids.... and ultimately telling me to do whatever my heart needed to do. eventually I dropped my classes, all of them. Homeschooling 3 kids, enrichment, football practice, high school class days, I just couldn't be there for everything AND take my classes, and I wouldn't DARE to NOT be there!
This year, I realized that I had convinced myself that my demons, my childhood damages would some how affect my children. For some reason, I placed my fears in my children and vowed to protect them from something they didn't even know, from something they had never experienced. This year I realized, It was ME who was left alone with strangers for years, not having my family to trick or treat with or a mom or dad to go to parent conferences with, it was ME who felt cheated while mom and dad ran the business and I took care of a sibling, it was ME who wished that my mom had made it to more than 1 choir concert and ROTC parade in high school after missing 4 years of my life before. and no none of this was fair, and most of this I need to deal with still, but it's NOT my children!!! they have never known a day without mom or dad, they believe with all of their heart that we will be there tomorrow, because its what they know. I have given my children everything I got taken from me, and because of this it is OK for me to miss a football practice because I'm at class, or drop the kids of at enrichment once a month and NOT stay with them, because they KNOW I'll be at the next one, because they aren't afraid of MY demons!
I have been slowly spending more and more time doing little things for myself, I've lost 40 lbs this year, partly because I go to the gym 3-5 nights a week....and I miss bed time to do it! I go to the store without my kids, and I was forced this year (although a blessing in disguise!) to alternate between the kids enrichment classes every Wednesday meaning they only got me for one of their 3 classes every week, and I got to see that they were still OK!
All of this has lead to a change in my career goals. I had decided to complete a degree in child development mostly because it was fast and easy and something I could use to run an in-home preschool (aka. never having to leave my kids) BUT with my new Epiphany this year and my growth, I have decided to go back to my roots, back to what I wanted BEFORE kids...I'm so grateful not to feel like this makes me LESS of a mom!....soooo drum roll please.....
I have 6 classes left to take and I will be applying for the Registered Nursing Program at the junior college!!!!! after completing the program I will have my RN license and from there I want to get my BSN as a midwife and maybe one day I will start my own birthing center, but at the very least I will work with mommy's and babies. I am beyond excited to be doing something that I LOVE and I am praying that I have the strength to remind myself on these long nights of the things I have been learning this year!