For the last 7 years, 3 months, and 22 days, I have been mostly defined by my status as a mother. I have reveled in pregnancies, births, milestones. I have stood by in awe as my children grew from tiny squalling babes, to little people who can read and do math and copycat and walk. I have loved every minute of all of this, so I think thats why I'm having a hard time admitting that after all these years, I'm choosing to take on a major life commitment along with being a full time mom. In a lot of ways, I expect flack for selfishly pursuing something that is bound to take time away from the kids, but really I think it will be time re-directed towards something else...time I spend Facebooking or blogging will now be used elsewhere and not so different from what we're doing now.
Probably the greatest source of angst is coming from this place deep down where I feel like I should be content to be Elliot's or Brookelyn's or Trae's or Archer's mom...and honestly if thats all I ever did in my life, it would have been enough. But I also feel like I am an individual aside from being their mom, I am Amber. I have all these things that I would like to take my kids to do...I want lessons for ballet and karate and piano and I want to have them in soccer and t-ball and all these things that cost money...a lot of money. But in spite of that, I want to to something for myself. I don't want to be defined as a mom, I want being a mom to be part of what defines me...Amber. Because as much as I love my role as a wife and mother, I WANT to do things that enrich me as a person and you can have both...you can. It's a matter of getting the right balls rolling, and the right amount of belief in yourself, and dedication to the cause.
So as I take these tentative steps to do something that feels 100% for myself, it is really a way to make things better for my family in the long run. I have to remember that, because otherwise I feel like I would be cheating my kids, ad I know that things will be a little more hectic maybe...but not altogether different.
I'm usually a person who wants to scream things from the rooftops, but with this I am having a hard time telling anyone my plans. I have shared my plans with much trepidation to a few people, and have been met with pretty enthusiastic well wishes, and yet I am still so afraid to write it here. Anyway, the ball is rolling, so I may as well get it out. I'm sure for some of you, it's going to seem like I made a big deal about something so small....but to me it feels HUGE. I have to admit to a lot of self doubt right now.
I'm starting school in October. I will be enrolled as an online student at Kaplan University. I will be working first towards my bachelors and eventually my masters degree of science in criminal justice with an emphasis in forensic psychology. I've researched for months to find something that feels perfect for me...I've always been interested in psychology, law, and criminal justice, so this is what I came up with thats a culmination of the 3. It should take me 5 years to earn my masters, just in time for Archer to start school. It is important for me to be home with my kids until they are off to school, so this idea happened to pop into my head one day that if I earned my degree now, I would be ready to jump in to the workforce when Archer starts school...and since then I have prayed for help with my decision. This feels right. My husband supports me 100%. My family is happy for me. I suppose thats all that matters.
I plan on keeping photography as a creative interest because I do love it...but what i've found is that with this digital camera era and the economy, people are opting to take their own pictures or pay a novice, and I really want a steady income when the time comes for me to be in the work force again. I will definitely be doing it on the side when I can, because I have a passion for it....I just didn't think it wise to count on that for an income, because even my boss who's been doing photography for almost 30 years is struggling to pull work in.
** to make sure it's clear to everyone...I have utmost respect for any stay-at-home mom (or dad :)) who is blissfully happy doing just that and being defined by that because surely it is a badge of honor, the most important one to attain, I say. I just want to make sure everyone understands that...just as I know not everyone feels a need to seek out interests that don't involve their kids, and while I respect that...I am not one of them.
"Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone's task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it." ~E.E. Cummings