Shame Motivates Me | Finishing College Post Motherhood
“You could start taking a college course a semester online and finish you degree!” she told me enthusiastically.
I could. I totally could.
Yet, that night, I felt hesitant telling my husband. Something about going back to school while at home with my kids felt off. I couldn’t quite place it besides I worried that I’d be too busy and stressed out with deadlines and papers. My husband didn’t say much. Just listened like usual when I present him with my ‘big ideas’.
I must agree that my path has been a bit unconventional. Usually it’s college after high school, career, marriage and then babies.
I started college five years after high school, got married half way through and now need a couple more years to finish. That doesn’t seem like much. Living life with another took my dreams beyond me to ‘we’ and they branched out no longer including school.
I often invision finishing school. In my idealist mind it all seems so simple and manageable. In a perfect world I would rise early, do my online class, then do all the housewifey things and child duties and in the cracks and quiet times and when the kids are asleep at the end of the day do homework. This is my ideal which of course is factoring out sleepiness nights, sick kids, spontaneous plans and all my free time.
Honestly, it feels hard, stressful and like pushing upstream.
I get that sometimes you gotta do the things that are hard and mess up the flow of daily life. Sometimes you just man up and do work regardless of feelings. That’s life. I know you get it. You’ve been there. So, give me a plan and I’ll do it. I’m an activator at heart. Working on big goals make me come alive energized.
Yet, shame also motives me. It taunts me for not having a degree. Comparing myself to others leaves me feeling degraded, lazy even by a society who views all I do as simply staying at home. Am I ok with pushing against that current? What do I want my personal story to be?
In my struggle of “Do I make this hard thing happen?” or “Do I stay at home
doing nothing?” the still small voice mediates into my vexed soul.
What do you really want?
If I really wanted to go back to school, I so could bust my butt making it happen.
I’m not asking what you can do, I’m asking what’s your heart’s desire?
As I sit on my recliner chair, phone down, rocking my baby to sleep, totally present to my surroundings, I watch my sweaty babies eyes flutter, dozing off. He’s the sweatiest of my babies. I see my five year old pour milk into his cereal bowl. Blotches of white bounce out and disappear from view. No less a mess for me to wipe. The two year old is laying with her shirt pulled up, bare belly pressed hard on the floor. This is the stuff I get to witness that distractions would steal away.
My eldest can now pour himself cereal. It seems not long ago I was rocking him like I rock my baby now. My daughter is growing and exploring. None of these things are in any way amazing milestones but they are a part of their childhood that will never rewind.
When I think about being a mom, I really long to be present giving my children the best childhood I can. So far I have no regrets of staying home sans those shaming moments for not fully graduating. But, you know, school will always be there. I’m trusting God with the timing exactly. I get to experience my children’s childhood right now and that’s something I can never redo. That’s something I’ll never get back.
So, when you’re torn between getting something done or pursuing a dream, listen to what the still small voice is telling you. What’s your driving passion more than anything else?