When I was a little girl, I always had high hopes and dreams to have a booming career; to be independent and make something of myself. I remember being around 8-years-old and telling myself that I would never give up on my dreams…. Even though I didn’t really know what my dreams were at that point in my life.
I just always knew that there was a professional purpose for me in life. From the time I began working at the age of 15, I could never settle and continued to seek for better jobs with more potential and better pay, of course! During the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school, I went through an 8-week course that trained me to take the exam to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. I studied and practiced my skills and passed the exam!
At only 16 1/2-years-old, I began working in a nursing home on their 3-11 work shifts as a CNA…
I remember being so proud of myself… Of what doors I was opening up for myself… And for the financial security I could have!
Some might say I was a workaholic. I loved being independent and knowing that I was able to buy the nice shoes and clothes I wanted.
That mindset continued on, and maybe grew even stronger, as I continued to evolve my goals and dreams….
Fast forward a few years later…
As I attended Slippery Rock University, I did not live the average college student’s lifestyle. Rather than “cruising through life” and worrying about nothing besides my studies, I worked a full-time job bartending at my step-sister’s bar, which happened to be in Pittsburgh and over an hour away from my school!
I quickly learned what time management was and taught myself a strict schedule that involved little sleep, much coffee, much studying, and of course… A whole lot of work and dedication!
I graduated with high honors with a degree in Health and Physical Education and defeated all of crazy odds that were against me. Once again, I could truly say that I was so proud of what I accomplished…independently.
I landed a full-time teaching job a month after graduation…. I know, again, another HUGE pride-booster! For those that don’t know, finding a teaching job in Pennsylvania is just as common as hitting the lottery…. So I guess I could say, “CHA CHING?!”
After having my first son, I still wasn’t professionally satisfied, so I decided to attend an online Graduate School program to earn my Master’s Degree in Educational Development and Strategies. All while planning a wedding (we bought a house when I became pregnant with our son and put the wedding off until later in our lives together)! I graduated a week before our wedding with a 4.0 GPA. Again, I was very proud of myself and what I was able to accomplish.
I am, by no means, trying to brag. Only make it clear how hard I have worked and how much pride I have found in my professional accomplishments…because I did it all on my own.
Fast forward a few more years…
Now that you know the background, this part should make more sense. I am now a mother of two AMAZING boys. As you may have read in my previous posts, they are my reason for living each day. I cannot imagine not being “mom”… Which is why I find every Monday-Friday to be the hardest, most emotional days of my life. I struggle continually to come to a reasonable choice of whether or not all that hard work and dedication that brought me to the amazing career I now have was even worth it?
I can honestly say that I LOVE my job; I love my co-workers, my students, am so passionate about what I teach…. And yet I still find every day a complete struggle to be there… Away from the two little people that mean more than anything in the world to me.
I just keep telling myself that in a few years, when my youngest son, Adam (now 18-months-old) goes to school, it will be easier and that I am making a difference in so many children’s lives and am giving my children a more financially-stable life. I try to remind myself that I would like to be a role model for my sons; of what type of woman they deserve…
But is that the truth? I still struggle to find the answer…
I truly envy stay-at-home moms. Not because they “don’t work”…because I truly think that a dedicated mother does MORE work when she is home with her children. But, because I would give anything to freeze my career and be able to spend these early years of their lives with them. I envy the moms that can have daily playdates, or even just stay in their PJ’s and cuddle on the couch on rainy days. I envy the moms that can take their children to and from preschool, take them to a nice lunch, or to just have those extra few hours together each day.
After 5 years of being a working mom, I still don’t know if it’s the right choice. I do know a few things, though. I know that I will always try to be the best mom I can be; no matter how tired I am at the end of the day. I know that I am eternally grateful to have the career that I have because it enables me to help provide for our family. And I know that I am so grateful for Summer break…. Because I get a small sample of what it’s like to live my ultimate dream of being home with my children.
And with all of that, it’s still a CONSTANT STRUGGLE…