Today’s post is by Lorena Starkey, mother of four, blogger, and student extraordinaire!
Mothers are charged with an enormous responsibility to create a firm foundation for our children, teaching them in every moment and creating a framework by which they can explore the world and develop into people with character. What baffles me is that sometimes in light of this task, we forget that part of how we teach our children is by nourishing our own spirit and expanding our own minds.
I am a mother of four children who are currently 8, 7, 5, and 4. About three years ago, I decided that I wanted to go back to college and obtain my degree. I thought carefully about my life, my personality, my learning style, and the magnitude of this undertaking. After all, I attempt to set my children up for success, why not do the same for myself? My son was only one at the time, and I knew that I would have a couple more years with the kids at home. So, this afforded me the time necessary to dedicate to school.
I also realized that I’m a person that can work independently and maintain a disciplined schedule without requiring a traditional school. Consequently, I chose an online program that allowed me to go to school full-time and still afforded me the ability to be at home with my children. Quitting was not an option, so I picked an AA in Business and a BS in Marketing as I knew my personality and secret excitement about Marketing would enable me to dive into a degree program that I actually liked. Picking a degree as an adult is perhaps a more thoughtful process as the cute professor or the hot guy in the History department are not important aspects in class selection.
As I dove into school, I remembered how much I loved learning. I loved the feeling of connecting on an intellectual level with a captive audience of eager learners. This passion and excitement propelled me through those late paper-writing nights. Certainly there were times when I sat with my laptop and a cup of coffee on my child’s bed because they were sick. I would work as hard as I could in between the moments that I had to rush them to the bathroom. Then, there were vacations that I had to schedule my assignments around our family activities.
I finished my AA in Business amidst all the craziness that life can throw a mother of four. Now, I have less than five classes left before I have my BS in Marketing. Of course, life has changed considerably as it tends to do with families and now I am managing a full-time day-job that I would have never gotten had I not been so close to my graduation. So, as I sit here writing this, after a 10 hour work-day, and an assignment looming over my head this evening, there is no doubt in my mind that obtaining a degree as a non-traditional student is a challenge. Yet, this is precisely what I have been given: challenges and joys in the precious children that I am charged with the responsibility of raising. I will teach them through my hard work and dedication that they too can love learning, achieve their dreams, and continue to expand throughout their lives. When I stand up at graduation with my honors tassels, they will know that mommy believes that despite whatever obstacles that they may have, achievement is a matter of determination, preparation, and taking advantage of those opportunities presented to us.
So, the question is: How did I do it? The answer is: I have absolutely NO idea! Perhaps just taking it one laundry load, book, dinner, and writing assignment at a time.