I’ve been fortunate enough that my husband’s profession has provided me with the opportunity to stay home off and on over the years. Like many of you, I reached a point where I had to decide if it was worth it to go back to work (and by “reached a point” I mean every time I got pregnant).
If you have children back-to-back and they are close in age, it could mean paying more money in daycare costs than what you’d receive in a paycheck. At one point, when I only had my older two, I was working part-time and paying for full-time childcare for my two-year-old and for after-school care for my kindergartener. I literally made just enough money to pay for those costs. But, at that time, I was willing to make that trade-off for the possibility that a full-time position at that company would open up for me. After all, it was in an industry I’d studied to work for.
After eight months, I stopped waiting and landed a full-time job at a different company. Although the pay was better and I was bringing home nearly double, that position wasn’t in my field of study. Yes, I was great at my job and had many years of experience doing that type of customer service work in the past, but it wasn’t the type of job I wanted to be in long-term. (I ended up leaving that company after eight or nine months when I reached the end of my third pregnancy due to complications.)
Now that I have three kids to care for, I knew that I didn’t want to go back to work right away. I was fortunate that with my other kids I was able to stay home with them during at least their first 15 months and I wanted to do the same with the third. However, it’s always around that one-year mark that I get the itch to go back to work and do something other than stay home with baby. This time around wasn’t any different. My youngest is now eighteen months and I started this blog over two months ago. See…I scratched the itch.
While I’ve never been asked directly, I know people wonder about it: How I’m still paying back a s*** load of money in student loans and I’m not even working in the field I studied. Okay, so maybe I wonder about it more than other people do because I’m the one mailing out that check every month towards a loan that seems to never go down. And I also catch myself wondering if it was worth it to have spent all that money on my college degree when I’m clearly not working in finance…I’m writing.
Why didn’t I major in English?
Obviously having an English major at this point would make what I do look more credible, which is ridiculous because nobody ever questions a doctor when they use the “Dr.” title. It’s as if writers don’t get any credibility until they have a number one best seller or their novel is turned into a three-part blockbuster series.
But I digress…
The point I wanted to make with this post is that it doesn’t matter what your background is in because nothing you study in college is going to prepare you for parenting (okay, so maybe early childhood classes might prove to be beneficial, but only if you can remember the material). It’s also impossible to predict where your life will take you when you’re only 18 and choosing a major.
In my opinion, way too much emphasis is placed on the actual field you study. In reality, the fact that you survived and came out of your college experience with a degree says a lot about your character:
- That degree says that you are willing to spend money on a future that you aren’t 100% sure about.
- It says you are capable of commitment…
- That you are willing to study and work hard to pass the test….
- And that you can survive on just a few hours sleep.
I don’t know about you, but sounds to me like going to college helped you prepare for motherhood.
When you’re pregnant, reality sets in and you realize that you’re going to have to take care of (and pay for) this helpless baby and you’re willing to do it because you made a commitment. You’re going to read books and articles and ask other parents for advice because you want to be prepared for the final exam – motherhood.
It doesn’t matter if you choose to go back to “work” after having your baby or not because taking care of your baby is work. That degree doesn’t mean less to a stay-at-home mom than a working mom. If anything it means that a stay-at-home mom has a Plan B in case she starts to get the itch to go back to work, too.
If you start to regret choices you made in the past, won’t that undermine who you’ve become because of those choices? Even if you consider going to college a mistake, it’s a mistake that you’ve learned from. Mistakes are a part of life and you should appreciate them and view them as opportunities to grow instead of viewing them as regrets or wishing for do-overs.
In my life, I know that everything that I’ve done has led me to right where I am right now and I like where I am now. Why would I want to change any of that?
Has anyone ever asked you about your decision NOT to use the college degree you spent so much money on? What was your response?