This past fall, I went back to college for the first time in years. I have done periodic online classes since my children were born, but I’ve never done fully in-person classes. Part of it was location; we lived nearly 2 hours from my college. But part of it was balancing the act of going to school with being a mom. Now that I have returned, I find it a great balancing act. How do I give enough of myself to them, to my schooling, to their schooling, to housework, to my sanity, to my friends, to my family? Many nights I have left the house amidst pleas of “mommy don’t go” and tears. Surprisingly, my baby has been the easiest-going of all! But I struggle with what the right choice is: the older two children had me present always; am I doing him an injustice by being gone during his babyhood? Will he suffer? Will I mess up his attachment? Many of my fears are irrational, but as moms, don’t we all have those irrational fears? I worry. I’m a mom; it’s what I do. I have learned that I can’t be home and effectively study, so I have to pack up and head to the library – more time away from them. And then there have been naysayers, those who have been insistent that my place belongs in the home and I should bring myself back there. I think those views are the hardest to deal with, because they play on my deepest, darkest fears. Should I or shouldn’t I continue?
But there’s another side. There’s a side of me that gets a rush with each paper or exam turned in and aced. The side of me that gets a natural high from hours in the library researching. I love the academics and truly enjoy learning. I have forgotten how much I’ve missed this! I’m approaching the end of my degree in just a couple short semesters and I find myself questioning: what is it I’m going to do? Will I continue on to graduate school? Or will I get a job? Or will I just sit on my degree, like a golden egg stored up for a rainy day? My dream? To go on and begin a PhD program, working towards research and a position as a professor one day. It seems more like a pipe dream as I wipe another snotty nose and change another poopy diaper. But when I’m there, amongst the professors, buried knee deep in research articles, learning the lingo, I feel it. It’s so close it makes my heart race. And for a just a brief moment, I can taste it. And you know what? I indulge and let myself.
About Jen Salowitz
I am a mama to 3 boys. I strive to live a greener, healthier live while preserving my children's innocence. I enjoy reading, learning more about natural birth and health-care, and playing the piano!