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I sometimes feel like I am wasting my education...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
It isn't very often but this week I finished my thesis and I am done with grad school. I am proud of myself but...I'm not going to use my degree for a few years...

I think that is where this feeling comes in that I am wasting my education by being a SAHM. Not that I have a huge amount of earning potential...I am a teacher/ early childhood interventionist but I really do feel like I have so much to offer the world of young impoverished children!

I know my ds and dd are really getting a A+ mom by me being home and that is a great gift to them. I know poor families will still be around and needing help when my children are older but I'll tell you what, it makes me feel sad when I think of all those who are slipping throught the cracks right now!

Anyway...I'm glad this forum is here now!
post #2 of 17
I so totally know what you mean. I don't have a post-bac degree, but I worked very hard on the two BA's that I do have. I miss the discussion of a high school honors English class about the ins and outs of The Awakening, by Kate Chopin and think of all the minds that get opened by reading a book like that. I still drive past a college campus and feel a longing to be there apart of that world.
But, then I realize that my skills as a teacher and my desire to open minds to possibilities are ideal for raising my children. And who better to teach them every day all day than mama?

Blessings,
N~
post #3 of 17
I know what you mean. My parents paid for a great deal of my college education, and I've felt guilty at times that I haven't "used" it that much--although my parents totally support my being a SAHM.

My mom had her master's degree, and she stayed home with us most of the time. She did take some part time jobs in her field once we were in school. She told me that she never regretted staying with us.

Personally, I feel very fortunate because I'm able to do some freelance work in my field on a pretty regular basis, so I can keep my skills honed. I don't know if I'll homeschool or not, but if I do, my education surely won't be wasted. And if my kids go to school outside the home, I may take a part time job while they're in classes.

I guess the bottom line is that it's never a "waste" to enrich yourself, as corny as that sounds. Heck, I still take piano lessons and anyone who has ever heard me play knows that I won't be doing any public perfomances any time soon! :
post #4 of 17
I also miss it. I love SAHM, and am not willing to complicate my life by WOHM. I know it would be too much for me. But, I miss having a career and think about all the kids who are not being taught by me. I miss that.

DH just signed up for two summer classes. Although this will be a little stressful for the family, we feel that it will really help his career. I felt jealous. I really wanted to take a class, but it just doesn't make sense for me to do so at this time. Learning in college was very important for me and I'm sorry that, at least a tthe moment I can't study now. I decided to read some non-parenting books right now, to feel as though I am keeping my brain active.

Also, I am considering trying to start some baby sign classes at a local Gymboree. This will give a bit more income, and will let me use my skills.
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by BathrobeGoddess
Not that I have a huge amount of earning potential...I am a teacher/ early childhood interventionist but I really do feel like I have so much to offer the world of young impoverished children!
I just left an early intervention job, contracting with the county to provide home-based social work services. It was likely the best job I will ever have, but was too much with three children. My boundaries were quite blurred because of working from home (for paperwork and phone calls). It was totally not working.

I feel like I use my education every day, and I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today had I not gone to grad school. The part that sends me over the edge every time I think about it is the 50K in student loans that I can't consolidate to get better interest rates because I consolidated a few years ago :
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys so much...I am really glad that someone can relate to me. I do know that I am doing what is best for my children...
I guess another part of it is that I am the one who is educated in my marriage...my husband just began college last year and right now he is working about 20hrs a week as a cook. If I was working, we would not be so poor. That is another thing that feeds my guilt...I am the one who can make the better money...while I was still in school, being poor wasn't an issue for me but now that I'm done I am feeling that social pressure (not from dh form other) to get out there....
post #7 of 17
Congrats on finishing BathrobeGoddess

Yesterday I took my last exam & turned in my last paper for who knows how long, and I am still 20 credits short of a 4 year degree that I've been working on since 1993! I guess realizing what is most important gives the shaft to our own formal "enrichment" sometimes. I can completely sympathize though - the thought of no more face to face commisseration w/ other liberal critical thinkers (well other than dh & the knee high variety) for a few years has almost made me cry in the last couple of days. I just keep telling myself that I made it back after the round #1 kids (95 & 96) and after this baby (and the next), I will make it back again. On the brighter side hopefully time will bring about new developments in our disciplines, that could make it that much sweeter once we have the life time for diving back in. I'm super glad this forum is here too!
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by zen-ozz
I feel like I use my education every day, and I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today had I not gone to grad school. The part that sends me over the edge every time I think about it is the 50K in student loans that I can't consolidate to get better interest rates because I consolidated a few years ago :
:
i did a 4 year masters degree to become a minister. i went about $30,000 into debt for it, and that's where i met DH and he finished the degree too, so together we are swimming in about $60,000 worth of education debt. and we also consolidated when interest rates were a lot higher. and neither of us has a job that has anything to do with our degree. i'm a SAHM and he runs a computer store.

as a matter of fact, i am not even a unitarian universalist anymore. i spent all three years of active ministry with a dual affiliation: jewish and UU, and after i left the ministry i realized i also needed to leave UUism.

like you, i really did learn so much in grad school (and college, good gracious, i'd be such an idiot if i hadn't gone to college!!!), but still, my life would have been rather different (and SO much less EXPENSIVE) if DH and i had bailed on ESR after our first year. sigh.

but i'm sure i learned a lot from my "useless" past, and i am so much happier than i used to be. i know, from experience, that i am supposed to be a jewish mama and nothing else (at least right now). but i wish i could erase that debt!
post #9 of 17
I too don't regret graduate school for a minute. It changed me in ways that are really fundmental to my being. I never feel like I'm wasting the growth that happened there. I do miss the environment, and I miss using the specific skills I learned (master's in music). It is those specific skills that I sometimes feel I'm wasting, but not the experience in its entirety. It's hard to accept that I can't play the pieces I used to play.

I can relate to the poster who talked about driving past a college campus and wanting to be there. Last week I got my alumni magazine and they had the whole issue devoted to a photo essay "24 hours on campus". I was so homesick! I wanted to be there so badly living that life. Then, I went to my brother's college graduation and was teary and emotional throughout it, remembering how I felt when I got my master's.

ETA that I just remembered how the whole 3 years I was in grad school we were ttc, and how I longed to be able to just be home and be a mom. Now I'm a mom! I guess the grass is always greener.
post #10 of 17
Me too.

And unlike some other people, I don't believe my college education will make me a better mother. I started this BA in psychology six years ago and I'm just now at the very end of my junior year. (Taking Spring term off; might go back in the summer.)

I don't plan on going back to work until my dds are high-school-age. I'd like to homeschool. So I'm looking at not working for another 10 years, at least. Psychology is a field you almost can't do anything in without a graduate degree, too.

If I drop out of school, I'll have to repay my loans, which I can't do without income. I know I can defer them, but only for a certain amount of time, and definitely not 10 years! Dh has his own $80K student loan debt to pay off; he can't pay for mine too.

So really, I feel trapped into staying in school when I may have no use for the degree. And it's really hard to convince my professors to be accomodating about my desire to have no one but me or dh be with the children when I've made it clear I don't even plan on going and getting a job with the degree!

But my plan is to keep plugging away at it anyway.
post #11 of 17
I don't feel like I "wasted" my education. Sure I'll need some refreshing when I get back in the workforce, but I still use what I learned as a mother (I am/was a teacher). No "real" job has the benefits of a SAHM :awink:
post #12 of 17
The really frustrating thing to me is trying to pay back the school loans even though I have no income. Its such a struggle to get by on dh's salary and if we didn't have the school loans our lives would be so different. We would be financially comfortable instead of just getting by.

And in a way I'm annoyed that people weren't more honest from the start. In hight school they give you all these stats on how you will earn 1 million more in your lifetime with a college degree, but they don't tell you the stat that just by becomming a mother the average college educated woman loses 1 million in earning power over her lifetime which means I'm in the whole tens of thousands of dollars for what I paid for my education. That said, I'm very glad I went to college. I really loved it and would probably do it again. If I had it to do over again, I would probably have had kids earlier so that I could go right in to the work force and stay there post-college. But everyone encourages you to wait until college is over before starting a family.
post #13 of 17
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post #14 of 17
Me too.

My DH and I occasionally discuss if we did things backwards... when we met I had finished by BA in psychology and social behavior and he was still taking a couple of classes at a time. He worked full time to support me while I went back to school to get my teaching credential. Once I finished and started teaching full time he quit work and went to school full time to finish his BS. In 9 years of being together we have never both had a full time job at the same time and now we sometimes wonder if it is worth the student loans we are still paying on my teaching credential that I don't use and likely won't for many years. BUT in the end I feel like the confidence and knowledge that if something every happened to my DH's job or God forbid, to him - that I could go back to teaching and have that education to fall back on.
post #15 of 17
Sometimes I guess. Mostly, it's other people who keep asking me when I'm going "back to work". I never worked in my field (I got my master's in materials science, with a physics emphasis) really, as we were married right after I graduated. I may start tutoring in my home when DS get's a bit older. I don't really view it so much of a waste though, because I'll always have my degrees. We're paying a lot in student loans, but I wouldn't give up my college experience. I do miss it sometimes, but it is nice to not have to take tests.
post #16 of 17
I wonder about the "having something to fall back on" bit. I've been out of work for 4 years now, and let's say I stay home for another 10...and then want to go back to work at my original job with a BA that I got in, say, 2008...am I really going to look that good to employers?

People tell me to stock up on volunteer work related to my field. So I get a little here and there...but the good work, the stuff that would look really impressive on my resume...falls to people who have more time to spend at the center, like retired people who aren't staying home with children! So the volunteer work I get is basically the work that anyone could do, although pre-babies I had a job with much higher qualifications.

I know I'm where I'm supposed to be, but it does scare me to think I'm going to get a college degree, maybe even a graduate degree, and then when I want to go back to work I'll be scrubbing bathrooms at Starbucks.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I know I'm where I'm supposed to be, but it does scare me to think I'm going to get a college degree, maybe even a graduate degree, and then when I want to go back to work I'll be scrubbing bathrooms at Starbucks.
That is it!!! That is what gets me so freaked out!!!!!! Thank you for giving me the words! Just having those feelings verablized has helped me...Really just this moment I feel so much better knowing what it is that really bothers me about this whole issue.

Thank you!
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