Deleted this due to it being too long. Need to find a way to condense it.
OK, well I will try to express my struggle without taking up a page and a half (I'm a rambler, lol). I was raised in a home with parents who loved me but had addiction issues, were young and very immature. This put me in a caretaker role at a young age. I basically became responsible for my parent's emotions and issues. They pushed me to get married at sixteen so they could be relieved of responsibility for me (I was NOT pregnant) and life became very hard after that.
I married and had three kids in four years, before I was even 21. I was divorced by 23 and went to work full-time. I liked it, I worked in a non-profit position and got to help people. It didn't pay much, but I felt like I finally had something of my own. I developed a close group of wonderful friends, and every other weekend when i didn't have my kids I did social things and just basically started learning how to build and enjoy my own life.
Fast forward to now, I am remarried and my new husband did not have children so I had a tubal reversal surgery to have two more and we have a big beautiful family of mine and ours. My vision of this new life is that I would maybe finish my degree and continue to grow as a person while having this amazing partner and children and life would be great....but that has not happened.
When I was pregnant with mine and dh's first baby (five years ago) he decided to pursue another degree at night while working full-time so he could earn more money. It took FIVE YEARS. I have been staying at home and had another baby in this time so they would not be too far apart (then had a tubal). He is very hands on with all the kids so I thought us having our own children would be so much easier and more fulfilling and enjoyable with all his parenting help and it is...when he is home, which is rare. He graduated in Dec, Summa Cum Laude, after reaching his personal goal of becoming a certified accountant. He started a new job today in tax, which basically means since this is tax season we will not see him till April or May.
I have tried several times to go back and finish my degree and have not been able due to childcare and kid responsibilities. I feel like I always have to put my needs, goals, dreams, and everything on the back burner for everybody else!! The way the classes were set up at the community college, I would have to pay for childcare for two full days and I can't pay for that when not even bringing in income. I think I would like to go to work part-time...but I don't know how to work out childcare for that either. I am so ready to make a change and tired of being the one holding down everything here at home by myself while dh works and pursues his dream career...But I am struggling to set and reach personal goals while having the responsibility of all five kids nearly alone. My first three kids dad is not involved at all.
I wonder if anyone else has felt this way before and what they did to change it. I realize I could do online classes at home with the kids here but I hate online, and was really looking forward to going and being with people in the real world again that are not children. I cannot talk to many people IRL about it, because I get the "you're so lucky to be at home, enjoy it, blah blah blah." I am done with this part of my life and want to move on and into a career or something else personally fulfilling. I am not the type that believes women have to stay at home to be good mothers, I have worked outside the home before and loved and felt I was an even better parent because I had something other than the daily routine of childcare to look forward to. My husband continually tells me that we are in a higher tax bracket and nearly all my check would get eaten by taxes and childcare....I feel frustrated and stuck and wish I knew the direction to take next....
I'd love to read your post, if you're willing to repost. I don't mind long threads.
Your title totally caught my eye, because I've felt like that sooo many times and still do!
*hugs* been there. I'm here to chat if you're up to it
Helping women overcome postpartum depression and birth trauma. http://www.postmommyhood.com
Same here (reading the post). Plus, people may have ideas. At least to help get you started on the right-for-you path. Change won't come overnight, but is there a goal you can or want to work towards? Maybe your path won't be traditional to reach your goal, but no matter what roundabout way you must take, you can do it. I think we all get stuck into ruts where we doubt the choices we made or that were (seemingly) made for us by circumstance.
I guess a really accurate word would be "stuck", I just feel very stuck. I don't know how to move forward to change my life, or what direction to even take, really. When i think about returning to college, I think of the years it would take and all the requirements and classes, and I get overwhelmed and feel like I can't do it. Would it be simpler to just try to take a shorter vocational program of some sort that would at least get me back in the work force? I am not sure what my next step should even be, really.
I honestly feel I could have written this post. Very similar situation. I got married at 16 because I was pregnant, had 2 kids by 20, divorced at 23 and now I'm in another relationship and still feeling stuck. I get overwhelmed to easily and start thinking about the shortest route out, but I know that wont make me happy and then all of the hard work I'd have to do to get to where I want to be freezes me. I literally get so overwhelmed that I do nothing, then I feel guilty and depressed.. vicious cycle. I don't have any advice, just commiseration..
Working from home Mommy. You can too. Ask me how!
me & she = TTC one of these Proud Mommy to two of these
I also feel the same way. The only solution I can think of for me is to be patient and wait until the kids are in school so at least I can avoid the cost of daycare. I wish I could figure out a better way.
I was also thinking of starting with a few on-line classes and switching to regular ones when the kids are in school. I'd still need to come up with the money for that. Plus, I feel pretty much solely responsible for these kids because DH cannot be there a lot.
I would look into university daycares near you. I attend an urban university and the campus daycare, which is a lovely place and NAEYC accredited, has grants for daycare for students that cover the cost of tuition. Well, I think it costs me $5 a week to send my son full time there. This daycare recieved funds for these grants through a grants from the goverment. Shorthand it is CCAMPIS. http://www2.ed.gov/programs/campisp/faq.html#q4 Eligibility for these grants depends on income level and if you qualify for pell grants. Basically I was told that if I qualified for pell grants, I would receive this scholarship. This semester is my 4th semester with my children in daycare on campus, and it has been a lifesaver to not have to worry about daycare costs.
Even if your school daycare does not offer this specific scholarship, they often offer reduced fees for students. It's something to look into. Also, do you know what kind of financial aid you would recieve from the government if you attended school? It's not a terrible thing to take out government loans to pursue your education. The school I'm attending is fairly low cost for in state students and offers lots of financial assistance. What do you plan on majoring in? I would look around and see what options the University you're attending has. At my university, if you're planning becoming a teacher in the STEM fields and staying in the state, you may be eligible for a grant that covers tuition.
Now, none of these may apply specifically to you, but it may help to research your options more. I'm a single mom with three kids, and I was terrified I would not be able to afford school. I made it work with some luck, and I'm graduating this spring!
I don't know where the OP is from, but the PP's profile says she's from the St Louis area. A quick google gave me this:
Hopefully you will find the grants you need. If not, I am a big believer in online school. I know you said you don't like it and it may not be the easiest but it is a great way to get to your goal. Once you graduate and find a job you won't have to worry about your whole paycheck going to daycare. I know you want out of the house, I'm right there too, but you do what you can and you have five kids! This shouldn't mean that you can't accomplish your long term goals but it realistically means that you cannot get everything you want. I don't mean to be a debbie downer, I like to think of it as just realistic. If you don't have the money for daycare/can't get help then what option are left with? Please check all options thoroughly before you decide. It might be discouraging to not be able to get out on campus but you will still be working towards your goal.
I really appreciate everyone's responses. I applied for and got a part-time job as an advocate for victims with domestic violence and because it is only 12 hours per week, on evenings and weekends, my childcare costs will be minimal. I feel like I am moving in the direction of what I want to do and how I want to live.
I am proud of myself because when I first told my family, they were resistant. They did not want me to be unavailable to them in case they "needed" me. I calmly and firmly let them all know that I WOULD be taking the job and I did it! This is huge for me because I am such a people pleaser I usually cave to everyone's wishes except my own. I feel so positive about the future now. I am still interested in returning to school, but for this season of life, working part-time in the field I want to be in is a good option too.
Congratulations, allthesekids. I hope the job is going well, and that your transition from SAHM to working mom is going as smoothly as possible.
For those considering school, I did want to mention that student loans are often available to cover not only tuition costs but living costs- like childcare. Community colleges and technical schools generally have low enough tuition that there's enough left for child care- and there are always the option of evening or online classes to avoid the need for childcare. There are so many programs out there tailored to working students- but they also work well for SAH parents. I spent 3 years in nursing school online and evenings- though I left after the clinicals began because my children weren't quite ready. I'd also encourage small steps if you're not sure about what you want to do aside from being a mom- beginning with reconnecting with who you are and what brings you joy in addition to your families. Follow breadcrumbs- look for those little things that bring you joy and just notice.
Change is an exciting and sometimes scary thing- but congrats to all of you for loving yourselves enough to seek fulfillment in addition to what you have as mothers.
Lesley Reid Cross
self-connection supports connected parenting