I wrote this whole post, and when I went back to re-read it, it sounded like a giant pity party. So this is take two.
Why the pity party, you ask?
Well for a the past couple of weeks, I was hopefully entertaining the very realistic possibility of having it all.
Having it all? Really?
Yep, that’s right. You see, it’s not too much of a stretch. I’m lucky enough (yes, even on the hard days) to be home with my sweet babies all day. I love this gig (yes, even on the hard days) and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So what more could you want?
Great question. I love being a mom, but part of being a mom is being a human. I love being there for my kids but I also want to set an example for them. For me, that involves being something in addition to being a mom.
So I spend a lot of time thinking about what that means for me. It’s a surprisingly hard question. There’s a lot of things I could do with my time outside of motherhood, some more practical than others. And for somebody who writes about authenticity, it’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to figure out what my authentic path in this life is.
But a few weeks ago, I was pretty sure I had found it. An online masters degree in English with an emphasis in writing. I could finally check a masters degree off my bucket list, I could study the thing I’ve been most passionate about all along. I could suck it up and be brave enough to get serious about writing. And I could do it all online, meaning I wouldn’t have to put my kids in daycare to attend class.
I knew when I submitted my application that I was a few undergrad English credits short of the requirement, but I thought, “What the heck? Go for it.” Once they reviewed my transcripts then I would know how many I needed and could complete them. The previous graduate program I had been enrolled in just lumped all my required undergrad and grad work into my program plan.
Not the case with this one.
This morning I received a very nice email from the program director explaining that I was short the required credits. And this afternoon I received the standard “We regret to inform you…” letter.
Turns out, even though my logical brain knew that it was a possibility, a stamped and sealed rejection letter is still a blow to the ego. And the morale.
Thus, the pity party.
You may be thinking, it’s just a few undergrad classes. Just get them done and then enroll in the graduate program.
You’re right, it is just a few classes. Classes I would happily take.
Except they aren’t offered online. Which means time in class. Which means daycare. Which means giving up time with my kids.
Which means NOT “having it all”. At least not all at once.
So, quick u-turn before we end up back in pity party land, that is where I’m at. I’ll admit, I was majorly bummed to have felt like “having it all” was so close to possible, only to have the hope dashed. Mostly, I was excited about this new possibility.
And it’s not that it’s not possible. It definitely is. I have several different choices of ways to make it work.
But I’m not going to. At least, not right now.
Because the truth is, it isn’t about the details. It’s about a big picture choice I have to make. I can either make it work, which means making sacrifices, the biggest of which will be time with my kids. Or I can be patient. Waiting a few years until my children are in school means a lot more flexibility when it comes to pursuing my own educational goals.
For me, it’s an obvious choice.
I know this time with them is a gift. One that I’m not willing to sacrifice.
And just to be clear, it’s not because I feel obligated to stay with them. It’s because I want to. With all my heart. Even on the hardest days, this mom gig is my dream job.
Waiting to start the program isn’t a sacrifice for me. Giving up time with my kids would be.
So the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that this isn’t a simple rejection from a graduate committee. It’s actually a quiet little nudge from the universe. To stop trying so hard to move on to the next thing and just enjoy this thing. This time where I have the privilege of making motherhood my priority. This time where I don’t have to juggle all the things. I’m choosing to believe that someone up there is looking out for me and knows I need a little reminder to use this time wisely. There will be a time for classes and degrees. Right now is the time for little people. Because classes and degrees will always be there. Little people won’t.
Frankly, I’m a little embarrassed to have needed the reminder.
This is also a good time to mention that just because this particular path isn’t the right personal growth path for me right now doesn’t mean there isn’t a personal growth path for me right now. It’s just not one defined by a university.
Someone who inspires me recently wrote on her own blog (in reference to her music career) that if there isn’t a gig, create one. In other words, don’t wait for someone to offer you a path. Make your own.
Just because my current personal growth path isn’t nationally accredited doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile. I have piles of books to read and mountains of ideas to write. I don’t need someone else to assign me work for me to do work of value. And the best part is, when I’m writing my own curriculum, I can make sure it never interferes with the real work of value, soaking up the beautiful madness of motherhood.
Not having plans work out the way you thought you wanted them to isn’t fun, even when you know deep down it’s for the best. I will own that. So tonight I have scheduled a real-life pity party with a good friend, complete with beer and possibly some form of nachos.
And then tomorrow I’ll get back to work.