I found out I was pregnant after receiving my associate's degree in the summer of 2020. I was in complete disbelief. It was not part of my "plan" since I wanted to finish college before starting a family. I had everything sorted out for how life was supposed to proceed. I was already accepted into an accelerated college program I worked extremely hard to get into. My world came crashing down on me.
As many women can relate to at times finding out you are pregnant while in school or in the middle of your career can feel like a death sentence to all you were working towards. I felt stuck since I wanted to be able to stay home with him and not put him in daycare. Mostly because of how expensive it can be and because I wanted to influence him in his early years. In addition, growing up I promised myself that I would always be independent and not have to rely on anyone. My mindset did not alter. I was not willing to give up. With tears in my eyes, I searched for solutions immediately.
Bottle and Bibs to Cap and Gown
Desperate, I spent an entire week looking for answers. Luckily, we are living in a time of technology. I finally found a school where I could complete my bachelor's online. After applying to the school, I was ecstatic to be accepted. I started classes right away in the fall of 2020. I completed my first semester then my little one was born at the beginning of January 2021. At this point, I had three semesters and student teaching left.
The second semester, I was exhausted from breastfeeding him every two hours. I also faced many challenges when it came to breastfeeding which I talk about in My Breastfeeding Experience. Any mother will tell you that sleep disappears once you give birth. He was constantly on me- this video was taken in February while I was doing schoolwork. I can't remember that point in my life as well as I wish I could—more information about that period in My Postpartum Experience. The third semester was when he began crawling and getting into everything he could. Being overstimulated by all I had to do became challenging for me to focus on some days. Including, the balance of being on Zoom calls and taking care of him. It was practically impossible to do anything on my laptop while he was awake.
It was tough to find time for myself because I would have to study while he was asleep.
The fourth semester flew by in a flash. My little one kept me on my toes by running around the house. Meanwhile, I did not think about how much I was taking on. I just did what I knew I had to do. Surprisingly, I enjoyed taking on many tasks even though at moments I felt overwhelmed. It made me feel productive to accomplish something for myself.
Luckily, during that time my mom was able to watch him while I did observation hours. I had to do about 30 hours each semester. Finally, I reached the last step yet the hardest since he had to attend daycare during my internship. I had to be at the school every day while I was student teaching. I had to sacrifice my time with him and I hated being away from him every day. You can read about our transition to daycare here.
Having him by my side while working on my bachelor's made it ten times more rewarding. I was blessed to be able to stay at home with him and do school simultaneously. Every semester I received a 4.0 along with scholarships. I proudly published a research paper with Multicultural Affairs too.
Recently, I graduated with my bachelor's degree in elementary education. Like many teachers, we are excited that we have completed the four difficult years but want more. I am now continuing my degree to become a professor. It's a continuing push to balance being a mom, wife, and educator.
The Continuation of Balancing
Life took a turn that was unexpected yet it directed me to where I was meant to be. Learning to let go of the reigns is imperative. Even though at times life comes at you unexpectedly everything happens for a reason or purpose. I was able to meet amazing mentors and opportunities after I allowed life to flow its course. My little one became my biggest blessing that guided me to greater things. Living each day one at a time is the way to live because no matter how much we plan nothing ever turns out how we expect. Previously, I wished to be able to fulfill my dream of furthering my career, having my side passion, and being a stay-at-home mom all at once. This is the main reason why I created this blog. I did not feel like I had to take on just one of those roles.
How as a parent have you done the "balancing act"?
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