If you’ve been following this blog for a little while you may know that I’m at home full time but I’m not the traditional version of a stay-at-home-mum. My youngest is home with me full-time and my eldest goes to pre-school two days per week. I work from home and recently, I’ve taken on more of the workload. I’ve also been studying a Masters for the past year and I made a big decision about my studies last week that had me questioning – what is my idea of success?
The Journey of Study
I started my Masters at the perfect time. I hadn’t ever felt what other mums spoke of when they said they needed to get out of the house and were relieved to go back to work. I’d been at home, blissfully basking in motherhood for 2.5 years when one day I woke up and it hit me like a slap in the face. I felt irritated, frustrated and ever so slightly resentful. All of a sudden I’d had enough of giving all of myself. I needed to do something for me and I had to do it immediately.
I knew straight away that I should study. I love the process of learning and I’ve always felt most alive and invigorated when I’m engaging in something new. I found something that looked perfect and enrolled the following week.
This first year challenged me and I’ve learned so much more than I ever could have imagined. Its given me something to think about other than nappies, bottles and what outfit my LOs should wear that day – more than enough to break up the monotony that is often associated with motherhood in the early years.
Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Part of the problem with loving that feeling of being productive is scheduling. For the past 12 months, I’ve spent every single weekend buried away studying, trying to get assessments done and squeezing in my reading at every opportunity. If the kids went down for a nap – I’d study. If they fell asleep early at night, I’d lock myself away and study. When I had to take a few weeks off to manage a project for work, I realised that regardless of how much I love it, maybe this isn’t the right time for a Masters.
Yes, I felt reenergised, far more challenged and a distinct feeling that I was filling a void but I hadn’t realised just how many weekends had flown by with the kids stuck at home while mum buries her nose in a book. I now recognise that I can’t do it all and do it well. And so, another decision has been made as I focus on what will make me happiest in the long-term and riding the path of least resistance. There will be plenty of time for more self development but childhood is fleeting.
A New View From the Top
Life and motherhood is full of ebbs and flows and being a woman can be tough. At times we’re still expected to put our own desires to the side in favour of traditional responsibilities or, god forbid – other people’s goals. My idea of success is being able to master the art of the balancing act. I understand what it is that I really want for myself, what makes me happy and I know that some things that me happy today may not do so in the future. I also try to keep the fact that they’re only children for so long in the front of my mind and let that help to drive my decisions. My family needs me in a different capacity right now. It’s an exciting time for us and my studies will be there for me when I continue them sometime in the near future.
I never want to be stuck in a place from which I should move because of ego or be driven by what society considers to be right or wrong or perhaps “too traditional” in the minds of our peers. Successful women know who they are, what they’re influenced by and own their decisions. And, surprisingly this decision has made me feel liberated. I’m not giving up what I love, I’m putting it on hold for a specific amount of time to do something else fun and exciting and after that, I will return to the love of learning and it will be just as thrilling and amazing.
This process has made me more conscious of the things that fill my days and the necessity to constantly reassess whether these things make me happy. Understanding ourselves and accepting that it’s ok to change our minds or be driven by different priorities at different times can also relieve a lot of the pressure we often place upon ourselves.