I was inspired to write this post for the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month’s topic is The More Things Change … and it really resonated with me. Big things are ahead for me, but you’ll have to read on to find out what!
In late November I did something that I haven’t done in approximately 14 years – I registered for university classes. It was surprisingly easy. As a past student I was able to fill out a one-page form and re-activate my admission. When I attended the first time around I had to wake up at 5:00am to register by telephone, but this time around I registered at 2:30pm over the web. Even parking is easier. In the 90s there was a highly-competitive parking lottery, and people went years without securing a spot. That has all changed, and now I just have to show up at the office and pay.
In spite of the relative ease, I am still struggling. This is a big step for me, and it represents a new direction in my life. It’s yet another change of course, and I’m filled with trepidation about what it holds.
When I first attended university I chose engineering school because it felt solid and practical and potentially lucrative. I was good at math and science, and I felt I should capitalize on that. The truth is that while there were many things I enjoyed about engineering, and a whole lot of fantastic people I met along the way, it was never something that fed my soul in a meaningful way. I worked with people who were so energized by solving complex technical problems. Over lunch, they would debate the best way to build a dog trailer for a bicycle, or whether or not a Star Trek-style teleporter was scientifically possible. They loved it. I liked it well enough.
If you’ve been following my blog this isn’t news to you. You’ll know that I finished engineering school and worked as a programmer for 10 years. You’ll also know that during my second maternity leave my position was downsized, and I seized the opportunity to create a different sort of life for myself. This time around, I decided, I would be a writer.
As a writer I held a few freelance jobs, and enjoyed myself. I worked on this blog, attended conferences, and became active on social media. It’s work that has energized me in ways that engineering didn’t. Eventually I became the editor at VancouverMom.ca, an online magazine for moms. I’ve learned a lot, interviewed amazing and inspiring people, discovered my love for podcasting, visited places I never would have seen otherwise, and connected with my community in new ways. When I was talking to my husband this summer about what I wanted to do next, I told him that I was really loving where I was right now. It was true. I was pretty freaking happy.
Two things happened this fall that shifted my perspective. The first thing is that my son Jacob started full-day kindergarten. While this didn’t really net me oceans of free time, it did change my outlook. I am no longer the parent of preschool-aged children. My kids are moving out into the world on their own, and the reality is making me re-examine where I am in my life, and where I want to go next.
The second thing that happened seems much more innocuous at first blush: I was invited to an open house put on by a group that encourages young girls to explore math and science. They wrote about the importance of exposing our daughters to STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math), and I agreed. While a career in engineering wasn’t right for me, ultimately, the truth is that I don’t regret pursuing it for a minute. It opened a lot of doors for me, taught me a lot, and provided me with skills and ideas that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I started considering how I could share my love for math and science with my own kids, and with other kids. As I did, a long-buried dream surfaced from the depths of my psyche.
I could teach math and science. I could be a teacher.
I did some reading online, and one day in late October I headed up to the university campus for an information session at the Faculty of Education. Being on campus felt familiar in many ways. After all, I did spend six years of my life there. When I graduated, originally, I was happy to be done, and had no urge to return. That day, however, I felt energized to be sitting in a classroom. I left the information session with a better picture of what I would have to do if I pursued this route, and a determination to take the next steps.
Before I actually go any further, I need to take some more classes. I don’t have all of the necessary prerequisites to pursue my teaching degree, so I’m taking three classes in January, and continuing my other work. I want to take my time with this, and make sure this is actually what I want to do.
I don’t know what it will be like to balance school and parenting. I don’t know if I would actually be a good teaching candidate. I don’t know how long this will take, or what it will feel like to sit in class beside people half my age. All I know right now is that my first career dream as a child was teaching. I also know that I have volunteered with kids, even before I had kids of my own, because I love hanging out with them. Right now, I want to follow through on it, and see where it takes me.
Going back to school feels like a big change in direction, but it also feels like coming home. I guess that the more things change, the more they really do stay the same.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Mature Student — Amber Strocel is embarking on a new adventure in 2014, by returning to a space in her life she thought she’d left behind – that of being a university student.
- And then there were four — Jillian at Mommyhood learned how quickly love can grow when welcoming a second child to the family.
- Handling Change As A Mother (And Why That Takes Things To A Different Level) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she helps her young daughter navigate change and why it is so important, as a mother, to gauge her own reactions to change.
- Without Dad-One Year Later — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how her life has changed one year after losing her husband suddenly.
- Family Ties — Lori at TEACH through Love realized that her most significant, most painful wound paved the way for her to share her greatest gift.
- Rootless — After Dionna @ Code Name: Mama‘s parents packed up their home and moved to Florida this fall, she is feeling rootless and restless.
- A Letter to My Mama Self in the Swirl of Change — Sheila Pai of A Living Family shares a letter she wrote to herself to capture and remember the incredible changes from the year, and invites you to do the same and share!
- Junctions — sustainablemum explains how her family has dealt with a complete change of direction this year.
- Planning, Parenting, and Perfection — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook explains how most of the plans she made for her adult life have worked out differently than she planned, but she’s ended up getting a lot of what she really wanted.
- Why First Grade Means Growing Up… for Both Me and My Daughter — Donna at Eco-Mothering discovers that her daughter’s transition into first grade is harder as a parent.
- First Year of Mothering — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot reflects on the quiet change that took her by surprise this year.
- Building the Community YOu Desire — A recent move has Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children working toward setting up a new support network.
- Slowing down in 2013 — A car fire and a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome made 2013 a very different year than the one Crunchy Con Mommy and family were expecting!
- The Seven Year Cycle — After 7 intense years of baking, birthing and breastfeeding 6 kids, Zoie at TouchstoneZ wonders, “Will I be enough for what comes next?”
- Rebirth — Kellie of Our Mindful Life has found that each of her births leaves her a different person.
- When a Hobby Becomes a Business — This year, new doors opened for That Mama Gretchen‘s hobby of writing and blogging – it has turned into a side business. She’s sharing a bit about her journey and some helpful tips in case you’re interested in following the same path.
- 5 Tips for Embracing a Big Change in Your Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about a big change in her family and shares tips that have always helped her family embrace changes.
- Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes — Ana at Panda & Ananaso ruminates on how having a child changed her priorities.
- Homeostasis — Lauren at Hobo Mama is finding that even as elements shift in her life — in cosleeping, homeschooling, breastfeeding, & more — they mostly remain very familiar.
- Sally go round the sun — A new baby brings joy and unexpected sadness for Douglas at Friendly Encounters, as she is diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.
- Embrace it — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen muses about the changes in her family this year and how she can embrace them . . . as best she can anyway.
- Big Change; Seamless but Big — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how one of the biggest changes of her life was also a seamless transition.
- Celebrating Change — Change feeds Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep‘s soul. And all the work that seemed like monotonous nothingness finally pays off in a clear way.