Mothers Going Back to College: Teaching Children Valuable Lessons
When I was a kid, my mom went back to school to pursue her dream of being an interior decorator. I remember the arguments she got into with my stepfather over her time spent away from home. He thought mothers going back to college was a joke. I think she was trying to build a reliable career for herself so she could eventually get away from him and do the single mom thing properly…for her, school was both a mental escape from that increasingly-daunting daily life, and a literal chance to start anew.
I do remember the nights she was gone. But mostly, I remember her joy. I remember she and I sitting at the dining room table doing our work together, reading through our books with the same studied determination. I remember large sheets of paper, metal protractors and wooden rulers. I watched with awe as she dabbled with fine tapestries from the classroom and layered fabrics with bright colors against deep-hued paint samples. She met other mothers going back to college and for the first time since moving to our tiny town, made friends. We went together to her first jobs, staging homes and remodeling the interior spaces of fine buildings. We imagined that these people's fancy dwellings were our own and we laughed over tile and granite samples, well into the night and long, long past my bedtime. I remember feeling inspired to see my mom smiling without restraint.
Mothers Going Back to College…After College
I learned one of my most important life lessons from my mom. She taught me how to chase dreams. I chased my dreams to UCLA and when I graduated from college into one of the worst recessions in our history, I didn't bat an eye. I was told that I needed more “vocational training” than my bachelor's degree could offer, and I wasn't offended. I was motivated. I went back to community college (where I actually met many mothers going back to college) and I learned all the technical details that my big-name theoretical studies had missed. I took my love of writing and all the skills I'd gained up to that point and I learned to apply it in numerous ways. I coded my words into websites and laid them out in advertorials, taking all the little jobs that I could get my hands on, building my resume and my portfolio. I learned Photoshop, CSS, Dreamweaver, and all the commands of Office and Excel. My friends balked at my weird post-graduation entrenchment in tedium. “Why are you STILL in school?” they'd ask. You'd think I'd be so tied up with all this education that I couldn't possibly have any semblance of a life, but it surged on, enhanced all the more by everything I'd learned. I started a blog, got married and had kids. And when I seemed to just about have the writing, marketing and SEO thing down, I realized there was a whole new world of exciting things to learn! Cooking and cleaning, baking, furniture restoration and yes, even interior design. Naturally, I signed up for more classes and solicited teachings from the experts and smiled every single minute. Because even though it is a struggle as life piles on more and more, mothers going back to college is important. Education can be enriching to your life and so, so worth the effort.
Maybe someday I'll learn everything I could possibly want to know. In the meantime, I'll keep educating myself and reporting all the trials and triumphs right here.