A few months ago, I had a discussion with RichardP at another blog about going back to school to get a simple training degree (2 years or shorter!) eventually when the kids were older.
“I’d hate to see the light go out of your eyes because you one day conclude that you never got the chance to be all that you could be.”
I really don’t think he meant ill-will toward me at all, but something about his comment sounded odd to me, as if the only way the light in my eyes wouldn’t go out, would be pursuing more education and getting back into the working world (which realistically, this may not happen now that we’re homeschooling). When something bothers me, I tend to ask women I consider friends and mentors what they think. So I asked a few women who were older (decades older) to see what they thought of his comment, especially in light of our family situation of me needing to be home with our kids right now.
Stingray gave me just an incredible reply with lots of wisdom and encouragement; it gave me much to think about.
The whole point of having these “Letters from Mentors,” is to help other women out there who may feel the way I do, have the same questions or are looking for answers that aren’t readily available anymore in our sinful culture. I hope her words blesses any women out there who come across this same sentiment like her words blessed me.
I’ve been thinking about your email a lot over the past months and I can tell you, this man’s statement is incredibly irritating to me, as well. I have to say, you need to go with your gut on this one. The light in your eyes is there because of the joy in your life. You get to decide what brings you joy. Not some random man who only knows you from the internet. It sounds to me like your family brings you joy.
What kind of light would you really have in your eyes if you went back to school, presumably went into a good amount of debt, and missed all of that time with your family? And while much of the world these days tends to equate the piece of paper you would get for your degree as an education, is that really what it constitutes?
Many would say that since I’m a homeschooling stay at home mom I am wasting my life, but I can certainly tell you that I am FAR more educated now than I was when I got my degree (which was useful in finding me a husband and that was the very best thing that came from it).
Education is not a piece of paper. It is a compilation of what you have learned. What better age to live in than the internet age to get a true education. If it is knowledge you desire, you have it nearly free at your finger tips. If it is status you desire, which is what most women want when the speak of career, then yes, school is the way to go. But as you said, at what price and will it bring you joy?
You asked if I have run into this. Not personally, no. I mean, I’ve seen people who really resent stay at home mom’s and whatnot, but it’s never been said to my face. (Well, when I was pregnant with my first a woman asked me what I was going to do after the baby came and I told her I was going to be a SAHM and homeschool. The look she gave me suggested I had a foul stench, but I just thought that was funny).
But being a SAHM has always been my dream since I was a little girl. I never had any career aspirations. I did go to college, because that is what you did at 18 those days. I didn’t enjoy it and I didn’t enjoy working for the 5 years I did.
I get that some women are happy working, but I do not believe that it is true of most of the women who make that claim. I think they say it because they think they have to. They believe it, because the alternative is unthinkable.
I’m here to tell you that it’s not unthinkable.
The alternative can really be what maintains that light.
Yeah, I know that in the midst of diapers and sleepless nights that it might not seem like it, but really envision that dream you mentioned.
Having those Godly children and watching their effect on the world. In 50 years, in 100 years, what do you think will have a bigger impact in this world?
This is all to say, that man doesn’t know what he is talking about. He’s mimicking back to you the standard knowledge so many of us were taught growing up. But were most of us ever taught an alternative choice to this? Were we ever taught that something else that might bring us great happiness is out there? Why were we never given a choice to make on our own? The very fact that you believe you do have a choice says a whole lot. Don’t let him doubt yourself. This is your choice to make and you have given it way more thought and have more experience to make the decision than vast numbers of people out there. It is yours to make. You know what brings you joy.
Block the rest of the world out and listen only to that still small voice and your husband in this matter. You will figure it out that way. The world is not in your home. Your home is where this decision needs to come from.
All my best to you, Stephanie. Make this choice in a place of confidence. Follow your gut. You know far more about this than most. Trust that.