Sunday, June 27, 2010

More, Please

I finished my first two classes for grad school this past week. I can't believe they're done already; the month went by so fast. It seems crazy that we could do an entire course in a month, but because we meet for 4hrs at a time, 4wksx8hrs=32 hrs, which is the regular number of hours a course would meet in an entire semester. My next class, intro to special ed, is only three days long, but it's a 1-credit class, and we'll still get in 12hrs of instruction. I don't understand why we're only spending one credit on special ed, when every single class has children with special needs in it, and I wish there was at least one entire full-length course on it, but I suppose that we will probably address special needs instruction through our other courses as well, so maybe the one-credit class will focus on classroom issues and identification, IEPs, and working with parents and leave the rest to the other courses. We had the professor who designed the MAT program as an instructor this past session, and he's a genius, so I guess I should trust his judgment, and wait and see.

One thing I love about being back in school again is rediscovering the feeling that I am a capable individual, that I'm good at something. In the nine years that I've been at home with the kids (OMG, I can't believe it's been that long), I'd gotten so used to not doing anything unique or special (yes, raising children is special, you know what I mean), and not getting noticed for anything other than 'the house looks nice' or 'your children are so smart!' that I forgot that *I'M* smart, too. It feels amazing to actually DO something with my mind, and have someone tell me that what I did was really great, or good job, excellent point, you're really talented at this. Getting that first A on a quiz was like handing a former addict a hit off a mirror - MORE, please. NOW. It was like in The Wizard of Oz, when the color comes on. I'm colorful again! It's not that I think that staying at home with the kids has been not worth my while, or that I'm not going to miss being available to them at all times, just in case, because I'm kind of stressed out about that. It's about my rediscovering my own personality that I've had to shut down in many ways over the past almost-decade, the one that is competitive and project-driven and feedback-oriented. The only feedback I've gotten in years is about laundry and whether the house smells nice, and I learned to get satisfaction from that, but none of that is anything to do with who I am inside. Everyone cleans house, goes to the grocery store, does all the mundane things of everyday life; it doesn't take anything extra to do those things. I've gotten really comfortable in those roles, so much so that I was letting my brain slide into nowhere without even realizing it.

It's not that I think everyone would or is this way, and I mean no disrespect for people who are happy and feel completely fulfilled at home, because it's a great choice *if you choose it*. I never actually chose to stay at home; I was laid off when I was pregnant, and then we couldn't afford daycare for two if I went back, and I had hated what I was doing, anyway, so I stayed at home. I was in grad school when I was laid off, and had to stop 3/4 of the way to an MBA. So, I accepted where we were, and watched DH get *his* grad degree with envious eyes because he didn't even want to go back to school, while all my work slipped away. We realized that my staying at home would be an immeasurable gift to the kids, and so I did it, and I have loved being with them. They have taught me so much, and given me so much, more than I have given them. But, now that they need less of me, I can take those parts of me back, dust them off, and remember how they used to fit into the puzzle that is Me. The greedy part of me is ready for more.


Sarah said...

I am very very happy for you. This is where I hope to be in ten years!

creative kerfuffle said...

love this post. you have described how i feel so well--it put into words things i hadn't said myself. though i haven't been home as long as you were, you really pinpointed that feeling of being recognized for YOU not how well you take care of things. and of course it doesn't belittle or negate being a mom and raising your kids, but i do totally understand what you are saying about self.
i'm so happy for you : )

Kelsey said...

Yes this is EXACTLY how I felt when I did my master's work and how I felt again when I worked that long term library job this past winter/spring. I hear you and I'm glad you're just at the beginning!