Disclaimer: There are a lot of hurtful statements out there today in the world of moms. Every mom I know has mommy guilt for a host of different reasons. I have a lot of respect for women of all different walks of life and choices in career paths.
I have been at both ends of the spectrum: a working mom who had to deal with all the stresses of daycare, packing lunches, missed kisses, traveling for work, etc. and now I’m a stay at home homeschooling mom who loves my job and feels very fulfilled, but still misses the time I got to enjoy my morning coffee peacefully on the train. Please know that I am absolutely not trying to add any mommy guilt or judgement but rather speaking from the depths of my heart in my own journey.
There are many moms today who have some level of higher education and are deciding to become a stay at home mom. I know because I am one of them. I have two masters’ degrees and absolutely loved my career prior to staying home.
If I was being completely honest I would tell you that so many years of striving to learn more and achieve more, this became a measure of my success. If I have to guess I bet that I’m not alone.
When I decided to stay home with my children I can understand why people didn’t get it. I had worked my entire life to become an architect and finally got my license only months before I quit. But people’s misunderstanding of my intentions came in a host of questions like “Why on earth would you want to waste your education to stay home?”
There certainly have been times where I’ve begun to question this myself but at the very depth of that question, the answer is very simple. Because we felt God call me to come home.
Within that answer is also an extremely complicated answer that involves the depths of my children’s souls.
You see I don’t view my degree as a waste of time now that I’m home because the decision to come home was never about me. It was about them. It was about the desire to serve my children and my husband in a way that I couldn’t do with my career.
If you’re considering staying home but are afraid of “wasting” your degree, I’d say to you this.
There is nothing quite so precious as the moments you have with your children during this SHORT season of life.
If you are a stay at home mom and struggling with your own convictions about “wasting” your degree:
Forgive yourself for not knowing what you know now
Oftentimes I fall into the trap of thinking how much money it would’ve saved our family if I hadn’t gone through graduate school. I’m here to tell you that this is a horrible trap to be in because no one can predict the future and the path that you are currently in. Remind yourself that you cannot live in the past decisions, but only for the future.
Do not think about the sunk cost of your schooling decisions. Think about the money you’re saving for your family now and the implications of your decision on the family dynamics right now and in the future.
Remember your identity outside of your career path
Having spent so many years of my life defining myself with my educational achievements and my passion for my career it was very easy at times to feel lost with my decision to stay at home. You may feel lost about who you really are and where your real identity lies but try to remember the aspects that make up who you are outside of your career path.
You may have to dig really deep with this one. For me, I wanted to be an architect since I was 5 years old so when I felt God calling me home I felt like it challenged my entire identity. I had to really remember that at the core of who I am, it didn’t have anything to do with being an architect, a mom, or a wife. My true identity lies in being the daughter of an awesome Heavenly Father.
Think about how schooling didn’t necessarily teach you specific things but it taught you how to learn.
I can probably only remember a handful of things from my entire MBA, but I know that strategic skills I learned about how to learn I use still today. Your degree was not a waste. You learned how to research, analyze, manage your time, and be a critical thinker. These are the skills that you will continue to use on a day to day basis.
Think about how you are applying the things you learned, even in a very different form.
I often joke that MBA coursework about Leading People & Organizations have nothing on the demands of a stay at home homeschooling mom!
Even in the traditional job market many people have careers that are only semi-related to their original degree title. But no one would dream of telling them that they ‘wasted’ their degree!
I may not be building buildings, but I’m building up my house. I am not managing employees, but I am managing my household. I may not be preparing presentations for clients but I’m preparing school lesson plans and daily schedules. My skills are not wasted and I guarantee yours aren’t either.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment below.