Before Nathan left me I was a part-time assistant librarian, but mostly a mom. I was content. I only had to leave Isla for about 4 hours a day. I couldn’t imagine what I would do if I had to be away from her any longer.
Right after Isla turned one, I would have to figure that out. When Nathan left me I had no idea what was about to happen with our lives. I did know a few things: Nathan had no intent of making sure I was provided for, I had nowhere to go, and my income would not provide enough for Isla and me.
I wished to pursue a full time position at the library, only to learn I needed a degree…something I was lacking. I decided it was time to go back to college. I knew I needed to re-define myself, even though I wasn’t ready for it, and college is always a good place to start….right?
I’m a little too ambitious for my own good sometimes, so I decided that I needed a career that would pay better and give me a lot more flexibility than the little libraries of Louisiana. I love weather, so I decided on Atmospheric Science, with the idea of getting my masters at OU and working for NOAA. Big dreams with no room for ‘momming’. I didn’t feel like I had choice anymore. I gave myself a strict 4 year timeline, and a few months later, I was beginning my college career at the age of 23 with a one year old while working part-time as an assistant librarian.
The first two semesters I was living on a strange high. I stayed pumped full of energy; I was running 3 days a week, hanging out with friends, doing homework at the library, working any shift offered, and even dedicating some time to a school club. I was too lost and impatient to slow down. Meanwhile, Isla wasn’t really being raised by me anymore. I knew this, and it hurt, but if I slowed down, I cried. If I found myself in a parenting struggle, I cried. I wanted things between Nathan and me to work out again just so I wouldn’t be alone in figuring it all out.
My third semester in college I realized I couldn’t do this anymore. Isla was losing respect for me, plus this semester was going to be the busiest yet. I missed my little girl. I saw her everyday, but I wasn’t her mom anymore. I was more like a sister now, both of us being raised by my grandmother. I needed to be with her again. I wanted her to know my values and respect me again. It was time to make a big decision- drop school or quit work to add more room for being Momma.
After some pros and cons I decided to quit my job. It was the scariest thing I ever gambled, but I managed to figure it all out.
This was when Daniel and I first met. I had gained such a liking to him… but I knew he would never be interested. I had heard that a man doesn’t want to provide for a woman so many times that I assumed I wasn’t an option for anyone anymore. A single mom without a job? Who wants that?
But for some reason, Daniel didn’t care. He was interested and he wanted to help. I thought he was dumb or something, but he’s also the smartest guy I know, so I know somewhere he saw past all the dumb stuff to me.
Ok, enough with the mushy stuff. If you’re a single working college mommy, I’ll give you some advice:
If you must live in debt for awhile, it’s worth not missing out on being Mommy–
STRESS SUCKS — that’s obvious, and money is usually behind it. If you’re like me, the idea of being in debt (or more debt) is an absolute nightmare. Personally, I hate owing money. But I had to learn that sometimes, debt is necessary. And even though I vowed to never have student loan debt, I gave up on that pipe dream to be with Isla and move us into our own place.
I can’t wildly spend, that’s a given, but I still do enough to provide us with everything we need and good living conditions. I can say that I’m way happier paying rent and bills than having none of it without Isla.
Do not over estimate yourself–
I told you how I was trying to be an atmospheric scientist, right? Well, I decided that it was too much for having a family. I was spending hours on homework (I’m bad at math… and this major is mostly math), and after some long talks with Daniel, I reconsidered being a librarian. I did love the job after all. It’s also all online! Which means I get to stay home with Isla!
Being a mommy and having to attend on-campus classes already isn’t easy, but having to spend extra hours on homework because you have to work harder to be good at something (in my case math) is stressful and takes away from raising your kid. Do what you love and what is easiest for you as a mom.
Daycare is your friend–
Daycare isn’t a place I ever wanted to take Isla, but I had to consider it after a while. My family couldn’t be available all the time and I needed to get school work done. A few hours in daycare is perfect for getting school work done and cleaning house…or even catching up on some zZzZz… And your kid gets to learn and be around other kids.
Even stay at home moms need some time to themselves.
We all have reasons for thinking we don’t deserve things. We all have moments in our past where we failed ourselves morally. But you have to forgive yourself. It’s easier said than done. And I super suggest reading the The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson. He’s funny and he’s honest. And for a nice Catholic/religious read try A Life of Prayer: Faith and Passion for God Alone by St. Theresa of Avila. I’m not good at giving mindful advice, but I can recommend books!
Hopefully my advice isn’t all trash! ♥