I love my family, and just about everything I've done in my life has been a conscious choice. Not much has happened that wasn't a choice, even if we didn't necessarily realize how those choices would impact us at the time.
Meeting Justin when I did wasn't something I could have planned for - after going through high school without having anyone special in my life, I suddenly met The One four months before my father was due to PCS out of Alaska. It was unexpected, but definitely not unwelcome, though it did force us to commit to each other faster than most couples would.
Together, we decided for him to join the military and for us to get married when we did (I was 19) - we didn't want him to be stationed overseas without being able to take me with him. We decided to put in for the EQUAL listing that ended up sending us to Turkey for two years. We decided to start trying to conceive a child - although it did take 18 months to actually get pregnant.
Anyway, my point is that through it all, school was never the most important thing to me. I wanted experiences and family and kids, so my choices revolved around making those happen, and if it got in the way of school, that was okay. It's worked out for us, I think. I pretty much fell into an amazing GS job when we moved to DC. I was very lucky to have that job, and it's given me a career path to follow if I choose to.
I have to admit that sometimes, I find myself comparing what I have done to what my friends and peers have done. Many, many of them have Bachelor's, Master's, and a few even have Doctorate degrees. Me? I am seven classes away from a Bachelor's in something that I no longer have any interest in using - Marketing Management. Ugh. That's what happens when you move around and have to keep switching schools... you choose what you can do completely online or by correspondence, and it may not be the most glamorous thing in the world. I actually have more than enough credits for a Bachelor's, but not in the right things, so it doesn't count.
I've had friends remind me that I have two beautiful children, and that there's no shame in that. I love my family and I wouldn't trade them for the world. Still, I quit school right before Kelsey was born and have not gone back. She is three years old and I'm having another child in around six weeks. I'm paying on student loans but do not have a degree to show for them.
Right now I am happy staying home with my kids. I'm looking forward to not having to send my baby off to daycare where some of my parenting decisions seem to be taken out of my hands. I'm excited to nurse this baby without having to pump breastmilk for someone else to feed him/her. I'm excited to see the firsts myself and feel like I'm actually raising my kid instead of leaving that to someone else. When I went back to work after Landon was born, I truly needed to - the transition to parenthood was rough. Last year, I needed to quit working - and I am so thankful Justin really listened to me when I told him that was what I needed. Despite how overwhelmed I feel right now, I do feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing at this point in my life.
One day, though, I know I'm going to want something else. I'm not quite sure where to start... or when to start. I have so many interests and ideas... and some of them are pretty huge, actually. I'm a bit afraid to get back into school because I don't want anything to take away from my kids. Personally, if I have too much on my plate, I don't rock it like some people do, I lose my focus and stop caring about anything. I need to be able to take things a little at a time to make sure I won't fall apart. Slow and steady win the race, and all that jazz.
More about this later... bedtime for me now and this seems like a good stopping place. :)