My whole world as I knew it was flipped upside down when I was gifted with the precious responsibility of Motherhood. “Congratulations Charlene, you will now be known as Elijah’s mummy” the Health Visitor said. In that moment I didn’t realise the fear this instilled in me. The loving bond I have with my son is nothing I’ve ever experienced before but does Charlene just disappear? What about my life goals and dreams that I still want to accomplish?
My answer: I still have so many life goals and dreams I want to accomplish and it starts with me overcoming my fears. The first step for me was deciding to go back to college. I remember I had to tell myself, “Go for it!! You are a strong, beautiful individual and you will be the best role model for your gorgeous baby.” And that is how I started this next chapter of my life.
As I embark on this new journey as myself, who just happens to be Elijah’s mummy, I want to share with you some of the things that surprised me the most about returning to college.
1. You’re NEVER too old to learn something new.
Yes, I was scared, in a totally refreshing and exciting way. I was completely overwhelmed with this monumental life-changing decision when I received acknowledgement of my application. It is so natural to feel like a crazy risk-taker but somewhere deep down inside me there was a piece of understanding that returning to college was the next step. I was relieved that I would no longer be filled with dread at the thought of going back to work in a job that just wasn’t going to fulfill me anymore. It took a lot of courage to act upon a change in career, and although my friends and family are obligated to be supportive, I now realise they honestly do think I’m insane and that’s okay. I feel that they just wish they had the confidence to do the same. Most importantly if this is what makes me happy, they are going to be genuinely happy for me also.
2. Finding your inner “techy” geek.
I specifically remember while attending my induction at college the course lecturer stating, “If you do not have access to a laptop, you will not pass this course”. My reaction was to giggle nervously. Surely it wasn’t the complete truth? I’m fortunate enough to own a laptop but I admit lacking knowledge using it, especially academically. Thankfully, even though it is 100% true, it’s not as daunting as I originally thought. The unlimited resources available at college today are unbelievable. They will supply you with a college laptop to use throughout the year and there is an IT team available daily to help with any issues or concerns. I’ve found all my tutors to be very patient and supportive to the point that they will provide step by step guides on how to use technology efficiently. My favourite part is that even after all of this if you are still overwhelmed there are additional study skills sessions available for all students – that’s what I like to call, going that extra mile!
3. Becoming a morning person all over again.
Exceptionally this is the best feeling ever, yes, I am just as shocked as you are!! Maybe it’s an age thing and my body clock is changing or maybe it’s Motherhood? Nevertheless, I’m embracing it!! I feel much more productive in the mornings. After Elijah arrived into this world, it didn’t matter how organised I was, it seemed impossible to be dressed and leaving the house before 11am. All my fellow anti-natal Mummies would be messaging weekly about meeting at morning toddlers or soft-play and we mostly missed out. By the time we would arrive Elijah would be due a change, feed or nap and I, compared to all my friends, felt I looked un-well with my un-washed hair thrown up in a messy bun & neglected skin that no longer had that radiant pregnancy glow. So, what’s changed? I’ve found self-love and realise I fully deserve “me” time, for as cheesy as that sounds it is life-changing. Now when Elijah is asleep for the night, I super-organise myself as much as possible.
Some of the things I do to practice self care include enjoying a hot shower in peace, taking care of my skin, and styling my hair so all I need to do is pull a brush through it in the morning. I even make lunch and dinner for the next day if necessary, pack all bags and lay out clothes. It is mind-blowing how much time this saves and if you’re lucky, you may even be able to snooze that alarm. The amazing human body is your temple and when you learn to self-love all your relationships benefit because you’re the best version of yourself.
4. Baby-brain is NOT permanent, woohoo!!
I can still learn something new daily and maintain that information. Maybe takes a little bit more extra effort having been out of education for years but I can still do it, that’s the main thing. Attending college, the classroom set-up is that the tutor will perform a presentation on a topic while I, the student, takes notes. From there the class can be divided to undertake a group task or carry out self-research to understand at a deeper level. I’ve attended extra study skills sessions to learn all the different styles of study, meaning with the little time I do have to revise, I’m working smarter instead of harder. Maximising my full potential rather than being affected by lack of knowledge. All of this plus my new found “techy” geek works together in ways I never even imagined helping achieve my goals. Please don’t listen to opinions telling you otherwise, if I can do it SO CAN YOU!!
5. Conversing and socialising with other adults.
No one and nothing will ever compare to the joy Motherhood brings, although I do have to admit that being a student and attending college with other adults is revitalising. I’m positive it keeps me young since you’re only as old as you feel, right? When I handed over my notice to leave my full-time job post Elijah, I didn’t feel like a failure. Don’t get me wrong, I was anxious for how our new future would unfold together but I was adamant that I didn’t want to miss a single second of Elijah’s early years. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and when Elijah reached 18 months old something within us both changed. Elijah was becoming more adventurously independent daily looking for socialisation with other children his age and I genuinely knew that my attending college would enable him to spend more time with other children as well. My mother and I scrutinised every nursery locally to find the friendliest home away from home. Can you believe it? We both win! Elijah learns more and so do I. We spend quality time together on my days off college and appreciate each other more. College is also self-love, in addition to the “me” time, it is also creating the ultimate best version of myself. I’m excited about our future as a family.
When I first started college I couldn’t imagine how I was going to add one more thing to my plate, but now that I am making it happen I feel like I have more energy and more time! If you’ve been thinking of pursuing your passion as a mummy and you aren’t sure how you can make it happen, remember that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your family.