I was a teen mom. I was pregnant at 16 and had my daughter when I was 17-years-old in my senior year of high school. My due date was June 22, 1996, but, she had her own plans and came into this world June 5th. I guess it worked out because she was just shy of a month old and was in attendance at my high school graduation. My graduation day was June 22, my scheduled due date. I just knew I was going to miss graduation and not be able to walk the stage. It’s a blessing I was able to complete my high school education.
Once I graduated, being a good mother and being able to provide for my daughter was the most important thing to me. I had the support of her father and my family. I even had plans to attend college, but those plans shifted and I made working a priority over my education. At the time I didn’t see how I could balance being a new mom, working and taking college courses. I didn’t want to be a failure; I wanted to be successful so I put it off.
My family began to grow and going to school seemed to get put off even further as I got older. My life revolved around being a good employee, caretaker and spouse, and putting myself on the back burner. At the age of 21 I was the mother of a preschooler, toddler and newborn determined to not be a statistic in society. I had tunnel vision and only saw working as a way to survive and provide for my family. I still thought about going back to school from time to time. Life wasn’t easy, but, we had everything we needed and each other.
I currently have two college age children, one in high school and one in elementary school. My oldest is a junior at a local university and I made it my mission to expose her to experiences I missed out on when I was her age. I didn’t go to my senior prom, I was nine months pregnant! I made sure she went to ALL her school formals, dances and proms for middle school and high school. She participated in an AKA Debutante Cotillion when she was a senior in high school. I wanted to give her everything I never had.
As my children have gotten older and more independent I am at a point in my life where I am ready to fulfill all my hopes and dreams that I put on hold to give them my best. I love to learn and keep up with ever changing technology. It’s important to me to not only push my kids in the right direction but, also let them know that I’m right there with them. I’m almost an empty nester with my oldest in college and her sister about to head into the ARMY. My sons are not too far behind!
There have been countless sacrifices that I made so I could be present in my children’s lives and try to give them the best that I could. I’m sure mistakes were made along the way after all parenting doesn’t come with a handbook and I was a teenager with my first two children. They are only eighteen months apart. I used to focus on materialistic things but, as I got older and wiser I started to focus more on experiences and memories that we could all cherish.
It’s important for me to show my children that I practice what I preach. I’m not hard on them just because I want them to be better than I was at their age. That is a huge part of it though… I want to show them that with an education they will have so many opportunities open to them. I have many years of on-the-job experience that has made me proficient in my skill set. I still wish I would have gone to school to get a degree or certification. I sometimes feel like I get overlooked for opportunities. A certification plus my on-the-job experience would be a great combination.
When I looked at the curriculum that Virginia College offered and the timeline of when I could potentially finish a program, I was confident that I could make it work with my hectic schedule. The flexibility of the courses along with being able to do some work online was a relief. I also had some concerns about cost, but they were put at ease because you get a financial advisor to walk you through everything step by step. I could even apply for financial aid to assist with the cost of a program, if needed.
I was impressed that Virginia College has accredited programs available along with career development and hands-on training. The class sizes are small and career focused so students are ready for their professions.
Disclosure: Thank you to Virginia College for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are 100% honest and completely my own.