Assuming different roles and their associated responsibilities as we move through life is simply part of the human condition. In our early years in New Zealand we generally follow a fairly well-prescribed path – we move through the traditional education channels, followed by employment or our ‘Big OE’, more work and then maybe a partner and kids if starting a family is part of your plan.
Although these years of raising little Kiwis can be some of the most wonderful and rewarding of our entire lives, they can also be the times when the wheels begin to fall off of what we once recognised as our sense of ‘self’. We, as parents, can easily lose sight of our hopes and dreams as we begin to travel the long road of prioritising our kids’ needs, and perhaps our partners, over our own.
As such, at this time of year, our well-intended New Year’s resolutions can lose their inspirational sparkle and old habits may be creeping in. I’m so used to February rolling around and me chucking out my resolutions (with a shrug and a glass of wine lol) that I didn’t even bother to make any this year.
What I did do however, was do some serious planning and thinking about the year ahead. 2016 was a crazy, successful, busy year personally, but one that lacked any structure, planning or direction. From my experience, this typifies how quickly we ‘lose’ months and years when we are deep in the trenches of parenting. A good plan requires direction, and direction combined with positive momentum will get you to where you want to go.
So ask yourself this, where do you want to go?
When I was at home with our firstborn Ethan, I squeezed every possible ounce of joy out of the experience of being a stay-at-home-mama. I loved it and was grateful that Dave and I agreed it was worth the sacrifice – we were broke but happy. Overwhelmed by the cost of living in New Zealand after moving home from San Diego, we both knew it was time to get cracking. Dave began an apprenticeship at age 33, I started The Best Nest and headed back to uni (figuratively speaking as I studied via distance learning at Massey) to begin a second degree.
Changing tack and adopting structure and a clearly delineated pathway – the one that came with studying – gave my day-to-day life a massive amount of forward momentum. It also gave me back a strong sense of who I was and how I was going to guide our family towards the future that Dave and I dreamed of having for our kids – and ourselves.
Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
I saw this quote this morning and it’s so perfect for those other mamas who are considering distance learning like I did. When I began my BAcc, I was scared of the cost, the time commitment, of failing, of submitting assignments and sitting exams again……it turns out these ‘fears’ were actually just excuses I was throwing out there as potential reasons NOT to step outside of my comfort zone and really take control of my own future.
Here’s my ‘Hindsight’s a Wonderful Thing’ pep talk (in bullet points lol) for those of you who might be a bit scared to follow your dreams like I was;
- Don’t be scared, be excited!
- Don’t feel guilty for doing something for yourself, mama! Education always benefits the person with more than just a brand spanking new Student ID. A little time becoming the very best version of yourself will benefit everyone around you.
- You won’t be alone just because you’re studying off campus, the support network and guidance from Massey is the best and the myriad number of ways to interact and meet your classmates will amaze you.
- You think you don’t know how to study? The requirements, expectations and weekly program for each paper are clearly set out. You will know exactly what you need to do.
- Baby steps work. Don’t fret about having to commit to a degree programme; start small with a paper or a short course and get ready to channel your passions in a direction that suits you.
Seriously, don’t waste another minute. 2017 could be the year you stop second-guessing yourself and start creating the change you want to see in your life.
For more information on how to dive in get started, head to Massey University to find out more about distance learning.