So, I’ve been contemplating returning to school for a few years now. Wasn’t sure what I wanted to study but knew I wanted to keep helping other families with kids with special needs. Honestly, after the end of my marriage, there was NO WAY I could return to school…my brain was mush (partly from mommy-brain, partly from my marriage and divorce), my son’s needs were REALLY high (he was a runner and violent before the end of my marriage, and for about a year later), and my kids were so young they weren’t in full day school yet.
Fast forward a couple of years (and moves) later, and last fall I took a course from a friend of mine who is a professional organizer about home management. Not rocket science and it’s something I’m always looking to improve. It was also a personal test. Can I fit one more meeting (class) per week into my schedule? Can I read a textbook again? Can I retain the information in the textbook? Can I find time to study? It was hard…not the material, but reading a textbook was very difficult. I had to “force” myself to read it because it wasn’t related to Autism, or special needs. Sometimes, I had to read a page a few times because I just couldn’t focus. But I did it!
This summer, my dad and I were talking…where he got a better picture of what my daily life looks like as a SAHM to kids with special needs. The meetings, the programming, the paperwork on top of all the SAHM hats I wear: taxi driver, doctor, social coordinator, cook, cleaner, laundry, etc. Then he asked *the* question…the question dreaded by all SAHMs: Now that my kids are in full day school in Grade 3 (well, my son will be in 2014 when he finishes IBI therapy), what about me?
We talked for quite a while about the work I have been doing; supporting and coaching other moms of kiddos with special needs. Then he stumped me again: What “piece of paper” (nice eh? Years at post-secondary education results in a “piece of paper”!) do you need for that? Ummm, well, the big qualification the moms are looking for is that I’ve “been there, done that”. So, after a longer conversation, lots of research online, meetings and emails with post-secondary education institutions to learn about their programs, emails between my parents and I so I can “talk it out”, and an application process that drove me a bit crazy, etc, this will be my life for the next 4ish years:
I’m starting with only one course to start…and boy, did I feel old last night in the first class. To date myself, when I went to university, email was barely being used, I was the only one on my floor in residence to own a laptop (that was much less powerful than the one I have now, and kept crashing after being used for an hour or so). College was a little better as I finished the most recent one about 12 years ago…email was being used but there was no online component to any of the courses.
Last night, the instructor was clicking around on a program that I’ve seen or heard of, and he just kept saying “go online” as it’s integral and part of the course curriculum. To where??? Since I’m not scared of making a fool of myself, or asking questions, I kept asking him to backtrack so I knew what he was doing and where he was online. I have the “on the ground” experience from my former career (seems like a few lifetimes ago now!) and my current work focuses that experience to a specific field, now I’m working towards yet another “piece of paper”. I already have university and 3 colleges under my belt…and now I’m adding a diploma in Social Service Work.
Wish me luck (and Like me on Facebook to watch my trials and tribulations of going back to school as a “mature student”)!