A fulfilling and rewarding career: Motherhood
Recently I was asked, how someone like myself could ever be content and fulfilled as a stay-at-home mom. My response was, “You would be surprised.”
I have replayed this interaction in my mind many times since then. What follows is the response that I wish I had been articulate enough to have said initially.
Be that as it may, before I share my story, I feel the need to clarify my “occupational title.” In truth, my contribution to our family included being a “stay-at- home mother.” Which at times felt like a daunting calling, it was, never-the- less, how I chose to define myself and what I perceived as being my primary occupation.
This is not to imply, my role as a stay-at- home-mom was my only occupation. Like many families during this time, this was a luxury our family could not afford. Simply put, there was no way our family could meet even our children’s basic needs, let alone the multitude of financial obligations that accompany a family of six. During this time, I felt duty-bound to find ways to supplement our family’s income, and I actively engaged in professional pursuits both from home and outside of the home. Additionally, I sought out opportunities to increase my formal educational background whenever possible, but that is a story best left for another day.
In any case, I would very much like the chance to share my experience with you, dear reader. It is my sincere hope that whether you are a mother working full-time outside the home, a stay-at- home mother, or you, like myself, happen to fall somewhere in between; that my words will provide a feeling of renewal and validation for your hard work and time spent in the trenches of parenthood. It is on the foundations laid by our nation’s parents that drive future generations to accomplish the extraordinary feats, which in turn define this great nation as a world leader.
As a stay-at- home mother of four children, my job duties and responsibilities have changed considerably over the last twenty plus years. As my children have progressed throughout both the expected developmental mile-markers characteristic of their age and developmental stage; and the unexpected challenges prompted by each child’s unique and what some might describe as an idiosyncratic journey through childhood, they have made me the person I am today. This little clan has motivated me in ways no other career could have ever done.
After only a handful of years in my position as mother to this diverse quartet, I became cognizant that my parental responsibilities included more than imparting skills and knowledge. For my children to grow into conscientious members of society, they would need more. Likewise, I began to grasp the quintessential role I played in nurturing my children’s character traits. The traits I aspired to instill in my children included love, bravery, curiosity, fairness forgiveness, creativity, hope, humility, discernment, humor, kindness, leadership, perspective, prudence, self-regulation, social intelligence, spirituality, and teamwork.
Additionally, it would fall to me to fill the role of advocate and ensure my children’s environment be supportive and mindful of their individual strengths and weaknesses. This was not an easy task for a mother in her early twenty’s, and one I could have done better.
Meanwhile, as my three remaining children now stand on the precipice of adulthood, I must be more mindful of my actions. Any of my attempts to alter my adult children’s course must be approach without judgment and in a respectful manner. I am no longer able to tell them how to behave or what to do. Instead, I must demonstrate my own mastery of critical skills for my now adult children to see the value of continuing to build upon the foundational work accomplished during their childhood.
One example of this is that it is now up to them to decide whether or not to continue to develop relevant executive competencies such as: response inhibition, focus, time management, flexibility, self-regulation, emotional control, task completion, and organization. Any attempts on my part to influence their beliefs during this transition to adulthood will require every ounce of expertise I gleaned throughout their childhood, and a skillful demonstration of my mastery in the art of prudence and prioritizing intervention attempts.
On the other hand, and more than ever, I realize that I am forever indebted, to my quartet for the knowledge they have imparted to me. They have molded me into a life-long learner while indulging my insatiable thirst to be a part of their phenomenal childhood transformation. Our time together has been comprised of exhilarating fun and devastatingly bleak hurdles. Even though our parent/child odyssey sometimes feels as if it is one that has been forced upon us, rather than the expedition we would have chosen it continues to be the most inspiring and fulfilling experience of my life.
These four exceptional children have provided a catalyst for my personal growth and enlightenment. It is through their eyes; I can see the beauty in art, nature, ideas, and people; and I am a better person today because of them.
By some, I am considered a trailblazer for effective technology integration strategies, by others, I am a passionate and long-time advocate, promoting educational practices which improve overall and individual student achievement. By all, I am known as a devoted mentor to children with learning differences.
I enjoy developing and exploring new learning systems, especially those which engage a child’s natural curiosity and are painted on the backdrop of data-driven data collection. I seek out new ideas that support non-invasive, knowledge assessment paving a path for competency-based personalized educational plans.
My prior technology integration projects and professional background have galvanized my desire for a deeper consciousness of how best to meet the ever-changing demands of millennial learners while harnessing the success of learning systems able to weather the test of time.