What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question we ask kids all the time. They say ballerina, a teacher, a mom, an astronaut, or the President of the United States. And we all knowingly chuckle at their adorable dreams. Yet some of us still don’t have it figured out ourselves, and I’m one of them. I’m 33 and I’m going back to college for yet round at figuring it out. I’m trying to find a new career path again and figure out truly what I want to be when I grow up.
I know, shocking! Oh wait, it’s not only super common, it seems everywhere I look is another mom trying a new path. For me, I’m rather calm about figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. It seems like the logical choice when I look at my options for the next several years. I have a toddler, I want more kids, and I am not ready to work full time. Even if I were, I don’t want to return to the industry I was in before I had my daughter.
The thing is, I’ve done this before. This isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to college. But who said we have to know everything after just one rodeo anyway? Apparently I need several.
First I went to college at 18 right out of high school like most people I knew did. I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do, and my parents were pretty okay with that. They’ve always been open minded to different paths, neither of them were able to get college degrees right away but eventually ended up in jobs they’ve had their entire adult lives. My mom became a nurse and my dad is…well, I still don’t know actually other than he works in some sort of IT for big companies.
I finished up 2 years at the community college with just enough early childhood education classes to work as a Montessori teacher. I did that for about two years before I burned out. I was also feeling restless and my aunt said I could move to California and live with her. So I packed everything up and started over in LA working retail, fashion, and e-commerce jobs.
Years later after working ALL the odd jobs, I decided I’d go back to school.
Really solidify my future with a degree in fashion. I was 27. I felt like the oldest one in my classes and they all jokingly called me their FIDM mom (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising). I was so clear on my future. I would get a 9-5 working in e-commerce marketing and I might eventually start my own company.
I thought I had figured out what I want to be when I grow up.
A year after graduating, that timeline got a rush on it when we started our family business. However, retail is a tough industry and our store didn’t last. We sold our shop and along with it went my dream job. I had a baby that same year and for the last year I’ve been…floating.
I’m not sure what direction I’m supposed to go next.
I looked into part time jobs in the fashion industry and they were all incredibly low pay and really aimed at part time students.
Jobs for moms who don’t want to work full time because they want to be able to pick up their kid from pre-school don’t really exist in the fashion industry.
So I’ve taken odd jobs doing freelance writing and I tried to push my own blog, but I do best with a goal. So I started to think about school again.
At first it was just a vague “I feel like I need something more” feeling.
I tried a part time job, but it was hard to find a good fit. Besides, did I really know what I wanted to do anyway? The truth is, I didn’t. I’m not sure if I have for quite a while. When our kids are teens and they don’t know what they want to do we send them to college or into a part time job to figure it out.
Well I’m essentially doing the same thing, but with a toddler at my feet and in my mid-thirties.
When my counselor asked me what I was interested in, it became a very long list. But when it came to what kind of job I’d want to do it became more specific.
I’d like to help people. I like writing about mental health and motherhood. I wish I could do more to help more moms who struggle.
When friends need someone to hash out their feelings, I love being that person. I also always suggest therapy. Therapy saved my life after having a baby and postpartum depression. Usually when I say that people say the same thing:
“I just wish YOU could be my therapist.”
I started to think maybe that was a sign. A sign of a new path. I’m still not sure if it’s right, so I’m going easy on this.
Motherhood and college together are a challenge.
I’m not sure how people do it when they have to work too. However even if I change paths again I do know one thing:
We never really know what we are going to be.
We don’t know the way the world will change or our what forces will change our lives. We can only see a little bit into our future at a time. Asking a child what they want to be when they grow up is fun, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking it is just one thing. We are forever changing. And I’d like several rodeos to figure it out.