Don’t Let Your Teenager Make My Mistake

You see this clock right here? Yes, that red one. That is a screen-shot I took of my desktop clock a few minutes ago, and that time is AM people!

I just finished writing and typing my 11-page final paper for my ethics class. (Excuse me while I go get something to drink.)

Ahhhhh – that’s better! No, it’s not a fun drink, and I turned off the caffeine drip an hour ago.

Aside from the 90-minute cat-nap I had this afternoon, I will soon be heading to sleep for the first time since waking up Sunday morning. For any of you who know kids thinking about putting off college, please, please direct them to this post as soon as possible!

This is what it takes. This is what it takes to go back to school as an adult to get the degree that so many jobs require. It’s 4:30 in the morning, and I haven’t really slept in nearly 48 hours. Sure, I used to do this all the time when I was in my 20s, it was easy! I took pride in the fact that I could get as little as 2 hours of sleep and wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with plenty of time to get to work.

Now? I’m going to be 40 in a little over 2 weeks, and I’m the mother to 2 young boys. Between being 20 years older and chasing around 2 active kids, my energy levels are only at their peak after a solid 7-8 hours of sleep. My youngest starts screaming bloody murder to be taken out of his crib as early as 6AM (thankfully, it’s been more like 7:30AM the past two weeks). They both need to be fed pretty quickly after getting out of bed or they will both be out of sorts for the rest of the day. My oldest has to be cleaned/brushed/dressed for school no later than noon, which means we eat a relatively early lunch. While my oldest is at kindergarten, my youngest either spends his time playing with me or napping – naps last anywhere from 1-2 hours. When my oldest returns home at 3:3oPM, its homework time. Soon after follows dinner, which I start cooking around 5:30, but we don’t actually eat until 6:30. Then it’s baths for the boys, stories and tuck-ins – usually completed around 8:30PM, which is when I start my studying.

The difference between now and before I had kids? I worked full-time and would have started studying about an hour earlier.

If I get 5 nights a month that involve my physically required 7-8 hours of sleep, I’d be amazed.

Did I have fun in my 20s? Hellz yeah! Would I have been willing to sacrifice that fun, live with my mother and attend college knowing how much harder the work would be in my 40s? IN A SECOND. Why? Because I would be able to give my kids the energetic, fun, wide-awake mother they deserve, and if I was still childless, my husband and I wouldn’t feel like we’re constantly strapped for cash while I go to school, and would go out all the time.

Don’t do what I did and assume that having good experience and a long-term job are enough. They aren’t.

If you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up – welcome to the club! The truth of the matter is, most people who have a bachelor’s degree don’t work in the same field they majored in – but the degree allowed them to get a job that paid well anyway. Just get the degree. Pick something you are passionate about or interested in, get the degree while you are young, and earn the nearly $1 million difference over the course of your life that a degree allows you to.

It will be worth it. I promise.


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