by SHELBY MORGAN//Staff Writer
Parenting while going to college is not an easy thing to do. Throw in working a full-time job, and to some, it seems impossible.
I was in my first year of college when I found out that I was pregnant. All of a sudden I had a new life to care for and all of my dreams were put on hold. I worked, took care of a home, and was raising a baby, all while I was still just a baby myself. The desire to finish my degree was always in my mind, but seemed so unattainable at the time.
Fast forward a few years, and the goals I thought were so impossible seemed reachable. I read a quote one day that inspired me tremendously to not let life pass me by. The days are going to pass, regardless of what I have planned for them.
Joyce Maynard once said, “It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it myself.”
How did I expect to encourage my son to chase his dreams, when I was settling for the life that I was living? I wanted more. I deserved more. The decision to go back to school is not one that I took lightly. I weighed my odds, and being a spiritual person, I prayed. As if I didn’t already have enough on my plate, I registered for classes at South Plains College.
I’m not the first to do it, and I certainly won’t be the last. But it may be a little easier if there was a handbook on the do’s and don’ts. I’m still learning how to juggle it all. I plan my life in 15-minute increments, and how much I can get done before I have to move on to the next task. I am up at 5 a.m, and most nights I don’t go to bed until 1 a.m.
I constantly feel like a chicken running around with its head cut off. Going to school while working and raising a child means doing two sets of homework. It means there is no free time to sit on the couch and watch Netflix. Every moment spent awake is doing something productive, whether it is homework, studying, dishes, or laundry. It means you’re the only one playing all of the roles: mom, dad, chauffer, teacher, cheerleader, shoulder to cry on, maid, and so many others.
It also means setting an example for your kids. Teach them discipline, dedication, time-management, and that anything that you set your mind to is possible. At all times, there are two eyes on you watching your every move, and learning by the standard you are showing him or her. Show them to reach for the stars. Encourage them to chase their dreams, and be there to cheer them on every step of the way. Should they fall, be there to pick them up.
The journey is a difficult one, but it will pay off in the end. It’s long nights, no sleep, and juggling 37 things at the same time. There are tears, and there are smiles. But the biggest ones happen when you hear your 6 year old say “I’m proud of you.” It’s the most fulfilling thing to know that you aren’t just doing this for yourself.