Blissful and Domestic - Creating a Beautiful Life on Less: My Degree Was Not a Waste of Time Because I Choose to Stay at Home

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Degree Was Not a Waste of Time Because I Choose to Stay at Home

 photo mydegreeguestpost_zps40316d38.jpgMy Degree Was Not a Waste of Time Because I Choose to Stay at Home

This is a guest post by Madina

If I had a nickel for every time I had to explain this, I would have probably been able to pay off my student loan debt by now.

My Degree Was Not a Waste of Time Because I Choose to Stay at Home

*As a disclaimer, I have an extreme amount of respect for working moms.  Mommy wars are silly and motherhood comes in all shapes, sizes, and careers.  This post is meant as a reflection of my own path towards the search for my identity in my career and in motherhood.*

I was reading a blog about a mom who found her true calling in motherhood. She said that if she had known this prior to being pressured by her parents and society to get her degree, then she would have opted out of school completely and her and her husband would have started a family a lot sooner than they actually did.  She deemed that time and money spent in school was a complete waste.

This got me thinking about the 8 years and $50,000 (that we're still paying off by the way) that I spent going to college and then pharmacy school.  Was it a complete waste of my time?  Should I go back to work in order to justify the value of my education?  I had a total identity crisis.  I guess for the 3 years that I worked, my career was somewhat the source of my identity.  At 23, I was making a six figure salary and pretty much had it going on.  Who the heck am I now?

"Oh I'm just a stay at home mom."  I found myself saying that when people asked me what I do for a living.  Just.  Ugh.  If only I could remove that word out of my vocabulary.  I mean, how does one define this "living" that I'm apparently not making.  Am I dead?

Then I realized something.  I realized that you know what, I still have it going on.  I have a super gorgeous, caring, loving, intelligent, Christ loving husband that provides for our family and I love taking care of him.  Together, we have a beautiful, and also incredibly intelligent daughter whom I get to nurse, nurture, educate, and share my day with and not have to miss anything.

Seasons and reasons.
I believe in the different seasons of life.  I believe that everything happens for a reason.

The process of getting my degree and the short amount of time that I spent in my career shaped a lot of who I am today.

It absolutely was not a waste of time.

I made life-long friends during those 8 years and their friendship is priceless to me.

My Degree Was Not a Waste of Time Because I Choose to Stay at Home

My Degree Was Not a Waste of Time Because I Choose to Stay at Home

I made life-long friends at my old job.

My Degree Was Not a Waste of Time Because I Choose to Stay at Home

My Degree Was Not a Waste of Time Because I Choose to Stay at Home

I learned important life lessons while taking care of sick patients.

I learned how to conduct better research.

I learned that my hobbies are valuable and I'm happy when I have time to completely submerse myself in them.

I learned how to manage my finances.

I learned that money doesn't buy happiness.

I stay up to date on the happenings in the healthcare world because I like to be able to have those kinds of discussions with my husband.

If I would have chosen a different path in life, then I may have never met and married the man of my dreams.

We plan on homeschooling our daughter and future children if we stay here in Hawaii.  I think the education that I've had the privilege of having gives me the confidence to know that I can, in turn, give them a good education.

A good friend of ours once said this, "Who you are is not as important as whose you are."

It reminds me that I already have my identity, and it lies in Christ.

I'm thankful for the time that I got to work as a pharmacist and help people and it doesn't mean that I won't do it again.  But right now, I am so thankful and realize that I am incredibly blessed to have the privilege of being able to stay at home, and raise our daughter.  The past 5 months of her life have already gone by so quickly that it frightens me to think about how quickly 5 years will pass...and I don't wanna miss a thing.

My Degree Was Not a Waste of Time Because I Choose to Stay at Home

And now I shall leave you with this last, and super important reason as to why my degree was not a waste of time: I know the real reasons behind why your prescription takes an hour to fill!  Haha just kidding!  But I do know, just sayin'.


Thank you Madina so much for sharing this post. I think us Moms needed to hear this today. You are a such sweetheart for sharing your story with us today. Don't forget to check out Miss Madina on her blog HERE.

XO Danielle


Don't forget that at Sonic you can get hot dogs for $1 all day long tomorrow :)

$1 hot dogs all day long at Sonic on July 23

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  1. Great post. Thanks for sharing. We all have different seasons in our lives. I got two B.A. degrees then had four kids and was a SAHM for many years. Now I am back to work in a different career field and have a M.Ed.. (Hubby also has a B.S. and M.A.) My degrees were not a waste. Three of my four kids are also college grads (one is now pursuing a master's and one is in a PhD program) and all know the value of education because they were taught that by word and example in our home. College may not be the road for every person. My youngest child (the only one who has not graduated from college) doesn't even want to go! I have told him that this is not the season for that in his life. Maybe later he will want to pursue college. Maybe he never will We all have our own journey and learn and grow from the decisions we make. I am very thankful for my education but also even more thankful for my children and the years I was able to stay home with them and be a full-time SAHM! Thanks again for this guest post!

  2. This was a lovely and wise story. I love it. There are seasons and times for different things. A baby is only a baby for a short time. Wise woman! Thank you.

  3. Love this! Such a good reminder that our identity in Christ stays the same, degree or no degree, stay at home mom or working mom.

  4. This was really awesome to read. I can't tell you how many times I've considered grad school (knowing I would enjoy it), but fearful of spending they money and time without using it later. Thank you for sharing. This really helps ease my anxiety. :) -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  5. Thank you for sharing your story Madina. I have never felt that getting my degree has been a waste of time. I believe that higher education is extremely important for women. You never know what life has in store for you- maybe you'll never get married, maybe you'll get married late, maybe you will lose your husband or he will become disabled and you will need to become the main breadwinner. Maybe you will have a child with challenges that your field of study will come in handy to help raise, love and understand that child. Maybe a calling within your church, questions from a friend or neighbour or councils you are on will have need of the skills and knowledge that you have. Education should be life long and knowledge empowers you to live the best life that you can.

  6. Thank you for this post! I have a degree in Electrical Engineering and I always have to sneak in what my degree was in after I tell people I'm a SAHM. I'm proud of my degree and what I accomplished. I sometimes feel like I let my parents down since they paid all the money for me to go to school. But I love your perspective on all the things I would have missed if I hadn't got my husband for one, great friends. I do plan to return to work one day. I'm not sure if it will be as an engineer or something else, but I'm thankful to have the chance to stay home with my children for now.

  7. Julie said: "I'm proud of my degree and what I accomplished. I sometimes feel like I let my parents down since they paid all the money for me to go to school"

    See - this is my problem. I'll be sending my daughter to off to school next year. She's a promising student (in line for valedictorian at her school, and very talented in math and science). She wants to major in engineering and is looking at top tier private schools that cost about $60,000 per year (tuition/room/board). I absolutely BELIEVE in education. But what if I pay $240,000+ for a 4-year degree, and she decides to stay at home with her family? Which she may well decide to do. Its quite an investment - and it just doesn't make economic sense. This is why I want to encourage her to go to a lesser school - less expensive, but yes, not quite as respected as the top 3-4 private engineering schools. Because I don't want to be the parent who used my retirement funds to pay for an expensive school for a daughter who didn't use her very expensive degree.

    1. I wouldn't use your retirement to pay for education. Pay what you would pay if she went to an in-state school and let her pick up the rest. If she is a valedictorian she should be able to work to get scholarships. I think there is something valuable about you working to pay for your education or paying for it afterwards like have had to do.

  8. I spent 8 years going to college while having babies. My parents and husband were with the kids when I wasn't. I just plugged away and then stayed home with the kiddos after I finished. It was not a waste, it was a goal I wished to complete. When the kids were older, I returned to the workforce and my degree gave me the security to succeed in many different areas. At 47 years of age, I started a new Bachelor's program and graduated with a second degree to add more skills. The example you are setting for your children will pay off tenfold. My three daughters never questioned whether to get a degree, they just did. Lifetime learning includes the valuable lessons of running the household finances and scheduling the family. I champion your decision to do life on your terms. Work will always be there when you're ready...but children grow up so fast you don't want to miss what you don't have to.

  9. 8 years and graduated at 23? You started college at 15 years old? $50000 a year for 8 years ($$$$$$$$$$ that's lots of money) or $50000 total ($ very good deal for 8 years of school)?

  10. I am thankful for this post. I am about to have my first kid in October. I have a M.Ed in Counseling and am licensed but I work in Higher Education at a University setting. I don't have the privilege to be a stay at home mom yet b/c my husband makes significantly less than I do and we started our marriage with $100,000 in school debt which is down to almost half that now (5 years later). My husband has the same masters as me and is about to start his licensure process to be a counselor which takes about 2 years. My hope is one day to be a SAHM (love that) maybe after our 2nd child (Lord willing) and maybe counsel part-time. I wanted to add to what was said in this post about the value of a bachelors degree. I teach a course about this stuff so I am a bit passionate. Julie from above started to allude to some of this but in the process of getting a bachelors degree you are exposed to many different perspectives, you learn time management, how to prioritize, you learn about discipline, follow through, organization, you learn how advocate for yourself and to communicate in the spoken word and written word, you learn how to research and just simply learn how to figure things out. You learn how to think outside the box and use technology, you learn how to analyze and how to be a critical thinker and I could keep going!! Sure some of these things you don't have to get a degree for but I can tell the difference between myself from before a degree and after a degree and if others have a degree or not. There are a many skills and abilities that make a degree a valuable, worthwhile investment for yourself, your family and the society at large! The End!!

  11. Thanks for that, Madina! I miss you in Dunedin, lovely lad,y and I'm so jealous you're always on Facebook in such amazing weather lol. I've also struggled with similar questions. Because my husband has been on sickness benefit since our 3rd child was born nearly 2 years ago (yikes!), I have felt pressure to work, either as a teacher or anywhere, and it still takes a conscious decision to remember and choose that my kids will only be small for a short time and my husband needs my support in keeping everything running smoothly so he can get better. I have seriously learn to trust God in so many areas over the last couple of years, and one of the things that I've learned is that everyone needs to do what is right for them, regardless of what it looks like to others. I wished I'd learned this about 5 years ago then things would have gone a lot smoother! But then we would never have moved to Dunedin and met you lovely people :-) xxxx

  12. Six figures at 23?!! And eight years of school for only $50,000! I only did two years and it cost about $24,000 before all the interest. You're totally right about the mommy wars though and no mother should ever have to justify herself like that. Your daughter is beautiful by the way. :)

  13. Of 5 of us women getting physics and engineering PhDs at the same time 1 couldn't find work in her field, one is a working mom and 3 of us are stay at home moms. If had it to do again knowing I would end up staying home after working for 6 years (following 9 years of undergrad + grad school), I am not so sure I would do the whole grad school thing again and for engineering tuition is covered plus stipend. I just feel like I could have been happier those years and not worked so hard! When people ask what I do I say I stay home now but I used to be an engineer. Then people tell me I will use my degrees and I will go back but the thing is I don't really want to go back and that baffles people. Sigh.

  14. I'm a mother who works outside the home, and have since my children were babies. I love it. I just couldn't do the SAHM thing; I'd go crazy. I love my job; I love feeling like I'm contributing to the community and helping people; I love knowing I can support my family. It works for me because I have a great husband who is an equal partner at home, and we both have awesome jobs which allow us to work part-time and work around the kids' schedules, so that one of us always drops them off at school, and one of us always picks them up - if the kids are home one of us is too. For us this mix of both of us working inside and outside the home is so much more effective than the "traditional" set-up. (I use the quotes out of a recognition that a single-income family was historically not possible for too terribly many people; throughout history most women have worked to contribute economically to their families.)

    None of this should be read as a criticism of SAHMs. If that's what works for your family, great. It's not for us. But then what works for us wouldn't work for a lot of people. Most jobs aren't as flexible as ours; a lot of men just don't or won't pick up the slack at home (and some women won't let them - my mom thinks it's horrible my husband washes the dishes and always jumps in to wash them if she's visiting and it's his turn!); some families work better with more defined roles.

  15. As a working single mother, I would count myself very blessed if I were able to take some time off of work (more than a few months) to have the opportunity to be a stay at home mom. I find a lot of my friends feel they need to justify their choices to have children, not have children, stay at home or go back to work - for some reason people always want to judge. For mother's who can stay at home, and have it as an option, well....from my seat I have to say what an envious position those mothers are in and that they should cherish it and enjoy without justification.

  16. I went to college and earned a Master's Degree, after my children were born I chose to stay at home. Now that my children are growing up 1 graduating soon, I know that my degree will come in handy again. I spend all hours with my children and love it but I know that when they are all graduated I will not want to spend everyday at home alone. I love being able to work so going to college was worth it, for one day I will be ready to return.

  17. Thanks for this post! It's a perspective that needs to be shared more often.

  18. Great post. Your degree is definitely not a waste! My daughter is teaching but plans to quit in a couple years to start a family. After the children get of age she's planning to go back. We home schooled and it was wonderful - each decision we make in life moves us forward and can be useful throughout our life. I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,


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