I knew I wanted to become a school counselor since I was a senior in high school. I was motivated and dedicated. Or so I thought. I dabbled in banking, pre-law and ultimately teaching before I began my career as a counselor. And although I enjoyed all of my experiences, I never lost my desire to dedicate my life to becoming a counselor. And so as I became more focused, my journey began.
I enrolled in the Masters program at my local state university. I was never more nervous and excited to begin a career as I was when I made this decision. Here I was, on my way. But, little did I know that this career path would become my most challenging experience ever.
While working on my degree, I got my first job as a middle school counselor. I enjoyed working there and did so for a total of three years. However, no matter how successful I felt at this job, my goal always remained to be a high school counselor. So after the three years, I was offered a high school counseling job. I was finally there.
Working as a high school counselor started off as a great experience. Life however, began to take over. I was in my late twenties and had been married for about three years. My husband and I decided that it was time for us to start a family. And after 3 years of trying to conceive, at 32, we had the first of our two boys. I felt blessed. I had a great career and the family I wanted and tried to have for so long. But could I manage both a family and career. Did I have a strong enough support system at home and at work where I could make this all happen. I mean, many women are successful at balancing both, but I was not so sure I could.
I eventually found out that this challenge would be too much for me. I found myself being late for work. Five, ten, even fifteen minutes late. Unlike my unmarried childless co workers who would on average arrive almost thirty minutes early. And let us not forget all of the times I called in sick. Not for me, but for my two children under 6. It seemed that at least one of my boys had got sick at least once a month. I always emailed and phoned my co workers and principal when this happened, but that was never enough. It did not change the fact that I was late and I was absent. The reasons eventually did not matter. I hoped that they would be sympathetic and understanding, but I was wrong. Instead he “formally” informed me of each and every day that arrived later than 8 a.m., and of all of the days that I left early. And although I have him a reason for each and every occurrence, they were all unacceptable.
What upset me most was that I was not the only one coming in late or leaving early. On many occasions, my colleagues would leave to go to the movies, or house hunting, or to leave early for a weekend getaway. That however did not matter. It just seemed like a double standard. But in the end, all that mattered was my family. I never denied coming in late or leaving early on occasion. Both my principal and I knew each and every time it happened. I was not doing anything wrong. I was there for my children, and in the end I chose.
I am now a stay at home mom. I have been for over a year. I think if the right job comes along then I will go back to work. But I believe that everything happens for a reason. It needs to be the right environment for me. And for the times that have not worked out, in retrospect, it was not for me. I just could not make it work. And life is about experiences. Right or wrong, success or failure. I am who I am because of it all. I will never give up on anyone. I believe in opportunities and chances. No one is without faults, and no one is perfect. And although I may have not always made the right decisions, I always made them for the right reasons. Always for my children. After all, what type of world would we live in if we did not put our children first.