University at 30

Updated: Nov 2, 2019

Written By: Alanna Sanford

I’ve always been a sucker for back to school season. I loved picking out my new backpack and super rad plastic lunch box with my favourite character on it… only to change my mind by October because Jem wasn’t cool anymore. I loved the new binders, fresh markers and pencils and painting my pencil box with White-Out to design it to my liking! I was one of those super trendy girls.

And once I had kids I began to love back to school even more because let’s face it, I’m a mum of 5 kids and it’s always a WWF wrestling match around here. Don’t even get me started on the amount of snacks these children consume, they are firm believers in quantity over quality. Good times.

A few years back when my divorce went through, I had a crazy notion in my head to bite off even more and on top of raising my 5 children alone, I figured throwing University in the mix was a brilliant idea! I decided I wanted my degree and no one or anything was going to stop me. If I’m the only parent to these kids, I better be the best damn parent to them and show them how to persevere in hard times.

So, off I went! Bought myself a new laptop, super cool backpack and every highlighter colour you could possibly imagine. I think I used those highlighters for more “Artwork” in the margins of my text, but meh. It needed some sprucing.

Through the years, I always got the question of “how do you do it?” Let me also throw in the fact that I work part-time as a dance teacher, my eldest trains 20 hours a week and my boys are in hockey. I lived for my kids. I still do but something hit me hard in the last few years.

Who am I aside from being a mother?

Like for real. Who. Am. I.

Identity theft is real the second you become a parent.

We can all thank our lucky stars I am not the early 20-something year old I used to be- ha! But I truly didn’t know how to answer that question without stating “I’m a mother.” Like, I love my kids and all but I don’t want to be chasing them down when they’re grown and living their own lives because “that’s who I am” and all I know what to do. Hell no.

So, here I am. Identity lost. Not really knowing what my passions are anymore because they 100% are not what they used to be. I bust out the vision boards, cut and paste all the inspirational quotes around my house and dug deep into that brain of mine to figure ME out.

I’ve learned that I’m a dream chaser and love to crush goals. I also discovered I love to learn about the brain and how strong it is. When we allow ourselves to succumb to parenthood, our brain pathways will change into thinking this is normal and actually seek validation in the world around us. Don’t get me wrong, this is perfectly fine for some but I discovered it’s not for me. I knew I was bound to do something with my life and attaining this education is part of my journey. It’s my dream and I will forever choose to learn and become the best version of myself. This is what keeps me going every day of my life. I’m okay with studying in the corner of the hockey arena or dance studio because it’s what makes me happy. I’m busy as hell, but happy.

End of the day, we are responsible for keeping ourselves content and that means constantly reminding ourselves that it’s OK to have our dreams and to persevere towards them every damn day. My dreams of getting a higher education is what pushes me through the struggles. I want to make sure I get into a career that I love and am passionate about so I have something to look forward when we reach that state of “Otherhood” (Netflix movie, check it out… you’re welcome).

I’m a mother, but I’m me first. And this woman wants more.

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