If you know me at all, you know I love to learn. I love reading, learning, and continuing education on all fronts is hugely important to me. I’m the girl who really did frequent the library in college, adored bible study, and still had a social life. From time to time I’ve posted on here about what I do, but mostly I don’t tend to dive into my professional world aside from the occasional #lifeofaBCBA post on social media. But my field of study is one I am particularly passionate about.
I crave to further my knowledge in areas that I am passionate about. Disciple I was such a catalyst for this in my spiritual life, and in depth bible studies and books that dive into pairing the context of the time with the scriptures draw me in deeply to such learning. The same can be said of behavior analysis. Conferences, lectures, articles – they are such rich content areas in which I seek professional knowledge. So when an opportunity presented itself that fit into what was realistic for our family goals (financially, time-wise, etc.) I knew I couldn’t pass it up.
You’ve heard me talk about paring down, saying no, and starting to cut out the things in my life that are not bringing me joy. For the past year almost, I’ve been evaluating what those things/activities/etc. are and have been slowly letting go to make way for opportunities like this. And while not everyone enjoyed being told “no” or “no more”, let me tell you, it’s been so worth while to let go of needing to be the person who does everything simply because she’s always said yes in the past. (If you’re struggling with this like I have been, read Present Over Perfect & Grace Not Perfection – life changing. Those people you feel like you’ve let down will come around. Give them time. And don’t hold onto their hurt for loosing a “yes man”. You have more to offer than simply being someone else’s “go to gal” in every pinch.)
Throughout my pregnancy, I was charged with several well meaning questions of whether or not I would go back to work once I had Emma. And even since becoming a working mom, people often question my professional motives given the fact that now I have a little one. Which, in my opinion, are fruitless conversations as we women should not be reduced to labels people choose to give us, but rather celebrated for our desires, achievements, and encouraged to follow our passions – whatever they may be. Would you question a man who just had a child about his drive for his profession or higher education? Doubtful. Such a man would be praised as he is seeking to better himself or further provide for his family. So why not praise a woman for seeking the same? Why not encourage one another to pursue our passions?
You’ll probably have guessed I’m not dramatically about to share with you that I’ve now decided to become a stay at home mom by this point given my specific passions. Rather, I’m overjoyed to say I just finished my first two courses towards my PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis. And I couldn’t be more thrilled about it! While changes have certainly ensued these past few months, financially, scheduling, etc. it has been such a smooth transition to this new season of life because of the encouragement I’ve had. Few people have known about this decision, but those who have, have prayerfully poured into it.
Mainly, I have been encouraged through this endeavor by my sweet husband. He has been my supporter in following my dreams from day one about everything in this life. He asked questions, provided rational insight, and softly challenged me to be assured in this leap, laying out the pragmatic implications all while telling me how proud he is of me. Ladies, find someone who helps you pursue your passions. Someone who challenges you, not discourages you. Strengthens you, and believes in you.
So to the mama who thinks her dreams aren’t worth it, they are. Pursue them, whatever they look like. For whatever your passion is, there is room to grow, room to continue learning, and room to flourish. Apply to that program. Open that Etsy shop. Write that book. Quit that job. Life is too short to worry about making everyone else happy with the label they chose to give you. Make your own!