I worked a lot the first few years of my first son’s life. Some days I would get to work at 5 a.m. and work pretty much straight through until 9 p.m. Then the next day I would start again. Some days were worse; working until early morning hours only to come in a few hours later to start my next day. I did it because nothing in life is worth anything if you don’t have to work hard for it. I did it because I needed to, and even then I still needed state help. And even then, the help wasn’t enough. Kids cost money and a lot of it. I didn’t want to miss out on my son’s early life or first words or first steps… but I didn’t want him to grow up thinking that everything was handed to people. When you’re a parent, it becomes clear very quickly that every action they see from you they copy. Every little thing you do makes an impression on them. I believe you have to work hard in life at whatever you do.
At some point, I looked around at the situation we were in and realized I’m not someone who likes to settle for anything. I looked at my son and realized that I didn’t want him growing up in that place and thinking it was acceptable to settle. Then, with the help of my now husband, I realized I needed something more than the job I had. He took my belief system of not settling and told me to go to school. He was right. Plus, I needed to show my son that college was important. I needed to show him if I went to school and succeeded at parenting him, that he should be able to handle it. I did it, and I worked my butt off in school to graduate if for no other reason than to prove that I could. His pride in me was worth it all. Even more, I taught him a lesson. Just because you think you need to settle in life, doesn’t mean you should. There’s always something better you can aim for and do if you set your mind to it. There’s nothing in this world he can’t do if he wants it enough.
I hope he learns these important lessons. It’s easy to settle for how you think your situation makes you. Nothing that comes easy is worth it though. I had many moments where I cried and didn’t want to go back to school because I didn’t think I could be successful and maybe I should go back to a job that I excelled at whether or not I even liked it. Then I think, as much as I think we as parents teach our children a lesson, I think our children teach us and motivate us the most. You watch them struggle with their reading and they don’t give up, and you think “if he doesn’t quit, why do I think I can get away with it.” It’s important that as a parent, any parent, that you make sure to step up. Your children need you do show them just because you’re young/single/unemployed/poor that you can do things and you can overcome anything in your way. If you show them it’s easier to give up and settle, you’re doing both of you a great disservice. I think this is especially true when you’re a teenager, because like I felt like when I was 19, I was too young to give up now. Remember that your influence as a parent is the biggest influence to your kids. It’s what they start of learning from, and it can impact the rest of their life.