Thank you for visiting my blog; it is an exciting venture for me and I hope this will become a forum for moms and homemakers of all types to share stories, frustrations, and triumphs. There will be recipes, pictures of my latest and greatest soap creations, and anything I think will be interesting to Enthusiastic Homemakers.....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Follow Your Bliss

Hello readers! I can't believe how much I've been neglecting my poor blog of late; I've been so busy with summertime activities and custom orders for weddings; I hardly know what to think!

Anyway, I recently had an interesting exchange with a group of my online friends; and wanted to share some of my thoughts and realizations from this discussion. It began as a show of encouragement and support for a person who was feeling bad about herself; when faced with trouble with her schooling; she was in her early 20's and had yet to receive her degree; having a year or so of college yet to complete. She was feeling "less than", compared to her siblings; who are all enrolled in a prestigious college; and who felt that they were superior to her because of this.

Now friends, this is where I come in....rightly or wrongly; this has been a hot-button issue for me since I was college age. I've been on my own since I was 17, when I had my first little apartment and a full-time job. I made $9 a hour back then, which was pretty darn good for a 17 year old in those days. Since I was on my own; college was not really an option; and honestly, I wasn't sure if that's what I wanted to do with my life. I've always known exactly what I wanted; to do what I'm doing now. Later, when I moved to San Diego, I considered going to community college; even requesting my transcripts from the correspondence school where I got my diploma. However, life had other plans! All throughout my time as a SAHM, family members and others have asked about my education plans; encouraging me to attain a degree so that I would have "something to fall back on". There's nothing wrong with with being cautious; and I know of some people that have had tragedy befall them and really needed that degree to support their family. I don't discount that view; but I also don't believe in making decisions based in fear; and for me; I would just be going through the motions; as I have no plans on a career that would require a degree. Taking time away from my family to do something I don't want to do; just because I "should", is not my idea of a good plan. I also know of many women in my situation that feel foolish expressing that they're a SAHM. For them, their view of themselves is shaped by their educational status, and in some areas, and in some social groups, it's simply unacceptable to be "just" a Mom; and so they feel pressured to be pursuing a degree in order than when their children start school, they will presumably be able to start a lucrative career. I have a confession to make: when my children go to school; I will not go "back to work". In fact; I can't imagine EVER being an employee of another person again in my lifetime. At this point; even if tragedy were to befall me; as has happened to those I've heard of; I would still be able to raise my children while being at home. That is very important to me; and we've set up our life to allow that to happen. I can imagine my soap business growing over the years; and when my children are in school, and when I become an empty Nester, I will pursue that at my leisure; along with my many hobbies and interests. I don't feel defined by a career; my career is being a mom; and it will always be so. I know that is not a popular or modern attitude; I'm okay with bucking the trends; even though it may pain feminists and career woman to hear another woman say that out loud.

It seems to be one of the final frontiers of acceptable bias to conclude that pursuing a college degree is "the" way to go; and those that choose not to are foolish. I've heard before that a college degree is "the price of admission" to certain things. It's certainly true that it's the only way to attain certain career goals; I'm not denying that; but the premise that simply attending college makes one privy to the finer things in life; is simply wrong.

Prejudice is an ugly word, because of the modern connotation; but I'd like to examine the actual definition of prejudice:

"Prejudice means a strong inclination of the mind or a preconceived opinion about something or someone".

It's certainly true that everyone has biases that are ingrained in them; it's human nature to believe that the way one has done things; the way one chooses to live one's life is "better". Certainly if someone believes that there is a better way; most people would proceed differently. But what I'm talking about is the accepted premise that the higher one's educational level reaches; the better. 

I have no quibble with knowledge; and learning; my "beef" is with those that insist that sitting in a classroom for four years is more likely to result in a happy life than simply proceeding directly to the life path of one's choice; and that those who do not do so are bound to feel unsatisfied  with their lot in life. One argument I've heard is that people often regret NOT going to college; but seldom (if ever) regret going. Something similar could be said about having children; few people express the opinion that they regret having children; and many DO regret not having children. Does that mean, though, that everyone MUST have children; despite having no interest in having children; just to avoid regret down the road? That opinion would not go over well with the childless; however the non-college educated are expected to swallow the same argument. 

There's no denying however, that it's easier to become employed when one has a college degree; and that those with higher education are more likely to remain employed; it's true as well that those with college degrees make more money; and if that is important to you; certainly; college is the way to go. But education has no bearing on "following your bliss" something that I think is the MOST important consideration in any life. Would I be in the life I'm in now; if I had followed the common mold of graduation followed immediately by college? Certainly not. There are many, I'm sure; who would not consider my life to be ideal; fortunately, I'm not one of them! I wish for everyone; that it was more acceptable to take the road less traveled if necessary; in order to follow THEIR bliss; regardless of the opinions of others. If your dream in life is to be in a prestigious college; and positively PAPER the wall with degrees; that's wonderful; and I cheer you on! However, for those are doing things because they're "supposed to", because of family expectations; I think that's sad. Everyone does things daily they'd rather not do; and many jobs supply things besides fulfillment; and that's one thing. But to pour your heart and soul into something you're not passionate about is a waste of a life. A job can be many things; a means to and end, certainly; but my hope for all is that they are able to pursue something that doesn't feel like work; that is enjoyable and fulfilling, all on it's own. I'm not advocating moving into the wilderness and becoming a mountain man (or woman); and I believe education is very important, and critical for brain development especially in children. I'm a very well-read person; who tries to soak up information; I simply maintain that there are many ways to gain knowledge.

For myself; I don't find my life to be wasted because I will very likely never achieve a fabulous career; when I'm old and grey I would hope I can look back on my life and say, at the very least, "I did it my way". 

I hope I haven't alienated my learned readers (if I have any....who knows whether the well-heeled would really want to read all my ramblings); I hope I've outlined a balanced approach both pro and con a traditional education. And it is my hope that everyone could be more accepting of those that are different than them; that is the reason for my post today, that we can all begin to see the value in lifestyles different than ours. 

I'm off to a day trip tomorrow with my boys; which I will blog about when I return; hopefully after a great adventure! 

Happy Thursday! 


  1. Brandi-you said it wonderfully! I am so proud to be a SAHM and wouldn't choose to have it any other way! I do have an education but even if "tragedy" fell upon me I am as you are-and would not return to work for someone else. I value staying at home with my kids and wish others did too! Great ARticle! Christine (MySweetPotato3)

  2. This is a huge topic for me lately. My opinion of higher education is very similar to yours. Personally I feel that it is far more valuable to have a physical skill than a college degree (and homemaking is most definitely a skill). I wish more companies and tradesmen offered apprenticeships.

    Both of my parents have Masters degrees and I stopped school after my Associates, so I get a lecture every time we talk. They feel that I should at minimum have a bachelors degree "just in case" but for me it seems pointless, and I wholeheartedly agree with your view of not pointing my life in a certain direction because of fear. I live my life without regrets and every big decision I have made has led me to where I'm at now and I'm happy. I know I will never regret not continuing college. And I may end up going back some day... who knows?

  3. Thanks, ladies! I know that with any luck I will have a long enough life to pursue anything I choose to; that may involve college at some point; if I decide to pursue the law degree I sometimes ponder; it will be an necessity. But that's not where I am now; and I'm happy with the choices I've made. I read a book once, written by a woman who felt that any woman who relied on a man, even her husband, for financial support was beyond foolish. After all, she said, "how can you know that he will not leave you or die". How indeed! When I made my vows to my husband; I had to pledge my life to him, in essence, certainly he COULD leave me; he could mistreat me, he could lose his hair or break his leg, or stop mowing the lawn. Marriage requires trust, though; not hedging against possibilities, and I threw myself into that mindset early. I think it's important to live without "ifs" and I'm glad that others agree!

  4. The book is "The Feminine Mistake" by Leslie Bennetts, read at your own risk! It's where I found out that I only have five children because "I can't think of anything else to do"; it was quite a read! :D

  5. I think it hits us on both sides of the spectrum. My parents were both educators, and school has pretty much always been apart of my life. (an important part) Even though it meant racking up 10's of thousands of dollars worth of loans to never quite fully attain my degree....

    I technically have more credit hours than my brother, and my brother has made upwards of 400,000 a year because of his work with computers. Ridiculous huh.

    I also make more now working at home, running my business than I ever did working and trying to get through school. Im also home now when my kids get off school, and I dont have to put my toddler in daycare and spend money and time away from him.

    I think it all hinges on the fact that its not neccessary to have a degree in order to be "successful". And success means different things to different people.

    Its education in general that is important to me, but the means in which one gets it are as diverse as the topics there are too learn.

    I wish there was more tolerance for those who choose different paths to success. Good luck to you and yours.

  6. Well said Brandi! EVERYONE in this life should pursue their dreams...and there are as many dreams as people on this planet. My mom cleaned houses and babysat to help out our family financially in hard times when I was a kid. Some people would consider that a terrible line of work that one would take as a last resort, but she LOVED it. Her dream was to be a homemaker and mom and so those two things really fit in nicely. It's so lame when others feel the need to be judgemental of what another chooses to do with their life. I don't care what my kids do with their lives when they are grown as long as they are HAPPY! They can join a band, join the army, get a PhD or be SAHD's...lol..whatever they want! I think the most important thing in life is waking up each morning being excited about the day ahead of you and a feeling of purpose and meaning in your life. I know for myself I love being a SAHM and when I went to school part time I loved that too! I'm looking forward to getting a part time job in Real Estate this fall and someday I hope to open my own business! I wear a bracelet on my wrist that is a reminder to "live your dream". It's a wonderful idea and like you, I wish more people were out there following their bliss! :)

  7. Well Said!! I tried college because it's what I was "suppose to do". I hated it. I waited tables, worked retail, and even an office job where I made 1/3 of what the college grads made for the same work. After I got married at 25, we bought a business in Hawaii and moved. Neither of us had a college degree and yet we (mostly me) took the business from $50,000 a year to over 5 million a year. College can't teach you everything.
    Some people love the experience and are very successful. Lesson to be learned? We are all different. We all have unique talents and need to do what fits us best. I for one am happy with my decision and although I think that my kids should go to college because of their interests, I make it clear to them that I leave that decision to them.
    I only wish that I had had the opportunity to ba a SAHM sooner!