In case you hadn't heard, over the last few years, I have been working towards a Diploma in Antenatal Education with the NCT.
Recently, I got to celebrate the culmination of my study by graduating. For some, graduating from university is not a big deal when you are an adult, many having done it once already from going into higher education after school.
For me however, for a variety of reasons, I did not get to do the whole Uni thing when I was a younger and so for me, graduating was a huge moment of achievement, and something that along with having my children, I can actually feel really proud about.
I think that those who graduate from adult education can feel even prouder when they have done it with a family in tow. I started studying just after my second child was born and so juggling study around a new baby, a toddler, school. after school activities, and other work and commitments is no mean feat and I think it is even more of an achievement than those who did the Uni thing when they were footloose and fancy free. Studying when you are young, living in halls and have your parents to fall back on and no kids in tow is much easier than studying when you have other responsibilities.
At various times during the course I did wonder whether I was doing the right thing, whether I was being too selfish and ignoring the needs of my children. It's all of that mother guilt coming back again. I struggled to rationalise having to always study instead of being able to do things like take my kids to the park, or bake cakes. Do I feel guilty that I spent my days and evenings researching and writing essays rather than being down on the floor playing with the kids and their toys - of course I do. Am I sorry that I combined watching my kids swimming with writing essay plans - definitely. Do I feel regret about the trips taken to McDonald's to feed the kids and use their free wifi to cram in a bit of extra lesson planning time rather than cooking - this one probably most of all knowing how much I detest the food at the Golden Arches.
However, I knew it would be worth it in the end. All of the hard work would eventually pay off. Gaining a great qualification has meant that I have now embarked upon a new career. As well as the benefits for me, I think that the benefits for the children have outweighed the down sides. I think that teaching your kids that education doesn't finish when you leave school is important. I think that inspiring them to realise that going to university to study can lead to great things is essential. Having your child tell you that they are proud of you for going to uni and that they want to go to uni "just like you" is very humbling, as were the lovely cards that they gave me on the day of my graduation. I think that mum's studying can have benefits for the children and for the adults...
Now - where is that prospectus again?