Have you ever done something so big that it almost seems surreal? That is exactly how I feel right now. After five (and a half, I am counting ALL of the time I put in) years of being a Stay at Home Parent, I've made a promise. No, this promise isn't to my husband, or my kids, hell, it isn't even for my dog. It is for me. Allow me to explain.
This blog changed everything. Almost a year and a half ago, I sat at my kitchen peninsula thoroughly lost. It was the beginning of the pandemic, I was newly pregnant (though I hadn't discovered that yet) and I was homeschooling a kindergartener and juggling an enthusiastic toddler. Life was busy, it was hectic, and it was stressful. I had a full-time job and that was looking after my children while trying to keep our family life from imploding due to my husband's demanding work schedule. Add on top of that a new diagnosis of severe ADHD for both my husband and my son and, well, you can imagine how peaceful our home life was.
I was busy, and yet, there was a deep hole that existed inside of me that was longing to be filled. It was a desire to create change, to be change. It was a yearning for a chance to apply my skillsets, a chance to do something more. For years, I spent hours upon hours of my time researching, writing, presenting and teaching. My brain, fully decorated with cobwebs by now, still loved to read about my favourite topics of psychology, gender studies and childhood development. I found myself applying my knowledge to my own children (and, my own husband). Still, I wanted to cast a wider net.
So I took a huge risk. I opened up my heart and started to write. I wrote about life, about my kids, about activities that helped us navigate our son's diagnosis. I put everything I knew out into the universe. I talked about my passions, about Forest School and about inclusive education. In response, I received so many wonderful messages from friends, family and even strangers who wanted to hear more. For once in my life, somebody wanted to listen to what I had to say. Me. A Stay At Home Parent. It astounded me and humbled me. I got a taste of having the old Anastasia back.
Soon after, I found myself working for myself as a tutor and had the privilege of teaching at-risk children for one of our local women's shelters. After that, I began to be inundated with requests for online tutoring and was even asked to open my own preschool program. Thanks, pandemic! I began to teach children from the ages of four to fifteen and I LOVED it. Each child came with her own set of intelligences, her own set of struggles and that was such a challenge. But I found myself wanting more.
So here I am, thirty-five (ugh) years old, botox-free (sadly) and living my best life alongside the younger generation as I navigate a new chapter. For thirty-four weeks, I will be studying to obtain my Early Childhood Education designation. My dream? Oh, I have so many; to become a Preschool Teacher, to become a centre Director and then, just maybe, open up my own Preschool for children just like my son. That would be the dream. Do I feel "mom guilt"? Immensely, but I tell myself every day (okay, every ten minutes) that I am setting and example for my children about what it looks like to chase after your dreams, to not give up and to listen to your heart. And so, today, I say "goodbye" to a huge chapter of my life and hello to a new beginning. This is the year of Anastasia.