Success Takes Effort
From the Beginning
I was raised in a small town in Pennsylvania. My parents formal education ended at high school graduation. My mom was a stay at home mom. She eventually worked at entry level paying jobs due to her lack of higher educaton.
My father was away a lot due to his job. He was an engineer on the railroad. That kept him away for weeks at a time quite often. The fact that he was away so much took its toll on their marriage eventually. My parents divorced when I was around twelve years old.
This left my father supporting two households on his income. There were times when the lights were turned off due to the lack of funds to pay for the electricity bill.
To my father's credit, he most likely did not know that this was the case or he would have gone without something to ensure the lights were turned back on. My mother was most likely too proud to tell him. She was the one who wanted the divorce.
I watched my mother trying to support her four children on the amount of child support she received along with working at a low paying job.
When I was twenty-one years old, I married the man I had been dating since high school. I can look back now and realize I had no idea of how to choose a life partner. There were times I broke up with the man I was dating. He would always convince me to come back to him. I now know that I convinced myself that it would last because I saw this pattern as he would be someone who would stand by me no matter what instead of what it was. I instinctively knew something was amiss. Because I had only observed my parents partnership. I truly did not know what a good relationship looked like.
Over time things became very difficult. I was married to someone who sat in the garage after work and poured alcohol down his throat. He was not a mean drunk but I realize now he was an alcoholic. There were times I would wake up urine soaked because he was in such a stupor he wasn't alert enough to get up and use the restroom. I eventually put my foot down and told him that he had to give up alcohol or the marriage would fail. He did so but with a lot of resentment toward me for making him give up something he enjoyed. It also caused him to be alert enough to realize how unhappy he was with his job.
My husband became an unsatisfied individual, which in turn led both of us to feel unhappy. Then came the real ax. The company my husband had been working for folded. My husband jumped from one job to another. Nothing seemed to satisfy him. Over time I could see there was nothing I could do to make him happy - nor was it my job to do so. I began to realize I would be out there on my own one day raising children. I accepted the fact that I did not have a formal education - much like my parents. I recalled my mother trying to raise her children on such a small income.
I began to reflect on my life and realized I need to do better. I realized I had had the what I refer to as the Cinderella Syndrome. I had believed I would find my prince, have him take care of me, and live happily ever after. The funny thing about fairy tales is they always end with the words and "they lived happily ever after." We never get to see the life after the declaration of those words. I realized I needed to prepare myself to do better.
The Road to Success
Time Invested Will Pay Off
I declared to my then-husband that I had made the decision to re-enter college and that he would need to begin helping out. Honestly and not surprisingly my husband was not very supportive. Our daughter was only two at the time. Our eldest son, however, was fourteen years old. He was the one I counted on to watch his little sister while I took evening classes. My other son helped by playing with her and keeping her busy as well. I was only taking just a few courses at that time. Eventually I did go full time when my daughter was a bit older. I also took one or two classes each summer.
There were times when the dishes and the laundry piled up. I got to those tasks when I could. I would often get up at six o'clock in the morning and work until midnight. I studied when my daughter napped or when I could get help from my boys or family members.
It took me years but I eventually finished my bachelor's degree. I then went on to earn my Master's degree to become a teacher. While teachers begin at a rather low salary, I knew it would eventually increase. While I had remained married through this process and hoped that my marriage would get better, it had actually deteriorated. The reality was staring me in the face. While it was scary, I knew I had to move on. I at least now felt confident that with an education I could begin to take care of my children.
At the time when I finished my educaton, teachers were not in high demand. It took me years of working as a long term substitute teacher to become a probabtionary teacher. It was time to get out of a bad marriage. I realized I would be on a tight budget but I knew I could do it.
You Can Achieve!
I Did It and So Can You!
Each person has their own version of what success means. For me it was earning that higher education and doing something with my life that I knew I was destined to be. I know I am a good teacher. I love what I do and know I make a difference. I wrote this posting to let others know you can do what you have to in order to achieve your goals. I hope I have inspired others to do the same.