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graduate school in your 40''s anyone do it?

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asscherisme

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
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2,734
Hi All,
I am 38 now and have been out of the workforce since I had my first child 10 1/2 years ago. It was a decision that my husband and I made together and then we went on to have 4 kids total. I do have a B.A. and had a great career. but I know that being out of the workforce so long, I would never be competitive.

I find myself day dreaming about working again and going to grad school. And I feel guilty since my kids are still young (ages 3-10) I still have 2 kids in preschool.

The original plan was for me to go to grad school when my youngest starts high school and then start to work so when all the kids are out of the house, I have something for me.

But I don''t know if I can wait that long and I feel guilty about it. I feel guilty since we don''t need the income for me working and I feel like it makes me a bad mom to want something more. I posted before about my boys having some issues and sometimes I just feel like I''m going nuts being home. Meeting other moms for lunch, playgroups, etc or even volunteering is not doing it for me. I miss the rush of working and using my brain!

I brought this up to my husband and he was LESS than supportive. He was like, we had a deal and you agreed to stay home and thats that. It felt SO 1950s, and thats not who I though he was and now I''m feeling trapped in my house.

I know other working moms must think I''m ungrateful and nuts for missing work. I love bieng with my kids but I also miss being with other adults and using my brain. Day after day of cleaning, making small talk with cliqy moms at school pick ups, laundry, etc and never never getting a break from my 2 aspgerers sons is making me a bit nuts.
 

Independent Gal

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Messages
5,471
Amy! Going to grad school is a GREAT idea. Yeah yeah yeah!

My mom went to grad school when she was nearing 40. She stayed home with us until I was 8. Then she went and started her Ph.D., and a year later found herself pregnant again and our family in financial straits. She finished the Ph.D. while re-entering the workforce, and it was pretty hard for her, with lots of kids, and pushing 40. But she did it! And she went on to have a great career where she made wonderful contributions and even received a medal from our head of state for her accomplishments.

I am glad my mom was there for us when we were really little, but I am SO PROUD of her for the things she did for herself after that (and for our country, in her job). When she got her Ph.D., I was a teenager and I was so bursting with pride. When she went up on the stage to get her degree I was yelling and clapping and cheering. It was one of the happiest days of my life. And that''s what inspired ME to do MY Ph.D. And my mom''s accomplishments inspire me in my own work too.

Which is all to say that my relationship with my mom is totally different than it would have been if she had stayed home the whole time I was growing up, since I admire her BOTH for being the world''s most amazing mom AND for getting her Ph.D. and her other achievements. We understand each other better, and we have a deeper friendship because we''ve had some of teh same experiences.

Which is really all to say that you doing this can actually enhance your relationship with your children. You said one of them wants to do graduate work, right? Won''t it be cool if he can look up to you as a role model there?

Also, I''ve been thinking a lot about you, actually, and your difficult situation, and it sounds to me so much like you could really use a project, something to achieve for yourself, not only for your family. That can help fend off depression for sure. And distract you. Give you space and time just for you. Everybody needs that, right? And you might meet some new friends who share your interests... which could mean better support networks even after you finish your degree.

I say GO FOR IT! It''s a great plan. Even if you do''nt go back into the work force, it will be an achievement you''ll always have for yourself and for your kids to be proud of.
 

Independent Gal

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Messages
5,471
Listen to San Diego Lady! She is smart AND she has great hair. (teehee) You deserve to do things just for YOU too. Don't feel guilty. You have a life to lead too.

And if you still feel selfish, remind yourself that taking good care of yourself makes you better at taking care of others, too. If you're happy and fulfilled, your kids will sense that. Bet it will make your hubby happy too, in the long run.
 

diamondfan

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 17, 2005
Messages
11,016
Amy, bettering yourself should not involve guilt. I love my kids but there is only so much fulfillment to be had that does not involve mental stimulation beyond baby talk and mommy and me classes or whatnot. If you can do it, I say go for it!

I am 41. I got married at 24 (four months from my 25th) and had my first child at 26 (one month before my 27th). I had started a graduate school program prior to getting pregnant. I had graduated USC with a major in elementary education and a minor in communications. I decided, even though I had pass CBEST and could get a clear credential that I did not want to teach, at least not without getting a masters in early childhood or some other special field. But got married first, and figured it would all work out. Went to work in a law firm to help out a pal while I was in the midst of wedding planning so I would have flexibility. Toyed briefly with the idea of law school but ruled it out because my hubby is a workaholic type, I wanted kids sooner rather than later and just decided it did not make sense. Then I looked into going back to USC to get my masters, and decided to check out Pepperdine and a couple of other universities near us. The paperwork came from Pepperdine, their program was called the Graduate School of Education and Psychology...so as I read the stuff, I started getting intrigued with getting a masters in clinical psych. I applied to that program and was accepted. I proceeded to take courses, in the evening, while having two of my three kids. It was tough, I had to take a leave for one trimester each time I gave birth, but I stuck to it. I had a colicky second child, was up all night with him, yet still had a 35 page paper due...so I became very organized. I graduated with a 3.98 GPA, worked hard for it, made Psy Chi, which was an honors society, and felt very proud of myself. Now, I ended up knowing we were moving back East, and that each state has varied licensure requirements, so I opted not to start a practicuum in L.A. and only have none of it count. There were more students than internships by far, and having two small kids I did have some needs in terms of distance and hours, so I turned down the one that I applied for and got, and changed my degree slightly, before my last trimester, so I could graduate without practicuum hours. I could now go for my PsyD, I cannot see patients now since I changed degree tracks, but that is fine...I do not regret any of the investment I made in myself...
 

gailrmv

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 8, 2005
Messages
3,136
urgh, my reply didn''t go thru.

In brief -
how about taking a class or two in your field of interest before deciding either way? you could see what it would be like, meet some new people and challenge yourself without making a long term commitment right this second. Then if you decide to do it, you''ve got a few classes out of the way. What type of grad school are you interested in?
 

poptart

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2006
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1,899
Don''t feel guilty! Go to grad school and get that degree! My grandma always told me that it was important for the mother to take care of herself and be happy, too, or else the kids would end up being unhappy and feeling just as much tension as the mother. Kids can tell when their parents are unhappy, even if you don''t say it. I''m so sorry that your DH is not being supportive. It''s just not ok. I hope that you two can have a productive talk.

*M*
 

Kit

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 7, 2005
Messages
501
I just want to echo what IG was saying, but from the other side. I was raised by a SAHM who never even attempted to have a career. I feel grateful on one hand that I had one parent who was completely and utterly devoted to my every need growing up. On the other hand I think I would have benefitted from her having a career outside of being a mom. 1) It would have showed me as a child that I was not the #1 most important thing on the planet, would maybe have developmentally helped me be less self-centered (??). 2) It would have provided me with a role model. I am an adult now comtemplating having kids and I have no idea how I would attempt to balance work and being a mom. It seems impossible to me.

In short--do it. And don''t feel guilty, because you are fulfilling yourself AND helping your kids grow.
 

woobug02

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2004
Messages
2,153
Wooooooooooooooo I did it! I was 39 when I started and finished at 41 (wooo 41 now too). It was hard and very COSTLY but well worth it. I learned so much and now feel as if I have that little edge to go for some of the positions I may never have considered. My daughters watched me work and hard and realized they should go for it early :) WOOOOOOOOOOOOO
 

Independent Gal

Ideal_Rock
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Nov 12, 2006
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5,471
Yay Woobug and Diamondfan (and SDL and Kit''s moms) for your achievements going back to school! Let''s hope you inspire Amy.
 

canuk-gal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 19, 2004
Messages
20,549
HI:

I finished my Master's when I was 40.5 years old. I had a young family, and worked on a casual basis, so that meant sacrifices. Lots of them. But it was worth every headache. I was fortunate to have the support of my family; as I had friends in grad school who struggled emotionally, academically, and financially, since their families were not "on board".

Although there were late nights and countless neckaches, those memories pale by comparison to the ones that evoke the enormous satisfaction I received after successfully defending my thesis, earning three scholarships (one of them very prestigious) and addressing the crowd while delivering the graduation speech. Seeing my families' faces in the crowd, was priceless.

There are so many options in programs and methods of delivery that flexibility is the name of the game. There are large cohorts of adults retuning to grad school that programs, these days, are much more accessible.

Do it for you. It is one of those few justifiable "indulgences" these days. I doubt you'll ever regret it. Good luck!

cheers--Sharon
 

neatfreak

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
14,167
Amy,

You are NOT selfish for wanting this for yourself and yes your husband was being less than supportive when he said no! I am a traditional age graduate student, but in my program (public policy) there are a number of non-traditional women and they are all having a blast. Some are mid 40''s some are mid 60''s, but all of them have finally decided to do something for themselves and are really reaping the rewards. They have all been welcomed into the program with open arms and are treated no different than any of the "traditional" age students.

I don''t know about your potential program, but with most you have the option of taking just one class at a time if you want. You could take 1 class per semester for awhile to get you, your husband, and kids used to the idea. Depending on the class you can expect to spend 3-4 hours in class per week and then maybe 5-15 (totally depending here) on outside work per class. But that is work that could be done at home, so really, you are only gone a few hours a week for class.

DO IT!!!
 

woobug02

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2004
Messages
2,153
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Just do it :)
 

bar01

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2004
Messages
622

My wife, who is 41, has just started on her second master''s …AND…. a PhD’s program.....AND... We are trying for "our" first child.


We figured that if we are blessed with a baby and she takes a year or two off, the partime/nightime gradutate programs will keep her mind active and feeling productive in her career while being an at home mom too.



GO FOR IT!
 

Ann

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
1,531
Didn''t fellow PS''er MaryAlaina just start law school recently?
 
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