I am officially a Master’s student. OK – writing that ‘out loud’ did feel a bit special in comparison to how I’ve been feeling thus far.
According to Google, or more specifically the completely accurate Wikipedia ~ don’t come after me for the satire ~, a Master’s degree is one which demonstrates mastery or a high-order overview of a specific field of study, or area of professional practice. I feel like Creative Writing falls slap-bang in between both of those. But, ooh, mastery.
Aside from the handful of teachers I’m aware of, I only know of one other person from school that went on to study a Master’s degree. I’m guessing the others went off to uni and jumped straight back out of that cesspit as soon as they could. So why, after studying my undergrad for six years alongside working and being responsible for a whole, other life, do I still feel like I’ve fallen behind?
I could just as easily be sat at home, scrolling social media all day, as opposed to scrolling my shiny, new module web page. But I feel I’ve fallen behind.
I could opt for the full time job (school holidays being another issue filed away for another time). I would undoubtedly fall behind in my Master’s and feel I’ve failed in a sense as a mother.
Less of the things I could be doing: what about the things I am doing?
I am waiting to order my gown and mortarboard for my BA graduation ceremony. I won’t be the oldest there by a long shot, however I feel I’ve fallen behind.
I am sat at the dining table, productively writing this and thinking of ideas for my first assignment (despite the course not starting properly until October 5th), yet I still feel I’ve fallen behind.
I am solely responsible, whilst Aaron is working, for keeping the house from stinking ~ too much ~ yet I still feel I could be putting my time to better use and that I’ve fallen behind.
I am solely responsible for getting Noah up, fed and ready for school, picking him up from school and entertaining/feeding/bathing him – usually all before Aaron gets back from work. Yet, still. Still I feel I’ve fallen behind.
You know what it is, don’t you?
Societal pressure on women. Specifically, the woman with the child(ren).
We’ve been told that we can do it all, be it all – and sure, we absolutely can. But I do wonder, at what cost? I have become 99% happy, comfortable, contented and confident within myself, my body, my abilities, my ever-growing knowledge and all the rest of it, in the last couple of years. Funnily enough, the last couple of years when I haven’t been in employment. But there’s always, it seems, a nagging pressure that never seems to go away. Telling me to go back to work. Telling me to pay someone else to look after my child for those extra couple of hours in the morning and evening. Telling me to fill my time to the brim with things that aren’t family, that aren’t looking after myself and my family nutritionally and emotionally. That I need to keep digging, digging, digging, making myself better, making myself richer. That if I work, we can get a house and even better: a giant debt hanging over us for the rest of our lives.
But luckily, I remember to stop.
Look out the window (luckily it’s sunny today).
Take a breath.
Remember that I am exactly where I need to be, right now, in this moment.
We have a roof and a fridge full of food. We have a sleepy dog and washing hanging outside. We have free education and healthcare: if not for us, then for our little boy. We have the choice. I’ve not made the choice to fall behind and I never have. This isn’t falling behind. I’ve just made the choice to study my Master’s.
Phew. That feels better.