Have you ever heard the phrase, “Bigger kids, bigger problems”? It seems like just yesterday the problems I faced as a mother were so simple in comparison to the issues of a mom with kids in college and the real world. I remember so vividly when our biggest issue was finding the perfect socks for my daughter; the ones that didn’t have thick seams that would irritate her toes, or when lunchboxes and homework got left at home and I would race to their schools to deliver these items right in time for class or the lunch period.
I have always been a working mom. I started my career as a teacher and then once my kids were born I started what became a small chain of childcare facilities in Connecticut. Working in the childcare industry for the past 20 years is extremely gratifying and I love working with so many wonderful families. Over time, I have come to realize that I feel the greatest sense of satisfaction and fulfillment when I am able to help a child or a family work through challenging situations.
As a psychology major undergrad, I always had an interest in the field but pursued education as a graduate student and became a teacher. When my two girls were in high school, and my son was in middle school, I started and completed a graduate program in counseling. Even though my nest was not yet empty, I knew that I needed to start working on what I now refer to as my “second half”. Lots of people thought I was crazy, going back to school, running my childcare businesses, raising a family; but I knew I needed to do it for me.
And so here I am now. My graduate work lead me to work in a college counseling office where I worked with many college students that were facing all sorts of difficulties. Some needed help dealing with the emotional transition to college, some were experiencing depression and anxiety, but many were just feeling lost and even though they were in college, they lacked direction.
At the center I administered the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory. These are great tools and I was able to use them help so many college students better understand themselves, their interests, and guide them in selecting a college major that would prove to be both interesting and successful for them in college and in the future.
Now that I have an empty nest at home, I am able to pursue my own passions and dedicate time towards working in the field of counseling. The services I offer can help people of all ages, from High School students to career changers to empty nesters, figure out what they need to find happiness, fulfillment, and success. While it is always risky to branch out and try something new, I am so excited to be working with people and helping them find their way. I have even committed to working with people via Skype so I can provide help to people beyond my corner of Connecticut.
The “little kids” and their “little problems” are sometimes replaced by bigger ones, but for the most part, my chickadees have flown the coop with direction and focus. Two out of three are college grads with successful and fulfilling careers. The third is in college, and after exploring many options it is clear he found the perfect match.
So, life marches on, and I am happily taking my Next Step!