I Want To Be A Stay At Home Mom, But Also Want A Degree. What Should I Major In?

by Judge Josh on September 9, 2014

Hi Judge Josh, I have a rather unoriginal, yet complicated dilemma. I’m a college sophomore with zero direction. I went to a Minnesota college last year and transferred this fall to a college in my home state of South Dakota. I like this college much better, and feel its a better fit. I declared my major as Elementary Education last fall, but since then I’m doubting that’s what I want to do. I’ve considered psychology, photography, early childhood education, and my latest thought is mass comm- journalism.

First of all – congratulations on being from South Dakota, Jaclyn! I know that’s not something you’ve probably ever heard, but we South Dakotans have to stick together!

I want a college degree, I just don’t know what in. I’m getting married next year, and starting a family is important to me. I want to be a stay at home mom while they’re too young for school, but work once the youngest is in school.

A serious thought I’ve had is to take time off school while I figure out what the heck I want to do, finish this school year and then just start working. My mom thinks that might be best if I really have no clue what to do, my dad thinks a degree I may not want to use is better than no degree at all. That seems like a waste of my time and money to me. 

Should I experiment with classes till I find something I like? Just go ahead and switch majors to journalism and do that degree even though I’m not sure it’s what I want? Take time off school to figure it all out?

As I said, not too original I’m sure but still a troubling issue! Oh, and I’m done with all my generals but one as of this fall semester, so I can’t just take them to hold off on a major– already milked that one! :S -Jaclyn

It sounds like you have no idea what you want to do, even though you’re halfway through college.  Welcome to the pool – come on in.  The water’s warm and you’ll never be lonely!

In other words, many people have no idea what they want to do halfway through school.  Heck, I might even go so far as to say most people aren’t sure about what they want to do when they grow up, even though they’re already in college.

Your situation is unique in that you actually DO know what you want to do – at least for several years – and that is to be a stay at home Mom.  Good for you!  This gives you plenty of time to research, experiment, etc. with different career ideas.  What are you passionate about?  I know it sounds rather cliche, but it’s true – find a career that you’re passionate about and you’ll never work a day in your life.

And your research doesn’t have to be via college courses.  After doing some soul searching, you may find that what you really want to do in life doesn’t even require a college degree.  The internet makes pretty much all things possible these days, and millions of people are making millions of dollars starting their own businesses or doing work that doesn’t require any sort of degree.

So I definitely wouldn’t get a degree just to get a degree – especially knowing that you will be in no hurry to actually get out into the workforce.  With a luxury like that I’d say you stop and smell the roses, find out what really makes you happy, and follow that path.  If that requires a degree – fine.  Go finish school.  If not, then you just saved thousands of dollars.

What say you, oh loyal Outlaw readers?  Should Jaclyn take her time to decide what she wants to do before plowing through with a degree that may or may not benefit her?

Or, given the fact that she doesn’t plan on working for a long time, should she take her time and find her true passion?  Tell Jaclyn what to do!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane September 9, 2014 at 1:58 pm

I agree with Josh that you definitely need to do some soul searching and not get a degree for the sake of getting a degree. However you should also consider that it will be extremely difficult to go back to school once you have kids (trust me!). I know many moms including myself who finish they had finished their degrees before having children. Since you are getting married next year, even if you start trying to have children right away it could take a while and in the meantime, you have 1-2+ years that you could be finishing your degree in. If you are able to figure out a path sooner rather than later, doing your degree pre-kids is going to be way easier.

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Been in Your Shoes September 10, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Your dad is right. A degree is better than no degree because life happens!

Here is my story and I hope that it helps you:

When my husband and I got married, I only had two years of college under my belt. The plan was for us to began having children after five years since I wanted to be a stay-a-home mom. This first five years was supposed to give me a chance to “figure out which direction to go with my college degree.” At the time, he had a great job that supported both of us. Best laid plans, a month after getting married we were expecting our first child. I was able to be a stay-at-home mom, but with much difficulty because he lost his job and it was difficult to land on our feet. I loved being a stay at home mom, and it was cheaper than daycare. Soon after our third child was born, I HAD to work because we were too dependent on my family for me not to work.

I ended up being a paraprofessional. My kids went to school where I worked. I knew their friends and their teachers. When they were sick, I could give them medicine at school. The best part was giving them hugs when I passed them in the hall and being involved in their lives. When my oldest went to middle school, I began looking at online colleges that would accept my credits. I received a bachelors’ degree. Then, I studied an extra year to be a teacher through the Educator Preparation Institute at the local college.

Being a teacher does allow me to touch lives everyday and to be a blessing. The best part about being a teacher is availability for my family. However, I do wish that I had had better options in this rural section of the world by having already had my college degree handy to perhaps struggle less. I had to work, go to school, and look after the kids.

To be in a metropolitan area with plenty of job options and no degree is different from being in a rural area with few choices.

This is why I agree with your dad. A degree is better than no degree. Once you have children, getting it is that much harder.

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Kristin September 10, 2014 at 10:57 pm

I think this poor girl is far too young to get married and have children. You need to get to know yourself first, before you commit to someone else.

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Rose September 11, 2014 at 12:35 am

Bad things happen. You may not PLAN on working for many years, but what if your husband has an accident? How will you support yourself and your children if he’s in the hospital or, worse, dead? What if your husband loses his job or can’t find a job that pays enough to support everyone? Does your future husband have a career that will support savings being set aside for a comfortable retirement?

Maybe you need a degree, maybe you don’t. But you need to start deciding what to do if there’s an emergency.

Many community colleges have ongoing-learning programs for (middle age) adults. Many of these cover similar ground to what you’d be doing in a related field (writing, photography, IT support) but cost significantly less than a for-credit course. Take one or two of these to see if you can find something you really love.

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Danielle September 11, 2014 at 4:56 am

What I know is that life is never predictable, and change disguised as horrible things happens often. While I agree that you should figure out what it is that you love doing, if you don’t get your degree, you’re setting yourself up for possible hardship or failure. Say you get married and have kids right away. Great! All is going according to plan! But then what if your husband gets laid off, or realizes he’s miserable in his current line of work, or the worst happens and while on a business trip he’s kidnapped to another country and during the struggle develops amnesia and loses his I.D.? Now you’re working at Dairy Queen and living in your mother’s basement with your kids. Wouldn’t you rather have a degree, certificate or skill/trade to fall back on? So I agree with your father, but you need to figure out what you want to do so that you’re not left with a vague degree that gets you nowhere in today’s job market. Just remember that some degrees, like psych, require a master’s degree to be useful. And there are jobs out there that you might not know about. A friend of mine is the social media person/volunteer coordinator at a Humane Society. My mom started her degree in ’85, had 4 kids, finished it in 2005 (in English) and is now applying at grad schools for computer coding programs. A friend of mine is back in school to become a doula. The possibilities are endless! Good luck!

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Ruth September 11, 2014 at 9:38 am

As one noted, one never knows what lies ahead. You need to be able to support yourself and your possible family. However, you may want to take a step back and find your passion…community college is excellent for that. It’s less expensive and a good compromise for your parents’ conflicting views. Take some courses there then return for your degree. If you’re passionate about children, consider early education as an area of study…that way what you learn can be applied to your own children even if you don’t go into the field. You can take journalism courses at the same time, so you can still be weighing your options. Meanwhile, wait on having children until you have a degree and some work under your belt. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Mine ended after 20 years. Accidents can also occur. You should not be completely reliant on your husband even if your choice is to stay home and raise your children. That’s what I did and even homeschooled them. I then needed to go back to work. Fortunately, I had a degree and work experience. It’s still tough, but it’s certainly better than if I did not have a degree. Meanwhile, education is NEVER a waste of time…you just might want to consider how to get it for less money until you’ve decided what degree you want.

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Christina March 12, 2015 at 6:06 pm

Hi I think you should continue in college and finish it. Do the best you can get your degree. Go volunteer in the fields your interested in and get your name out there. See what works for you. Good luck!

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