Career/family advice needed

Hi. I am in college right now and I’m engaged to a wonderful man. We’re going to be getting married somewhere between a year to a year and a half from now and we’ll both be working on masters degrees. My field is biology and I’ve got some concerns.

First off, if I end up being a stay at home mom (like I really want to) I somehow feel all this time/money/effort I’ve spent in college is a waste because I won’t be using it for a job. Is that wrong? I know I’ll be better able to educate any children that we will have, but I still feel that way…

Second, if I do have to get a job I want to work in industry or government and focus on either plants and basically genetically engineer them or bioremediation. If I did work in genetically modifying plants would that be against church teachings? The techniques developed for plants could possibly be used (with a lot of modifications) in animals and I do not want any part of modifying animals. In my mind there is a difference between plants and animals, but am I wrong here and just trying to justify what I find interesting?

Lastly I just wanted to ask people reading this to pray for my future father-in-law because he’s going in for open heart surgery this week (clogged arteries). He’s going to need a lot of prayers because he is trying to finish med school atm and this forced break is going to put a big strain on his already tight financial situation.

A well educated Mom raised happier, healthier, and better educated kids. You know what it’s like to get a degree, and you can help your sons and daughters navigate the University “system” when it’s their turn. You have also set a wonderful example to your kids - “yes, you will go to College. Both Mummy and Daddy did, and so will you.”

An education makes you a better wife, all the way around. Just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you’re not working, and just because you’re not getting paid for your work doesn’t mean you don’t actually need to know anything. Even the ability to learn, itself, is an asset - knowing how to use the Internet and the library to get information, to research environmentally friendly housekeeping - remember, you as the wife and mother are the CEO of the household, so management skills are also a must. Your little work-force needs proper motivation, and your health and safety division is a top priority.

Second, if I do have to get a job I want to work in industry or government and focus on either plants and basically genetically engineer them or bioremediation. If I did work in genetically modifying plants would that be against church teachings?

I don’t know - but we are being encouraged to vote against anything that would harm the people of the Third World, including genetically modified plants that don’t generate their own seeds, where the farmer would not be able to buy once and then harvest forever.

Maybe discuss this with your Confessor.

Lastly I just wanted to ask people reading this to pray for my future father-in-law because he’s going in for open heart surgery this week (clogged arteries). He’s going to need a lot of prayers because he is trying to finish med school atm and this forced break is going to put a big strain on his already tight financial situation.

He’s in my prayers!

Will most defintely pray:)

As far as your education:

If you’re like me, you’ve taken out a lot of loans to afford an education. Maybe I’m being materialistic, but the reason I’m in school is to be able to use my education in my field. I’m not saying that being a stay-at-home mom isn’t real genuine work, but I grew up with no not much money around, and I personally can’t imagine coming out of school with over $100,000 in debt if I’m not going to use the degree.

A couple of thoughts:

  1. Lab work is often quite flexible. I’ve worked in labs for the past five years, and frankly, no one cares if the cells are cultured and the PCRs are run at 10 am Monday morning or 11:30 pm on Saturday, as long as it gets done. If you’re willing to be flexible, there’s no reason that you couldn’t work it out. The lab manager in my summer rotation lab has two-year-old twins. She works three days a week (husband works from home and takes care of the kids) and stays home the other two so her husband can deal with clients.

  2. There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to have kids. My husband and I started trying for kids nearly two and a half years ago. I finally gave up and went back for my PhD because it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen unless we adopt. I was willing to sacrifice a PhD (something I’ve wanted to do at least since high school) to be a good mom; I figure that our infertility is a mixed blessing because it does allow me to go back to school without worrying about being a bad parent.

It is completely true that better-educated stay-at-home moms raise happier, healthier, more successful children.

This is how my husband feels about it. He wrote this to rebut an article in the student paper. His editorial was published the following day.

Mrs. degree will always be key

It doesn’t make any sense at all to condemn women, hopeful for a good husband and eventually a family, for going to college mindful that it could be a place where a suitable mate is found. Women and men have a natural longing for family, and without such, obviously the human race would have no continuation in a ‘feminist world.’

Even if a woman has no direct intent to find immediate employment in her degree field, instead opting to start a family, there is nothing wrong with this–in fact, it’s wonderful. Any of us who have lasted through college more than two years can agree that it’s not just an education you hope to ‘use.’ If your disposition as a student and a member of the campus community is proper, college is a positively life-changing and shaping experience that’s indisposable. Whether you seek a job or not, you are now more educated, experienced, and mature than you were 4 or 6 or 8 years ago.

Women college grads are no exception. College educated women are smart, capable, and better with time management and sacrifice. What better wives and mothers than these more whole, rounded people? To condemn college educated women for seeking family-centeredness would be to decrease the number of children raised with good education and inspiration. College educated women will raise smart children and drive them to happiness and achievement.

Don’t get me wrong–I agree that seeking out a man with a high earning potential to latch onto for support of ‘non-working habits’ is not right. On that point, I agree with (I’ll assume) Ms. Nielsen.

Ms. Nielsen asks, “How could someone grow up in today’s world and still want nothing more for herself than marriage?” Let me tell you how. Newsflash, marriage deserves to be referred to with more respect than “nothing more than.” The people who see it as “just” marriage are more often than not either 1) Hollywood superstars or 2) Going to end up in the 50-plus percent statistic of divorce. Marriage is a serious institution and a tremendous joy to those who embrace it properly. It’s not the thing that people who respect it “resort to” if they can’t achieve their dreams. Career should serve marriage and family (if you desire marriage)–not the other way around. Nielsen follows, “How can goals and ambitions be halted at the altar?” Well Ms. Nielsen, they’re not halted at the altar. At that moment, they’re transformed from “What do I…” into “What do WE want to achieve for ourselves? What can WE do? How can WE be the best parents to our children? How can WE give to the community and the world in an incredible and invaluable way?” It has been proven time and time again that no matter who or where you are or how rich or poor, living life solely for yourself provides no lasting satisfaction.

The question from brilliant women seeking education as well as family, to those who are simply self- and career-centric should be, “With so much love to give and receive, how could anyone place material things and career advancement over true happiness?”

Answer me this… which one of us–any of us–wants live out retirement and die rich, accomplished, respected, and… alone?

Had to reply because I feel the same! Even though I love school, learning and also planning my career, a part of me thinks it is all a way to waste time until I can settle down with children.

It’s just a way to pass the time is how it feels every now and then.

That being said, completing out that degree isn’t a bad idea. I feel it is a good thing because I might still want to put my degree to good use when I am a mother. Volunteering, part time jobs and putting your degree to use for your family are all great ideas. And after having a child, you wouldn’t want to go back to school, so it’s better to get it done with now, KWIM?

I am curious about your last statement. Do you feel that college education has given you study skills or additional education needed to teach your children? Or does your state require a degree for teaching?

I wonder because after awhile of going to school, I feel as if I know the ins and outs of how to better prepare for a career in medicine. I think to myself that if I have any children who display a desire to go into that pathway, I will be able to prepare them in early childhood through highschool. They could be far ahead of students like me, who had a larger focus in humanities and english! :eek:

College educated women are smart, capable, and better with time management and sacrifice. What better wives and mothers than these more whole, rounded people? To condemn college educated women for seeking family-centeredness would be to decrease the number of children raised with good education and inspiration. College educated women will raise smart children and drive them to happiness and achievement.

Vluvski, give your hubby a BIG hug, he must be a great guy!

Journey137, FINISH YOUR MASTER’S! The discipline, multi-taskig, and problem-solving experience will be very helpful to you as a stay at home mom. And if, heaven forbid, something were to happen to your husband and you needed to support the family, having the advanced degree will come in handy. Plus, you will be setting the example for your kids that education is worthwhile.

I wanted to go to college since I was 2 years old. Why? Because my mom did! I have a magnificent mother, and I wanted to be just like her. She was a stay at home mom, but you had better believe she “used” her college education. She was (and still is, even with all kids now out of the house) an extremely busy person. She taught me a lot, growing up, much of which she learned from her higher education. She demonstrated to me that education can be used for whatever purpose we need to use it for. This is partly why I value education as much as I do, and is in part for my decision to be a teacher.

Now I have finished my formal education, and I have my own master’s degree (in education). The experience of earning it taught me that I can accomplish a great deal, and helped me gain confidence in my ability to handle other challenges, such as marriage and (eventually, I hope) at-home motherhood.

Go for it.

I suppose I should clarify a couple things:

I WILL be finishing my master’s even if we get married before I finish it. I think that my college education will help me teach my children because frankly I know more than I did when I left high school (my reason for feeling that college is sort of a waste of time is that I could have learned most of this stuff on my own). Thanks for the tip about thinking of it as setting a good example for our future kids.

When I talked about genetically modifying plants, I meant actually inserting foreign DNA into the plant’s genome. Techniques are different for plants and animals, but if I did that kind of work with animals that’s really close to the techniques that could be used on humans one day. I want no part of something that could one day help people engineer a baby to certain specs the parents think are important. I never thought about the 3rd world countries that really need to be able to save and plant their own seeds again… that is exactly why I posted here, to get opinions from people with more experience dealing with matters in the real world than me.

Thanks to everybody who replied, and that article was very well done. I’ll be participating in a busy student’s retreat next week and I’m going to bring up these concerns with whoever I get paired with as a director, and I’ll probably talk to one of the deacons if I get a chance. My usual confessor is away for an extended silent retreat – he gets a special favor from the bishop because it’s his 25th anniversary and he picks an extra long silent retreat… go figure from the man that never stops talking :rolleyes:

Journey137,

Education is never a waste. If you don’t put it to use directly, then you will do so indirectly as a mother/educator of your children. BUT, you should always have your education in your back pocket for that “some day” when you might need it. What if your husband were to become incapacitated, or worse if you were to become a widow (God forbid either of these things happen, but they do all too frequently). Or, if the family situation required you to work part time, your husband became unemployed, etc.

Then you would be in need of your education to put together a resume and find work. With biology, you could always find something, or go into nursing or medical training of some kind, which is flexible and always in demand.

As to genetically modified food, no this is not against church teaching.

I do not know why women feel like they are “wasting” their education if they stay home. You manage the household, you educate the children, and you supply the safety net for your family if something were to happen to your husband or his job.

Journey137,

Another reason for going to college even if you intend to be a stay at home mom is that you may someday be required to provide for your children. I’m not talking about your husband divorcing you (although that, unfortunately, does happen in many situations), but that your husband may suffer an injury or accident that may kill or disable him. I mention this because my maternal grandmother was widowed at the age of 33 with two young children and a baby on the way. She had to go back to work to support her young family and she strongly encouraged me to graduate so that I’d always be able to support a family if I needed to.

I’m a civil engineer and I’m engaged. I intend to keep working after I get married until we’re blessed with children, because, like an earlier poster said, sometimes God doesn’t send you children right away, and I want to use my salary to save up for my children’s future.

Both my parents went to college and they homeschooled me and my siblings all the way through. Thankfully we didn’t spend anything on student loans–had scholarships–but even if I would have, I’d have chosen all over again to get my degree. My degree is going to help me to be a much better home educator, for sure, and, consequently, a better mother.

And knowing that I’ll be able to provide if something goes wrong, is very reassuring for me.

God bless,

kevinsgirl

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