I consider myself a somewhat experienced mom (with big emphasis on the word “somewhat”).
I have pregnant friends and I am eager to share my parenting wisdom. I was once in their shoes. I wasn’t always super mom. In college, I wasn’t thinking about getting married or having kids. I was very career-focused. While other girls were preparing for careers as teachers (because really they just wanted to get married and have kids so they could stay home and spend more time with their families in the summertime), I was interviewing for jobs in Wisconsin and Utah. I had phone interviews – and later job offers – with universities in Indiana and New Hampshire.
I spent three years in college working in a sports information office and got real good at it. I networked with professors who were all professionals in Orange County.
Looking back now, as a wife and a mom, my friends were smart. They took the right classes. I love my career, but the classes they took in college not only prepared them for their careers, they prepared them for parenting and marriage.
One of the most popular classes on campus at good old Concordia University Irvine was a marriage and family course taught by a successful marriage and family therapist in Orange County who went by “Buddy.” He was so awesome, he often gifted pre-marriage counseling sessions to grads who were planning on getting hitched not long after graduation.
I took one of his classes, but didn’t pay that much attention. It was all a bunch of nonsense to someone who was years away from getting married and having a family.
It’s been years since I was in college and out of curiosity, I checked the course offerings at my alma mater recently. Things have definitely changed. They’ve developed a writing minor (which I only earned after taking several courses at local junior colleges one summer) with classes that made my mouth water. Why didn’t I have these options?
If I had a chance to do it all over again, what classes would I take? Here goes:
Developmental Psychology: Childhood: This is a crucial class for parents. I recently advised a mom-to-be friend of mine to go to the local junior college and take a child psychology class with her husband. This class is a 2-for-1 with the development piece included. Any insight a parent can have into their child’s behavior and development will only help them parent better. While every kid is different and no textbook is going to tell you exactly what your kid is going through, it’s good to have a baseline understanding of child development.
Because my alma mater is a great place to get your undergraduate/graduate degree in education, CUI offers Children’s Art and Music for Children. What? I nearly fell over in my chair reading that they offer these classes. As a former athlete, I would’ve been the first to register for these classes. I would’ve surely thought that they were easy A’s, but I am also sure that I would’ve been very wrong.
I would love to be able to analyze my kids’ artwork, trying to understand why they chose the red crayon and not the blue one. And the music class? C’mon. As a parent, have you ever seen a kid dance to anything? Talk about fun! That for sure is not a boring class.
There is one class that I would avoid taking until my senior year if I was an education major and that’s Children’s Lit. I am not a fan of literature classes to begin with, but I really don’t want to analyze children’s books. I would’ve surely failed that class and ended up in an argument with the professor.
It’s funny how things change, how people change, in just a matter of years. My mindset if I were to enter college now would be so different from what it was 20 years ago. But don’t worry, I am not going to be Old Person In College and sit next to your son or daughter and cheat off their paper anytime soon.
Angela Borchert is a freelance writer who lives in Vacaville. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.