Before our first daughter was born, we were a pretty typical couple. Married, house, two cars, two decent jobs, middle class. In 2003 we decided I should quit the job I hated and go back to college to get a degree in Early Childhood Education. Looking back, this single decision changed our entire life path. Had I not went back to college, I probably would still be working at that job, probably excelling, probably making a decent amount of money, but I can be 99% sure of one thing. I would not be happy.
I graduated in May of 2005, and have not used my degree in a job setting once. We planned for our first child to arrive shortly after graduation, and she did. In July of 2005 we had our first daughter - Julia, and had the biggest change in our lives. We were parents! For the first time in our lives we had to really think about someone else's life and how we were affecting it. Obviously, we thought about others before, but this tiny person relied completely on us to make good decisions, because she could not. It was up to us, and from the moment we got the confirmation on the pregnancy test, we have taken that job very seriously.
When I say that I have not used my degree in a "job" setting, I definitely do not mean I have not used the knowledge I gained while I was in college. That knowledge is what changed me the most, and I am eternally greatful for that. Had I not taken those classes, I shudder to think of the decisions I would have made differently. My parenting style is completley different now than it would have been. I now research everything, reading until my eyes hurt, talking to people in similar situations for advice, watching informational videos, and researching some more.
Unfortunately, we are not always supported in the decisions we make as parents. Family, those who are supposed to be there to support you the most, are often the ones who question you or make you feel bad about your choices. I take pride in the decisions my husband and I have made so far, regardless of who agrees or disagrees with them. We did not decide one day to just "do" the things we do. We have put more thought and research into each decision, than we ever imagined possible. But at the end of the day, we feel good about them, and that is what matters.