Children’s names and ages:
Austin, age eight, and Jackson, age seven
Where you are attending school and what is your major:
I am currently attending Northwest Arkansas Community College. I am finishing my final semester of prerequisites for the Nursing Program.
What is something that has surprised you about parenthood:
Parenthood has been a crazy experience! There are definitely moments when I question how I got so lucky to have two boys who do love each other so much. Austin, my oldest, is at the age where he is starting to realize things about the world and his new interests amaze me. He is silly, LOUD, brilliant. Jack, my youngest, is the happiest, craziest and one of the best people I have ever met. I would KILL to just live one day in his shoes. He looks at the world with eyes wide open and takes it all in. He lives it how he wants to and is incredibly happy!
Favorite parenting moment:
So, I do not have a specific parenting moment that trumps all of the others. It’s more so little moments that can be described as “core memories”, per the Disney movie Inside Out. They vary depending on what the situation is or what I am going through at the time.
One of my absolute favorites was a quick trip to Branson. Of course, we had to stop by the Disney Outlet. Jackson was ELATED about being able to buy whatever he wanted. When we got back to the hotel he lined all of the characters on his bed, he was SO excited! The fact that I could provide a small vacation and toys that he wanted will always hold a place in my mind and heart.
Another amazing “core memory” would be from Austin. I take him to school in a neighboring town every morning during which we can have “our time”. Recently there was a morning when I had just gotten off of a night shift at 6:00am, and rushed to my parents to get him dressed for school. I was exhausted and questioning myself as a mom. I looked at him and asked “Am I a good mom?” He immediately looked at me with the biggest, most caring eyes and exclaimed “YES. WHY WOULD YOU EVEN ASK THAT?” That entire conversation was just what I needed!
Where do you like to hang out with your family in NWA?
As a family, most of our outings are with my family. So, parades in local cities, First Fridays in Bentonville and they LOVE going to the park.
I wish someone had told me before I had kids…
GET YOUR DEGREE. JUST DO IT.
I find inspiration in ….
Oh! This is literally the best time to ask this question! It has always been hard for my dad to show support, even though he has been and always is supportive. He just does it in his own way, which isn’t always the most apparent. But tonight I went to my parent’s house to pick up my tiny people and he just casually said “Hey, there’s something on the bar for you. You’re going to need it- don’t lose it.” I looked over and saw a medical dictionary. He doesn’t know this, but him doing something like that is monumental and just makes me want to study!
My biggest challenge is myself, definitely. I know that saying “I am my own worst enemy” is probably cliché, but this is the truth. I let my mind and my past experiences get in the way of everyday things. Smaller challenges consist of just daily living. As every parent in the world knows, it is ridiculous sometimes to control multiple schedules with only one person coordinating it all.
How did you hear about SPSFNWA?
After my divorce, my parents immediately took on the role of **Super Support Team** and paid for classes. I goofed around the semester that they first paid for. I felt bad and decided to sit out that next semester so they wouldn’t waste any more money on me. The semester that I sat out was when I started working at the hospital and was consistently around all of these amazingly educated individuals- I felt inadequate and decided that it was time to step up. I brought it up to my dad and mentioned that I did not want to have them pay for my education. That is when he first told me about possible scholarships for single parents. I did a quick google search and was led to what is, hands down, one of the best opportunities and groups of people that I have ever been blessed to be a part of.
One word to sum me up:
Words to live by:
So, I was having a REALLY hard time one semester between everything and was talking/complaining, to a good friend of mine. He is older and much wiser than I am. He just flat out looked me dead in the eye and said “You are just going to have to be tired. It’s just how it has to work.” It came off as harsh then but I took it with a grain of salt and by the next day it was my motto.
Why do you value education?
Education provides confidence, at least for me. It allows for constructive and well-versed conversations, thinking, and living. With a nursing degree- there is SO much room for continued education and growth in different specialties. You can become a Nurse Practitioner or a CRNA, you could be a flight nurse, you could be a professor, YOU CAN DO SO MUCH. You can also go literally ANYWHERE with this career.
What do you enjoy most as a parent?
When they want to see me and are “annoying” about it. There are days that I am just exhausted and need sleep so I can function the next day and they make it clear that I am needed way more than my sleep. It can be frustrating but deep down it is what keeps me going! I can’t wait until the day comes when I can come home while they are on Summer break and I can just tell them “Here are new suitcases! Pack for five days in (insert family vacation venue here)!” I know it will all be so worth it when we can veg out as a family somewhere with little to no worries.
What made you decide to go back to school/ go to school for the first time?
I went from being a stay-at-home mom for five and a half years to bartending and serving a million hours a day just to provide and try and maintain the lifestyle that they have and deserve.
How did you choose your major?
I have actually always wanted to be a nurse. Now that I have the opportunity to work around those within medical professions it just gives me more drive. There are two nurses in particular that made me decide that this is the gig for me. Well, three. Two being from work. I don’t even know if they know this- but, if you guys are somehow reading this… Shoutout to Kim and Jessica, you two are amazing! The third is my sister Audra. She is an amazing nurse and has accomplished SO much!
From: Kim (The prettier, funnier sister)
YOU GO GLEN COCO
Other than financially, what impact has SPSFNWA made on your life?
The mental support from everyone has been tremendous. College isn’t easy for anyone. Everything has ups and downs and EVERY. SINGLE. STAFF. MEMBER. falls within the category of the best, most genuine, honest, and supportive group of people.
How will life be different for you and your family after you graduate?
So, this one is kind of easy to answer, Austin and I talk about this often. I’m working so hard so that I can become a nurse so my children and I have amazing lives. All of my goals and entire life are dedicated to these boys and their mental and physical well-being.
What would you like to say to SPSFNWA supporters?
SPSFNWA has provided above and beyond for my family- and others within this program. When I first applied for SPSFNWA I was immediately greeted with open and loving arms. While meeting with Katlyn for the first time she also gave me a couple of other scholarships to look into- one of which is a local program for Allied Health Sciences within NWA. This scholarship is a FULL ride and allows me to use the funds from SPSFNWA for living and child expenses. I have also used the scholarship for other school expenses; including, calculators, books, and car issues.
Without the help of everyone at SPSFNWA, I would be unable to live. I would have lost my home, I would have a car without a working transmission, half of the time I wouldn’t have laundry soap or toilet paper, and most importantly my kids wouldn’t have what they deserve and need. This program not only has the power to change lives but does an impeccable job at it. To ANYONE who has ever donated even a second of their time to this program by even reading this- THANK YOU. Thank you so much! It makes my heart hurt to imagine our lives without all of you.