Today is a special for a few reasons. First, it is my oldest daughter’s 6th birthday. When she was younger, I never really believed people when they said things like, “Cherish this time because it’s going to fly by!”. When I was in the thick of the baby years with sleepless nights, crying, and endless diapers, I’d be rolling my eyes (in my head) when people would make those comments. It certainly didn’t FEEL like the days were passing quickly. It felt more like survival mode, and the infinite loop of feeding, napping and pooping kept me in a prolonged state of exhaustion. When our second daughter arrived a few years later, the cycle only continued with even fewer opportunities to catch my breath. Our first daughter didn’t take to nursing so my husband and I split feeding her bottles. This was especially awesome because we could trade off getting a good night’s sleep. I exclusively nursed our second daughter for over a year (plus she was and is a terrible sleeper), which means I’ve probably had less than 10 nights of uninterrupted sleep in the last 3 years. But now…the oldest is 6. And it really does seem like just yesterday that we were celebrating her 5th birthday…or what that her 4th birthday? Let’s just say I’m starting to understand why people make those comments about time passing quickly.
So what does this have to do with learning to code? Well today is also a milestone in my “learning to code” journey. I’m 25% of the way through the Software Developer program at Bloc. Similar to the baby days, at first it seemed like an enormous task was ahead of me. I knew before starting the program that I would have a lot to learn, and I spent those first few weeks of the program just getting my bearings. The Bloc curriculum is broken up into sections called Modules (Front End, Back End, etc.). The first module starts with very basic programming fundamentals and it felt great to start coding almost immediately. At the same time, it was hard not to feel overwhelmed, and finishing the program seemed so incredibly far away. Did I really have it in me to do this? What if didn’t understand the material? Could I really make this happen while working a full time job and keep up with my family? And still find time to shower and sleep?
While I didn’t have answers for all of my questions, the one thing I did know was that success was not going to come overnight. It was going to take consistent effort for a long period of time. It was going to take sacrificing social time and sleep. And it was going to mean programming even when I didn’t want to. Don’t get me wrong…I love to code. Most of the time, I’d like to think that I could code all day long and be perfectly happy. But I knew there would be times where I wasn’t in the mood, or was stuck on a particularly hard problem. I soon realized that being a mother had basically prepared me for all of this. And in many ways, being a mother was 1000 times harder. Because if you decide not to code for a day (at least when you are still a student), no one goes hungry. Don’t feed the baby, and well…you get the idea. It was during this reflection that I realized my own superpower: discipline forged in the daily and nightly routine of caring for a little human. I didn’t fully realize what I was capable of until becoming a mother, and now when I approach something difficult (like learning to code), I look at it through a very different lens. When you’ve had to bathe your toddler 3 times in one night after several unfortunate bowel movements, the fact that those two buttons just won’t vertically align doesn’t seem as tough. When you get up multiple times in the middle of the night for months on end when your mind is telling you to just let your husband give her a bottle, it feels like second nature to put in a few extra hours of coding every night after the kids go to bed. Most importantly, when you love something so deeply, you find a strength inside that transcends the momentary difficulties.