Joumarie Montes Colon, superwoman.
Although I’ve lived with her for twenty-two years, I never really asked about her story. I knew she had struggled and greatly, I also knew she had overcome many of those obstacles but what was her story? If I was to ask what was one thing that changed and shaped her into the women she is today, what would her answer be? As an inspiration to Rebels with a Cause I wanted her story to be the first story I share with the world. This is what she shared…
When I was 16 years old my life changed from being a teenager to be a married woman and a mother of four wonderful children. Eight years later, when I was 24 years old, I found myself divorced with 4 children and no career completed. That’s when I knew I needed to come up with a plan, a plan to provide for my kids and give them a future in a country where many fell into the system and unfortunately lost their way in it. While everyone around me were giving me advice on how I could request help from government programs and end the endless nights of studying and cooking dinner, my only thought was “I have to be someone that my kids can look after”. I felt this deep necessity to be an example to my kids. I wanted to go to bed every night knowing that my kids were safe, had a roof over their heads, food, clothes, toys, education but the most important, values. And so, I went back to school to complete my Bachelor. Supporting a house by myself wasn't easy… I had to wake up early to prepare my kids school lunches and get them ready for school. I would then get ready myself to go to work and have no lunch break because I would use that time to go to pick them from school to then go back to the office with them and wait for my mom to come by after work and pick them up to watch them. After completing my shift at work, I went to school until 10pm to then pick them up from my mom’s house and go home to get them ready to bed.
After 4 years with that routine, finally I got my bachelor’s degree in accounting. It was hard but not impossible. There were tears, there were laughter, there were endless sleepless nights and nights where I was able to get some sleep, and there were times where I fought and fought until I got what I needed to get to provide for my four wonderful kids. It was all worth it! My four kids are what changed and shaped me into the woman I am today. My motivation was and will always be my kids. One of my favorite quotes is, "The Sky is the limit" and that’s exactly what I remind myself and other women, usually single mothers, who I often hear complain about their lives and about how there is no future for them or their kids. If I was able to do it, you can too. I am not from another planet... I am just a woman that decided not to give up on my dreams, goals and obviously on my kids.
Let’s stick together and help each other struggle a little less!