May 8, 2023

Motherly love: Sacrificing for goals, balance and growth

Purdue Global alum, prof share insights on motherhood

INDIANAPOLIS – In July 2020 Deja Trotter used her mother’s instinct as she navigated her family through several challenges.

Trotter, of Indianapolis, had given birth to her younger son, Dillon, earlier in the year. Her older son, Hendrix, was still receiving care for his tracheotomy. She was trying to keep her family safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. And she was starting classes at Purdue Global to accelerate her accounting degree.

As she looks forward to Mother’s Day, Trotter (Purdue Global ’21) and her family have found a new routine, as well as growth. 

trotter-children Deja Trotter completed her Purdue Global classwork while working and raising her sons, Dillon, left, and Hendrix. (Photo courtesy of Deja Trotter) Download image

Work from home and online schooling options

Following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dillon’s birth and caring for Hendrix, Trotter knew that returning to in-person college classes – something she’d begun before Dillon’s birth – was not going to work for her now.

After finding Purdue Global – Purdue’s online university for working adults – and working with admissions representatives, Trotter was able to transfer all her credits from her previous four-year institution.

“It was a great experience. The professors were amazing. If I had anything going on with the kids, they totally understood; I would email them and let them know,” Trotter said.

She found accessing her courses late at night a benefit. “Once the babies were in bed, I could take the classes and do my homework,” she said. “In some instances, I would be holding Dillon while listening to the class.”

Trotter received help from her mom and grandparents, as well as several nurses who assisted with Hendrix’s tracheotomy, tubes and treatments.

Parents do things to inspire or encourage their children, frequently sacrificing their dreams. Reflecting on this for Mother’s Day, Trotter sees it the other way.

“Hendrix was not supposed to make it, as he was born at 25 weeks and came home when he was 8 months old. Hendrix has been able to strive through all of that. If he can do that, then I can do what I’m doing,” Trotter said. “It makes me go harder for both of them. I really attribute my hard work to Hendrix.”

She encourages all mothers to keep pursuing their dreams. “Just because you’re a mom, motherhood is not a reason to stop. It’s extra on your plate, but it’s no reason to stop,” she said. “You need to continue striving for a better life, for more and for what you want. Your dreams don’t stop just because you have children and you’re a mom.”

Trotter is now at Allison Transmission as a senior SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) coordinator, where she works with internal and external audit teams. She is proud that she accomplished her goal of getting a degree and then advancing in her field.

“I wouldn’t be where I am at without my degree,” Trotter said. “The affiliation with Purdue means a lot. When people look at my resume and see that I went to Purdue Global, they are like, ‘You went to Purdue’ – it has that extension, which is awesome.”

She’s also proud to be a role model for her children.

“It’s important for my children as well. Education is key. It’s so competitive,” Trotter said. “You have to keep continuing your education and keep learning, as the world is changing so fast.”

desilva-danielle Danielle Hadeed de Silva of Purdue Global (Photo provided) Download image

The journey of motherhood and mindfulness

Danielle Hadeed de Silva, a psychologist and faculty member in Purdue Global’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences who lives in South Florida and author of “Mama, Find Your Power,” knows what it is like to be a working mother.

“The challenges that exist in today’s society are so much greater than what moms have experienced in the past,” Hadeed de Silva said. “Moms are having to function in a world with social media, where kids are getting their information and being influenced by others. We also need to be present for our families because there are influences as well as drains on our time.”

In her psychology practice, Hadeed de Silva encourages moms to practice forms of mindfulness and take a few moments for themselves.

During class, she always asks what motivates students to come back to school.

“They talk about how they want to be a role model to their children,” Hadeed de Silva said. “I want them to know that if you set goals for yourself and work hard to achieve them, your goals and dreams can come true. They are building a legacy and showing that it is still important to get a good education.”

If children see their moms and dads making education a priority, even as they balance work and family, they internalize the importance of going to school.

Purdue Global is Purdue’s online university for working adults. Currently at Purdue Global:

  • 60% of students are 30 years of age or older.
  • 42% of students are underrepresented minorities.
  • 51% of students have a child or other dependents.
  • Nearly one-third are either in the military or veterans.
  • 50% are first-generation college students.

After having her two children, Hadeed de Silva said she didn’t make professional goals a priority, as she focused instead on motherhood. She realized this one day when, on a phone call, she used her title, “doctor,” and her son, who was with her at the time, said, “You’re not a doctor.” The exchange made her reexamine her professional goals and think about regaining the different aspects of her identity that she had lost.

“Being a mom is a big, beautiful, rewarding, challenging and inspiring part of who I am,” she said. “But there’s so much more to me that I wanted to get back to. Your interests shift.”

During class or meetings, Hadeed de Silva encourages her students to practice self-care techniques and to utilize Purdue Global or local resources. She also encourages faculty and employers to meet working adults where they are at – especially if they are members of the sandwich generation and caring for older relatives.

“They are going to be impacted by the challenges in their life,” Hadeed de Silva said. “It is a strength to acknowledge that you need help. It’s OK to ask for an extension. They are being real about their circumstances.”

She encourages all moms to keep pursuing their goals and dreams, as they are both equal parts reward and challenge.

“The journey of motherhood is worth it; so is the journey of working toward achieving the goals you have for yourself. It’s worth the time, money and effort,” Hadeed de Silva said. “If you can find ways to enjoy the journey, not just see it as a goal four years from now, moms who are back in school will find it more gratifying and rewarding.”

Writer/Media contact: Matthew Oates, 765-496-6160,; @mo_oates

Sources: Danielle Hadeed de Silva, Deja Trotter

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