I am a non-traditional student as well. I started my undergraduate degree in Mathematics at Indiana University but dropped out in my third semester because I failed - yes, literally FAILED - all my math courses. I left school thinking I would never pursue it again and got to spend time with my wife and children. We needed income so I took a night shift position at a local factory which, after a few months, gave me the motivation to go back and try again. I knew I needed to start somewhere so I went to a local university (University of Southern Indiana) and took a full load of courses (18 credit hours a semester) and I took 18 credit hours total in both summers - all while working full time to support the family. I finished my BS in Mathematics at USI in 2 years. I started in January of 2013 and finished in May of 2015. After this, I thought it was finally time to get a real job and become an adult. So I worked in banking and then went into the manufacturing industry but found myself still lacking something. I needed that academic stimulation back! I NEEDED to research! So now I have been accepted into Indiana University's PhD program in Statistical Science beginning this fall. Look's like I will finish where I started this journey.
So I want you to understand, that as long as you're willing to put in the work, you will reach your goals and you WILL research in Mathematics so long as you have the drive and motivation to do so. I hope my story can give you some hope for your future. Please feel free to message me with any questions you may have and I'll gladly answer.
Keep in mind, all throughout my undergraduate at USI, I had 2 children, ages 7 and 3 now, and we just had our third child in February of this year, so if you don't have a large family to worry about, then this will be an even easier goal for you to accomplish.