Back in School and Back On Track?

17 Sep

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I can finally say with a sigh of relief that everyone is FINALLY back in school. This year, everyone except my husband and toddler are at some rung on the educational ladder. With one in preschool, one in elementary school, one in middle school, one in high school, and yours truly in college, the complication level of our lives has been raised yet another notch.

Of course, none of our schedules coordinate. Getting kids out the door in the morning is a four-hour process. Here is a typical morning for moi:

4:00 a.m. Alarm goes off

4:15 a.m. Second alarm goes off

4:45 a.m. I get up and turn on my computer, pull out my textbooks and assignments.

5:00 a.m. My 17-year-old son’s alarm goes off. I work on my homework.

5:15 a.m. I check to make sure my son is showering. I continue my studies.

6:00 a.m. My son is out the door for his early morning church class. I keep studying.

6:15 a.m. I go in to wake my 12-year-old daughter. She usually has to be roused several times. I shower and get ready for the day.

6:30 a.m-7:30 a.m. I tend to household chores and pack my daughter’s lunch.

7:30 a.m. I drive my daughter to school.

7:45 a.m. Arriving home, I wake my 8-year-old daughter and two younger boys.

7:45 a.m.-8:45 a.m. I help my younger ones dress, feed them breakfast, and pack their lunches.

8:45 a.m. I take my daughter to the bus stop.

9:00 a.m. I drive my 4-year-old son to preschool

Honestly, I don’t know how I manage to keep all the various balls in the air. Most of the time, it’s an hour by hour affair as I attempt to orchestrate all of our conflicting demands and activities. Our crazy lifestyle requires me to work in super-multitasking mode nearly 24 hours a day.

Homework has become a serious affair at our house. Weeknights, our dining room table—littered with text books, paper, and computers—becomes Homework Central. At all times of the day, from early morning to late at night, my kids see me hunched over my computer, eyes glued to the screen. This can’t be healthy (or can it?)

It sounds contradictory, but when I’m in school, I’m generally a better mom and a happier human being. That doesn’t mean I’m not overwhelmed at times or that I have all my ducks in a row. In fact, I’m snowed under nearly 99% of the time. My house is in a constant state of dishevelment. Most days are truly difficult and stress-laden. Every morning when I wake up, I honestly don’t know how I’m going to find the time to complete my homework assignments. Fear is my daily companion as I wonder if I have it in me to keep up this insane routine.

The other day I nearly reached the breaking point. “I just can’t do this anymore! It’s just not worth it! It’s too hard!” I screamed after an exhausting day of trying to manage a relentless barrage of countless details.  Sobbing, my 8-year-old daughter said, “You have to keep going, Mom! You love it! You love it! Please, don’t stop!”

And so, I push onward. Taking school one assignment at a time, I’m thankful for small miracles—the completion of each academic task and the insistent encouragement of one determined little girl.

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5 Responses to “Back in School and Back On Track?”

  1. Shauna September 17, 2007 at 9:52 pm #

    Keep going and remember the little engine that could instead of the energizer bunny, it’s way more positive!

  2. SassyQuilter September 18, 2007 at 2:50 pm #

    Whenever I am overwhelmed by the mountain of tasks in front of me, I actually tend to take on even more. My biggest pet peeve is to hear people giving excuses about why they don’t do stuff, so I overload myself with more to do to prove that if you set your mind to anything it can be done! This can be a major problem, though, because if you don’t succeed you become depressed. If you do succeed, you probably hurt somebody’s feelings along the way by barking at them that you are too busy to be there for them.

    I am really trying to work on prioritizing, honoring my self-given deadlines, and most of all … saying NO to what really isn’t important. It is a truly liberating feeling to walk away after saying “No thanks” to someone!

  3. shelb September 19, 2007 at 11:57 am #

    Good advice, Shauna. I usually feel like the energizer bunny on steroids…but I do love the image of the engine that could. It seems less frantic and more peaceful.

    You inspire me Lisa, you’re much better at keeping calm during the everyday crisis than I am. You never seem to let things ruffle you and you just keep on going. Good for you. I appreciate the example. 🙂

  4. DianaB September 19, 2007 at 6:56 pm #

    Lisa,
    I just accidentally discovered your web-site via Segullah. It was fun to stumble onto a familiar face/voice! I’ve always admired you and I have to say that it is very comforting for me to hear that you struggle with some of the same things that the rest of us do. I read your blog about the mid-life crisis and I think I have been experiencing the same thing. Anyway, I just wanted to say hello. I’ve missed our Highlands Ranch book group tremendously since we moved to Utah. I’ve tried to get one started here but it just isn’t working out. One of my sisters told me “You might just have to understand that what you had in HR was special.” You have a new reader!
    Diana Biles

  5. Julianne November 1, 2007 at 7:31 pm #

    Lisa,
    You are going through almost EXACTLY what I did 15 years ago when I went back to school full time with 4 children ( 3- 8) and gave birth to our fifth while in school. (Well, not actually IN school, but you know what I mean.) I graduated when our youngest was one. The first sentence our youngest son uttered was,” I can’t play now. I’m doing my homework.” As you can imagine, our home was a great example to the children of the importance of learning. Yours is too and you will reap the benefits of all your sacrifice and hard work a hundred times over as you watch them fall in love with books and laguages and music and science and all the wonderful you’re exposing them to. Gotta go write my book now!

    Julianne

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