My Life as a Student-Mom: A Day in the Hectic Life of a Single Mom in College
As winner of the Care.com writer contest, Kelsey L. talks about being a single mom -- with law school dreams -- trying to finish her college degree.
It's hard for me to quantify days exactly. Well, to be more specific, it's often hard to disentangle them, so I can't guarantee this was all from yesterday and not just some collage of caffeine-blurred memories smeared across the past week.
I woke to the beautiful sound of my son's voice babbling into the monitor. Not crying or screaming, not even fussing. So I sat down on the floor beside his crib and asked how his dreams were. He smiled-a big, gummy, dimpled grin. I hope he stays a morning person.
I had to work the lunch shift. Somehow, even though my babysitter wished me a million-dollar tip day, I only walked out with $30. It was completely dead. I spent more in gas and child care this week than I took home in cash. Good thing I get that $3-something an hour on my paycheck-minus taxes. Before I picked up Isaac, I stopped at the library for some good news. I'm not sure yet if I can afford internet at my apartment, so I frequent coffee shops with the logic that I'd need the caffeine anyway, and I brave the library when I'm feeling up to meeting those steely stares if my four-month-old should make a peep. Anyway, the good news is that my end of the private student loan application process is complete! I'm still waiting to hear from the University of Iowa, though, as to whether or not they've accepted it. If they don't do so by tomorrow they will be hearing from me . . . every hour until they either accept it or give me instructions necessary to make it possible. I'm so close to school I can taste it. I miss school.
Fast-forward to when I would text Isaac's father at midnight. He's in Wisconsin, and staying there, and possibly getting laid off, but staying anyway to accept a job that won't give him two days off in a row. So who knows when he'll see Isaac. I know he loves my son, (yes, I said my. It might take two, but it sure only feels like there's one right now) but I can't understand how he can just not sacrifice everything, everything, EVERYTHING for him. Not loving me, I understand. But not loving Isaac unconditionally, or loving him but not enough to center one's life around him: impossible.
Long story short, something strange and potent made me text him. It was something along the lines of "you won't make me fail no matter how difficult you make it for me to go back to school, and graduate and go to law school."
His response: "If you fail, I'll help you."
Like I'd be some damsel in distress; like he'd save me! Notice, he won't help me to not fail. He can't help me aspire to create a better future for his son. But, once I fail to give that wonderful life, then he'll help.
Heaven help me not strangle him when I see him next weekend.
OK, back to the afternoon. After I got Isaac, I checked the mail, but the forms had not yet returned from my employer in Wisconsin. They're due tomorrow or I'll be denied food and child care assistance. Right now I'm living on WIC provided sustenance. For me that means beans, eggs, milk, cheese, and frozen veggies. You get creative fast when ingredients are limited. I'll just apply again for my state assistance, if I get denied, but I hate the way they talk to you when things don't go exactly according to plan. The tone bites like every valid reason is a pathetic excuse, and I'm a sixth grader again who hasn't gotten her homework in on time. I hated sixth grade.
I returned the first disc of season of "The Flight of the Conchords." Hilarious. I can't afford to keep DVD's more than one night. Luckily, Isaac woke me up every other hour the night before, so I watched all six episodes.
On the way home, I parked in a McDonald's parking lot for the free WiFi and checked on my loan again. No change.
By the time we got home it was 8, so I gave Isaac a bath and jammied him up for bed. We snuggled into the couch for his bed time bottle and (for me) the second season of Gilmore Girls for the fourth time this year. I don't buy many forms of entertainment. I don't buy many things at all. Little did I know, sleep was still hours away. Isaac was overstimulated. This was a first for me. I had planned on unpacking more and doing laundry, and now . . . now it was 10:30 and all I could do was pray for sleep. We went for a car ride, but he was still awake. We went for another car ride, and he was out cold. However, twenty minutes after the tricky carseat-crib transfer, he was up again. It was midnight when I got him to go to sleep. That's when the crazy set in and I resented Isaac's father for not wanting to be here, to help us, to take turns when I started to cry alongside my son. That's when I texted him.
Tomorrow I am getting that school to activate my account. Period.
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