What a crazy year I've had! School has been difficult and stressful and wonderful and amazing. I had a lot more to learn this year than just what my professors taught. The one thing that kept me going through my final exams was the idea that for one whole week I could drop kids off at school and spend a couple of hours all by myself. I had great intentions with this time too, like sleep. I could get a two hour nap with no interruptions.
Sadly, it didn't work that way. But it's okay. I've been having vehicle troubles and had to sort that out. Crazy Dodge Caravan that is like playing driving roulette. Will I have heat? Is it going to hesitate when I push the gas or am I gonna get slammed into my seat because it decides not to hesitate instead? Fun times. On the last day I had a chance to crawl in bed, only to have the phone ring and find out that the Trucker was on his way home at 9:30 in the morning. Nap time over. Haha.
I know I'm behind in posting, I simply don't have any time to write when school is in. I feel like I run non-stop. But I did find a few things that were helpful, and might help other moms who are in school also. The web is full of very generic "tips" for school when you have children, but honestly, they are crap.
Find quiet things for your kids to do while you do homework. Yeah, I figured that. The trouble is that decorating the walls with a Sharpie is actually pretty darn quiet. What is a mom to do? Yay, I got my essay done but now I have a couple hours of scrubbing the walls with SOS and hairspray. It's not really worth it. Sometimes, you just have to pay attention to the kids instead.
Get out of the house to do homework. Again, this is not as easy as it sounds. I had grand ideas, oh yes, I thought this would work. I gathered my books and papers and headed down to a quiet little coffee shop. Bought myself a nice treat. Cracked the lid of the coffee open and the textbook. There was only one other table in use. I thought this was perfect! Until those three people starting talking. They were so loud and animated, I couldn't focus on my reading at all.
The library is questionable. It depends on the time you go. There are noisy kids during some hours. Full seats during others. It just didn't work out. My only options would be going to a friends house (or family) and hiding there, but it has side effects too. For one, I lose some time driving there, and then there would definitely be at least a little visiting too. If I'm going to do all that, I might as well hide in my bedroom (the one with no locking door, of course).
Enlist friends or family to help with the kids. Again, a lot of good and bad here. My sister helped me out and took the kids off my hands at times. That was nice. But sometimes, you don't know how long you have. Sometimes, the kids come back so excited to share what they did, even though you are right in the depths of Dr. Faustus and somehow are magically pouring the greatest essay idea you have ever had out. Then you stop, listen to them, maybe even say "just let me finish this paragraph," and you turn back to the keyboard and poof, the magic is gone. Idea lost.
The trucker slowly came around and helped in a different way. He cooked a little more. He coordinated bathing and shower times more often. He started pitching in with laundry more. He found new ways to connect with the kids and this didn't just benefit me, it was good for him too. His whole outlook on family has changed in the last few months. But again, this is not a great dependable fix. He is a trucker after all. Some days he was home before the kids got out of school and he could pick them up. But more often than not, if I had a big project coming due, he had a long day and I'd be lucky if he was home before the kids bedtimes.
Keep an agenda, keep assignments organized and written down. An agenda is a wonderful thing, but I realized fast that having it written down for me was not going to give anyone else a clue about how much I had to get done. And I'm juggling three kids school calendars and events too. Plus the occasional thing that comes up for the Trucker. I've synced every device I have and even tried using a shared calendar option. But that only helps when others actually look at it. So I changed it. I made a week per page calendar for all of us and kept it on the fridge for everyone to see. And I wrote every thing down. Hot lunch orders, due dates for forms, assignments, everything went on there. It actually worked quite well and I will share more about that in a separate post, including pictures.
What I learned through all of this is that there is no real tip sheet for any mom on how to handle school. Each of us has a different family. I don't have kids that nap anymore, for example. I still have to help my 8th grader with homework and my 4th grader too. I have to read with Angel everyday, and not just bedtime stories.
I really took life one day at a time. It was liberating! A few things got missed, but nothing major. It is always surprising how you can adapt to things. No matter what has to get done, you find a way to get most of it done and the things that get missed are never the end of the world.
Now that I have time to write, I will share several things that came up and were very helpful. All of the above sounds negative to some degree, but it really wasn't. It was hard, but it was so very worthwhile. There has been so much positivity in my life since school started that it is amazing. My whole world has changed and I love every second of it. Even if I can't have a nap.