“Dexter’s mum? Can I have a quick word?”
That is the last thing I need to hear this week. I’m on the school run on a Friday (which is the only day I am able to collect my own son from school due to my timetable) and the teacher needs to have a word with me. My heart fills with dread again as I wonder what it is this time.
It turns out my son has refused to listen to the teacher all week, and took a record breaking 30 minutes to get changed for PE on Thursday. My initial thoughts are “Why? WHY would you do this to me? I’ve got enough on my plate!” But then I realise that this is just the regular behaviour of a four year-old that would rather be at home surrounded by toys and Cbeebies.
Being a mum and a full time student in my third year is hard. I won’t sugar coat it. If you’re thinking of starting uni and you’re a parent, please prepare yourself. You will feel emotional guilt, exhaustion and stress. And for those, like me, who already take on this time consuming life, I’m sure you’re already aware how difficult it is. Your mates all go to the bar after class and you’re doing the school run, you can’t make the pub quiz at the weekend because you need a babysitter, you have to find extra childcare to ensure you can make the class trip next week etc etc. The list is endless and you will be faced with major FOMO.
The feeling of loss doesn’t end there though; you’ve got the loss of time! It sucks not being able to start work on your essays until after the kids have gone to bed (I feel jealous of my friends who seem to have all the time in the world to complete their essays). Even when that time comes you might need to eat, or shower or do all the other things you don’t get chance to do in the daytime hours. Wave goodbye to personal grooming and a healthy diet too. Those things are likely to be thrown out. You’re up at 7am ready to do the school run before class, your hair thrown into a “messy” bun. Then once you’ve collected your children from their childcare provider at the end of the day they have probably already eaten a nutritious meal so why bother cooking one just for yourself?
I guess I should stop ranting now and that is because in life we are told to look at the positive. For one, I am doing a degree to better my career opportunities which in turn will benefit my family financially. I have also learnt a hell of a lot about myself, one being that it is literally impossible to do a course and have a part time job whilst I am a parent. And three, it is really rewarding when it all comes together. Fair enough, I’m not raking in 1st’s but I am not doing terribly either. And that is what makes it count because I can look at those late nights and think, “Crickey, I managed it”. I wouldn’t call myself a hero (I’m just a regular mum trying to get by) but I am trying to be one, for my son at least. And that is all that matters.