When both my children started school this past August, thanks to the recent economic downturn, they were joined by my husband and me. To say that this is a challenging endeavor would be an obvious understatement.
For starters, I never thought I'd have to simultaneously complete my homework while yelling at my kids. Yes, this really does happen and I'm not ashamed to admit that I raise my voice with my children.
Recently, for example, I was taking an online assessment test that included a typing speed portion. Knowing that I am a solid 50 wpm typist, I was unfazed when I clicked on the "Begin Typing" icon. Three words in, a wardrobe crisis erupted from my 4-year-old angel princess. She'd put on her Tinkerbell costume, but couldn't seem to negotiate the Velcro wing portion, which had to be taken care of at that precise moment in time.
I calmly expressed my displeasure at her pushy attitude, explained that I'd be with her in just a moment, and begged her to, "Please give mommy just a minute." No and out of the question.
So while she screamed at the top of her overdeveloped lungs, "MOMMY, FIX MY WINGS NOW," I completely lost my patience and destroyed my coveted typing speed. I unknowingly typed words like "crazy" and "child" which I had to delete, which, in turn, used more time and resulted in the increased level of my own conversational volume.
When all was said and done, I ended up with a 33 wpm speed. To my astonishment, I scored 100 percent on accuracy! Not too shabby. Mommy won that round even if the victory seemed short lived and a tad childish.
Any intelligent person would ask, "Golly, Damara, why in the world did you wait until your mid-to-late 30s, after you had two young children, to go back to school?" followed by, "Just what were you doing in the '90s?" My responses to those questions are: "Because I love a challenge," and, "None of your business," respectively.
Aside from our overall divided attention between homework, housework and child rearing, my husband and I find time to argue over who gets the use of the office because it is the only quiet place in our home. We each have our own computer out there and the concrete brick walls make the house screaming barely audible.
To his credit, he works 5 to 6 days a week and is taking two online classes towards his degree. On my end, I am a recently displaced worker who has just begun her first year in the nursing program and I have literally a ton of dull, painstakingly detailed books to mentally digest.
To add a bit more stress, I must maintain a "B" average to remain in the two-year program. My kids seem set on making sure I don't reach my academic goals so there exists a constant power struggle in my home, which can be witnessed nightly and most weekends.
Though my daughter seems determined not to learn the alphabet, my son gets good grades only when we use threats of bodily harm; and my husband has all the stress of being the household's only wage earner, I have to say that I love this time in my life. I feel as if I am on the event horizon of my family's future. That being said, if someone does invent a time machine, I'd like to take a little trip to visit my 22-year-old self and give the young me a stern, but loving beating (not to mention a few dieting tips).