My Day: A Commuting, Working Scholar and Mom of One

I don't need an alarm clock. Since having a baby 18 months ago, the snooze button has become non-existent to me. Of course, my son gets a snooze button. It's called "using mom as a pacifier." At 5 a.m., tiny fingers claw at my shirt, and his sophisticated vocabulary of grunts and whines rapidly escalate to frustrated whimpering and sobs. I give in, just like I did yesterday and the day before, just like I said I would NOT do. I nurse him back to sleep. As soon as he drifts back off, I check my phone, and it's time for me to get up.

There was a time when I could be up and ready for work in 25 minutes. Now, I need at least an hour. By 6:30 a.m., I must have the car packed with my work and overnight bags, his diaper bag, his sippy and snacks, his toys and breakfast. We will be spending the night at my parent's house. I work over an hour away from my house in the city where my parents live. The original plan was to eventually sell our house and move closer to that area, but selling proves to be quite difficult these days. So I work four days and spend two nights a week in a town that I don't live in.

I put my son in his car seat still asleep. On good days, he sleeps then entire drive; on bad days, he wakes and is not happy. Today, he sleeps! I do not hate these long car rides. There is no other time of day that I have only to myself.

I drop off my son at my parent's house at 8 a.m. and head to work. I think about stopping for coffee on the way, but then I get a text that someone has called in sick, so I drive straight there. I run a preschool with a specialized inclusion program for children on the autism spectrum. We need as much staff working every day as we can, but in the world of child care, germs and illness are always rampant.

Upon arriving at work, I find that many children have already arrived for the day. I need to check my mailbox and prep my daily agenda, but the main room is pure chaos, and I see some parents with raised eyebrows while observing the madhouse. So I start circle time to get some control going. I also make a mental note to bring up the "no texting while at work" rule at our next staff meeting!

The morning goes by quickly and before I know it, it is lunch time. Of course, I forgot to pack a lunch. I don't leave to find some food until 1:30. On my way back, I stop and get some coffee and donuts for my staff to enjoy during nap time.

By 3:30, I am worn out. I pack up my things and head to my parents. When I arrive, my son is running around in a soggy diaper. His face is covered in, what I presume, is dried spaghetti sauce. I don't comment because my mother watches him for free, and you get what you pay for, I guess. When he sees me, my son crumples to the floor and reaches for me to pick him up, as is his usual greeting. Weird, I know.

My parents want to go on a date, so I agree to watch my two, little adopted sisters for them. The evening is a whirlwind of Cinderella, bribes and threats to get everyone fed, a typhoon bath-time, and finally, all three kids are asleep at 8 p.m. I settle in to write a paper for my accelerated five-week college course. A perfect choice of class for my oodles of free time, right? Ha.