A typical day in my life begins with an alarm going off a couple of hours earlier than I’d like. But someone has to wake my son and I’m the only parent around. I reluctantly pull myself out of bed. I’d like to say seeing his sweet face wakes me right up but there isn’t enough coffee in Colombia to perk me up at 6am and a sleepy adolescent certainly won’t do the trick.
He’s become much more independent in the morning so he picks out his clothes as I try to convince myself not to climb back into that warm, inviting bed. The morning almost always transitions into a stressful situation as I’m rushing him out of the door when he suddenly remembers he has to use the restroom. It never occurs to me to just get up five minutes earlier but that sounds like death.
We make the drive to the school and if you’ve ever experienced an elementary school drop-off line you’ll know the chaos I’m in for next.
I head straight to the lab because surviving the concentrated impatience of the car drop-off line is all the motivation I need to power through the day. At work as a Ph.D student, I study, teach, grade, do research, and run every single errand my advisor can come up with. I have to drag myself away from my work everyday by 5:15 in order to pick my son up in time because once again, there’s no one else to help. More often than not I sit around wishing I had family here or an involved father for my kid. It’s easy to tell myself that’s a waste of time and energy but we can’t fight that superego.
Driving my son home from school, all I can think about is how much I’d love to just grab a pizza, flop on the couch, and not get up until I feel the need to transfer my lifeless body from one soft surface to another at bedtime. Sometimes I just wish I could go home and study or grade the stack of papers that have piled up on my crumb-covered desk. Mostly it’s the lifeless body on the couch wish, though.
I then spend the next hour multitasking in a way that puts Martha Stewart to shame (she seems like a multitasker but I don’t really know her that well). I help him with homework while I cook dinner (because, ugh, we can’t have pizza everyday). Of course, music is blasting the whole time because having a kid at 18 means you don’t really ever grow up–shout out to all the peter pan moms out there.
After dinner, I’m forced to clean. I encourage (urge, beg, bribe) the kiddo to shower and brush his teeth. Once he’s in bed, I pine after the days when I was able to sleep when I wanted or go out with friends–oh wait, I had a baby at 18 so I never had those days. But instead, it’s time to study and grade those papers that managed to not wind up in the shredder.
And then, that 6am alarm clock that’s determined to ruin my life sings it’s song of doom…