Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Community College Still Counts

Since becoming a student again my life has changed substantially. 

If you are a stay at home mom and you feel overwhelmed, depressed and similar to an underappreciated slave-- I advice taking ONE college course. If you can't afford it, fill out the FASFA information this coming tax season and see what you can do. I'm serious-- It's life saving.

I started school this August. I had my second child last september. That's right, I went back to school with two kids under 4. I enrolled in three classes. To my terror, that first week was a nightmare. The juggle of chores, kids and husband just wasn't working for me. 

I just had to take a step back and set my priorities right. 


I'm down to 2 classes and I'm really okay with that. One of my classes was a Saturday morning class and it was cancelled due to "and underwhelming amount of sign ups." Of course. 

My English class is all consuming. It's online so I basically am at school all day every day. My other class is Math. Math is so "quick" compared to my English class. With Math, I go to class twice a week and just try to do my due homework before the next class. Each assignment with Math takes me about 20 to 30 minutes and we have two assignments per class. Easy Breezy! I hate math and I can balance that. 

English? English is responding to people on the internet platform and trying to relate to their bare-bones or omghowdoyoueventieyourshoeseveryday type posts. Then, if YOU post a poorly done assignment you have the humiliation of it being available for all to read in the class and make fun of you the way you're making fun of them. (My last essay. Oh. My. Lanta. it was bad.) I spend DAYS on my English assignments. I lock myself in my room for hours while Hubby deals with the kids or go to my moms and try to stay focused and do it while the kids play with Nana. English is like a Spartan Race that just won't end. I love English. I've always enjoyed writing. This is not fun for me. My life is so Topsy-tervy right now. 

Now that I've rambled, I'd like to add a list of things I've noticed about what these few college courses has done for/to me so if you are on the fence maybe these changes will appeal to you as well:

  •  My step count has gone up.
    I'm not even kidding. Walking that (what feels like) quarter mile to class and up those two flight of stairs twice a week has added to my steps quite noticeably. I'm also noticing that on days that I do not have class, my steps are still up. I'm pacing between the computer and the kids to get my homework done instead of sitting on my butt watching TV. I'm going to my moms house and taking breaks by going to find where ever they are (usually outside) and that means I'm moving more!
  • The TV gets turned OFF! / Music gets turned ON!
    This may be one of the biggest one. Right now Spotify is playing in the background while I do my homework *ahem* write this blog. Music has helped me on a mental level. TV is busy and needy. Music is freeing and expands the mind. Since becoming a mother I have stopped listening to music (compared to before) and it is the biggest martyr of motherhood for me. You read all those studies about just 30mins of music EVERY DAY for your child tends to encourage that child to be a better human being into adulthood. Turning off the TV sparks creativity and independent play. I'm seeing that now in my toddler. She's three and before we only listened to music when I had a mound (read: mountain) of dishes to wash. She'd run in there if I was washing dishes for longer than two minutes and insist I put on music so she could dance. Now, it's a normal thing for me to turn the TV off and turn Spotify on and tell her to, "Play with Brother. Mommy has homework to do." She shrugs, sometimes she throws a fit and ends up with an iPad or my phone but for the most part she's adapted to this and even throws the device down to play with toys instead after a few songs in.
  • I'm more inspired to disconnect from my iPad/Phone/Computer and be present in my kid's play.
    When I wanted to sign up for courses I was endlessly bored. I was tired of watching the same Doc McStuffin's episode for the 12th time. I was bored with being trapt while I breastfed for the 5th time that day. I was bored with my games on my devices. I was just bored. The boredom was never ending. I was getting angry while I washed dishes, I'd cry while I folded clothes. I was struggling with the depression that was beating through the door to get into my happy boring life. I was irritable and felt underappreciated and used by Hubby. Overwhelmingly, I felt I had no worth. I'd try to get some satisfaction from leveling up in Soda Crush (Candy Crush's bastard brother) and read endless articles about the job I wish I had, knowing I'd have to go to school for it. I was submerging myself in mindless selfish things hoping to accomplish a breakthrough with myself. No matter how many levels gained, I was still endlessly bored. Now, I put my iPad down and get in the floor and let the boy crawl all over me while the girl brushes my hair, pretends to fix my booboo or she shows me how to play her game on a device.
  •  Hubby and I have passion again.
    This is coupled with the fact that the boy is coming up on his first birthday, he is sleeping better by himself and isn't so demanding of the boob anymore. I have more confidence because even if I'm not completely proud of every assignment I turn in-- I'm turning in assignments, and I'm proud of that feat alone. I have a baseline for my own selfish happiness. I am doing something other than chores and babysitting my own children. I'm able to say, "I can't do that right now, this has to happen for me first." and it's liberating and the fact that Hubby supports my efforts and knows that the end goal helps us as a family is mighty fucking attractive. 
Now don't get me wrong. There hare some bad things that have happened to that I just haven't been able to sort out yet. For one, my work out schedule has pretty much gone down to nil. I plank occasionally and if the girl is doing yoga poses mindlessly while she she plays I try to get down and mimic her.  (She thinks it's hilarious.) I try to make my step goal every day just to say I did something. I don't cook dinner on nights I have class. The class starts at a time I'm usually starting to cook or halfway through. If I eat before class, I'm starving by the end of it. If I wait I'm eating at 9pm. I took a sandwich to yesterday's class but I still ended up eating a horrible hot pocket before bed which caused heartburn and weird dreams. Laundry, cooking and washing dishes halted for the first two weeks of class. I think I cooked two meals those first two weeks, washing only the minimal required dishes to accomplish those meals. Hubby has resorted to spaghetti-Os and hot pockets most nights. He doesn't complain, but sometimes he does seem sad when I say I have no plans to cook. (I tell him he can cook whenever he feels like it, and he's even washed dishes once because I said I wasn't going to cook unless the dishes were done and I had no intentions of doing dishes.)

For the most part, though, going back to school as an adult with two small children saved my life in more ways than one. I feel like I'm moving forward in my life. I get that feeling of accomplishment when I score a passing grade on an assignment or test. I get to speak to other adults and it's not about children or cartoons. The support for me going back to school has been amazing. Feeling that support is life saving just alone. Realizing how many people are proud of me (even in the form of a facebook likes and a passing positive comment) motivates me. Now, anytime the girl seems someone at a computer typing she runs up to them and says, "Are you doing homework? Mommy does homework." and I can't help but smile.

For the curious, I'm per-suing a degree that enables me to work in a Funeral Home or some kind of job in the industry. Right now my classes are pretty ambiguous for a general Science degree, though. When I get to the more specific courses I'll be sure to share that glory for those that are interested. 

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