The Single Mom and The Second Job


If there is ever a time that I will go insane, it’s this point in my life. I may, actually, completely lose my mind within the next three months. Possibly before October, but at least by Christmas. That crazy lady running down the street, screaming like a Banshee out of Hell? Yeah. That is how I feel right now, except that my facade seems calm.

Bonus points for that, right?

What I currently am surviving on is a surplus of exhaustion, and a shortage of time. But, somehow, I’m managing.

Again, bonus points?

I’m managing life. Completely scheduled, mapped, and time-focused–that is my life this month. Which is weird, because keeping a hawk eye on a clock is not my normal routine. I’m not used to monitoring my life into segments of seconds, minutes, and hours. Therefore, I feel like I’m managing my time, but mostly in a “if one thing goes wrong in my jam-packed, chaotic schedule, shit will start flying” kind of way.

I think that’s a step beyond vomit at 2 AM as a single mom, and far beyond the reaches of temper tantrum in the middle of the Target parking lot at 5 PM kind of day.

So, normal?

Except, this doesn’t feel normal to me.

But, as long as everything goes according to plan, I am almost, sort of, maybe, half-way-ish making life happen, and meeting every item on my lengthy “To Do” list–minus the housework, of course. I mean, come on. Who has time for housework when there’s other crap to do?

The first part of my day is easy, but still taking adjustment. It’s the “mom gets her child off to school” time of day. The alarm goes off at 6 AM, and I pop out of bed like a happy, smiling, enthusiastic witch of a woman who really just needs her coffee, and maybe a Xanax, … or ten. I start off with me, because out of the two, grumpy, morning-haters in my household, I can at least pretend to be the adult.

So, I wake up, throw on clothes, slap on makeup, let the pups outside, and start my beloved, cherished coffeepot. As this brews, I groan, drag my feet, sigh like I’m facing The Green Mile, and force myself to wake the beast–also known as Tiny Tot. Inside his room, I flip on the lights, fake a smile, pull off his sheets, and start singing, “Get up, get up, get up, get out of bed! Wake up, wake up, wake up, you lazy head!”

Don’t you wish I was your mom?

He, in turn, shouts something unintelligible, pulls the covers over his head, and demands that I leave him alone.

Wait, he’s still not yet six.

The teenage years should be fun.

I laugh at his antics because it’s not funny, pull the covers down again, and tickle him mercilessly until he starts laughing, too. And then I shove clothes on him, pop him on the bum, and tell him to go to the kitchen for breakfast.

Again, don’t you wish I was your mother?


Oh, my. I’m awesome.

He eats; I gulp coffee. Then we head out the door, where I stand around and watch squirming children sit in long lines, because Tiny needs to wave to me exactly four times as he walks into the building.

After my fourth wave, as his body disappears down the hall, I morph into my second part of the day. It’s my “I’m somehow adult enough to be teaching English at the community college” time. This occurs twice a week, but it’s my part-time vocation, and I’m still adjusting.

I walk into the building, greet a group of amazing college kids, and pretend like I know what I’m talking about for the next 90 minutes.

Wait, what?

Oh, right. I do know what I’m talking about. I always forget that part. I’m a writer, who also taught language arts, and now teaches English. Now I remember.

In any case, I ramble on with bubbling excitement about subjects, predicates, topic sentences, tense agreement, verb conjugations, paragraph types, and the writing process in general (love!) until I realize I have, in fact, run out of time. The students help, of course, by closing their books and performing that slow, hesitant, “can I bolt out the door yet, Lady?” move.

I remember that move.

At that point, I shout out homework, shut everything down in the classroom, and then transform into my third personality. Because now, it’s the third part of my day. This time, however, it’s my “oh, crap, I need to get to my full-time job, and I hope traffic doesn’t suck” part of day. I plead for later cases on these days, because my part-time teaching job fills the massive gap (I hope) between paying my mortgage, and keeping my house.

So, there’s that.

I toss scrubs on, slip on sneakers, and bolt for the hospital. Once my case is complete, once I’ve torn everything down, once I’ve checked on the supplies, I then gauge if I have time for exercise. Sometimes I don’t; sometimes I don’t want to. … See what I did there? Mostly, I am remaining gym bound. My orthopedic surgeon thinks it’s necessary for me to continue trying squats. I think it’s necessary to curse his very existence while completing said squats. It works.

And so, if there’s time, I become the workout woman who loves lifting weights, and enjoys greeting people in the gym.

At exactly 4:15, I morph back into Mommy mode, and drive to pick up Tiny Tot. We jabber about our days, complete homework, eat dinner, do baths, get in jammies, read books, say prayers, and give night-night kisses. Once he’s tucked into bed, I make his lunch for the next day, clean up the kitchen from dinner, sit in the living room, and grade papers or lesson plan.

Or, like today, I finally sit down, to write. For myself. It’s a dying art in my newly chaotic world. Although it’s only been three weeks since I started my second job, and Tiny started Kindergarten, I’m already missing my former freedom with writing. The teaching aspect lends less time to writing, as does the magazine’s decision to stop paying for contributions. So now, I can focus on blogging, when there is time. … Or I can pretend to write, if there is time. Yes, pretend to write. That’s the basis of my second novel. All pretense, no reality.

One of these days, though, hopefully before the Epic Meltdown of 2015, I hope to feel balance in my world. I’ll have my ducks in a row, I’ll have my time managed properly, and I’ll understand this new, two-job life that I’m leading.

Seeing as Tiny’s birthday is in two weeks, my sister gets married in November, and I have parties to plan, I’m placing bets on the screaming Banshee from Hell by October.

Who wants to place bets? Wish me luck!

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