When I decided to go back for a second bachelor’s degree (in preparation for graduate school), I knew it would require creativity. Since childcare is expensive, I’ve had to carefully craft a schedule that minimizes the childcare costs and maximizes the time our children spend with one or more parent. To explain how this works, here’s an example Tuesday at my house.
6:00 am: The alarm goes off, I hop out of bed and either do homework or exercise before taking a shower.
7:30 am: After getting the kids and myself ready for a busy day, I rush my husband (and kids) out to the car to take him to work.
8:50 am: I say goodbye to the kids and my babysitter and head off to class.
11:00 am : I return home from class, get a rundown from the babysitter, and start in on preschool/lunch/clean up routine.
4:00 pm: For the last 5 hours I have completed a few homework assignments, taught a rushed preschool lesson to my 4 year old, switched one or two laundry loads, cleaned the kitchen, and sundry other tasks. I gather the kids in the normal messy and hurried way, trying to get them out to door to pick up my husband for our traditional Tuesday night switch. I look at the kitchen, annoyed that it’s messy again, gather the miscellaneous items I need, and finally load the children and my school stuff into the van.
7:30 pm: My husband picks me up from work with freshly bathed, clothed, and fed children in the back. He fills me in on what they’ve eaten and what needs to get done. On arriving home, I take over the rest of the bedtime routine (snack, medicine, teeth brushing, etc) while my husband cooks up a delicious dinner for us to share.
9:00 pm: The kids are, hopefully, settled in bed as my husband and I sit down to finally eat dinner. The rest of the night will be devoted to homework, chores, and other necessary household tasks to prepare for the next busy day.
While I’ve become adept at handling certain tasks with one hand and half my attention, (the other hand and attention held dearly by one or more of my sweethearts), I don’t necessarily do them well. This is where my husband comes in. I know I’ve written before how my husband and I work in tandem to keep our house clean, but I want to emphasize how, without him, going back to school would be even more difficult than it is currently. He and I can alternate childcare enough to keep baby-sitting expenses bearable and we can alternate who does what, with regards to parenting, to make sure our kids get the best us. Somehow, someway, it all works, every semester. Plus, all the driving provides ample conversation time. It’s all about the juggling, isn’t it?