Lousy mom vs dedicated student

  1. I need to blow off a little steam and get some ideas about how to balance school and kids.

    Facts -
    I am in my 1st semester of school. I have two 15 year-olds (boy & girl). I also have a 23 year-old step daughter who is staying with us until she begins law school. My husband travels most of the week.

    Step daughter has been helping out some with meals, which is a godsend.

    Daughter is a varsity soccer player plus a member of a travel team. I've tried to make every attempt to get to her games so far, even if I sit there with a book.

    Son is pretty clueless that I'm even in school.

    Problem -
    I'm so stressed out by the amount of work I have to do. My school starts you in clinicals right away and there is a ton of pre- and post-work on top of reading, homework, papers, etc.

    My house is a disaster and I feel like I don't have a minute to myself. I'm up until 1 every night and back up before 6.

    My dear daughter just had a melt down when I refused to go out to dinner because I have to study. She said all I ever do is study. Everything is school, school, school. And then she listed everything I don't do anymore. I'm afraid I didn't handle it very well.

    Everyone around me doesn't seem to realize how difficult this is for a 43 year-old. I passed my dosage calculation test last week and burst into tears! Even when I try to explain, I get a "you can do it" talk and then its right back to expecting everything the way it used to be with Mom available at a drop of a hat.

    Please tell me I'm not alone and it will get better. I hate to think that the next 2 years will be a constant repeat of tonight.
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   dramaluvr
    YOU'RE NOT ALONE! I am 26 and although my two kids are younger, ages 6 and 1, I am having the same problem balancing school, work and kids. My husband is in medical school so he is never home and then I am balancing my six year old who is in kindergarten and my one year old at daycare. I feel guilty leaving, plus I work full time. I never have time to myself and my husband isn't home at all to help. I don't even care about my house anymore, my dishes stacked and laundry everywhere. I am exhausted and feel alone, but I am glad to hear I'm not.

    Angie
  4. by   Katnip
    I was in the same boat as you. I guess my kids just accepted that things were going to be different around here.

    Make a list of your priorities, pick the top 3-5 and don't worry about the rest. Make one of those priorities time for yourself even if it's 15 minutes of quit time with no kids, no books. Fifteen is plenty old enough to know how to do your own laundry, help make meals, and vacuum. Responsibility never hurt anyone. Have a real heart-to-heart with the entire family and tell them what needs to be done and who needs to do it.

    As for dust bunnies under the bed, and pizza for dinner, that will become routine. Face it, your house is not going to be spotless while you're in school unless the kids pitch in. Even then, it's best to just give up the idea of perfection. It isn't going to happen.

    Good luck. You can survive this.
  5. by   Tutti
    First of all, you are not a lousy Mom. You are a great Mom! What's funny, is that I am not even in school yet, and my life sounds like yours. Just think, when I do go back to school, what will my kids say then? I'm constantly being told of the things we "used" to do. My house is a disaster too, in fact as I write this, I probably should be folding the mountains of clean clothes that are covering my couch, hehehe.... I honestly wish I could give you some concrete advice, but I haven't figured it out yet. I have a list of things that I want to do to change things, but I'm too busy to look at it. A couple of things that have helped me are: 1. I hired my younger sister to clean my house once a week, just things like fold clothes (that are piled on couch). 2. A certain day to eat out, or even to have fast food seems to make the kids happy. 3. I gave the teenagers, 15 and 16 one room only to clean each day. I found if It's just one room, they might actually do it.
    It will pay off in the end!
  6. by   smk1
    first things first whay is your house a disaster with 2 15 yr olds and a 23 yr old and a husband living there with you? Time to have a talk with the kiddies about picking up after themselves. Also explain why it is important for you them and everyone as a family unit that you are in school, ( go into the financial and emotional and personal reasons that you made this decision.) Finally try to find 1 evening per week even it is just 2-3 hours where you put away your books and just have "family" night. Just remember that no one is perfect so just do your best and make sure that the kids lose some of the "it's all about me" attitude that some teens possess. They need to pitch in to make the family work too. good luck and remember you'll be done in a few years (or sooner).
  7. by   qc rn
    When I went back to school my youngest daughter was 10. At the time she actually told me I ruined her life by going back to school. I have been a RN for 9 years and my daughter who told me I was ruining her life is in college and doing fine. Also she her sister and brother are very proud of me and what I have accomplished. My house was a mess still is at times but the rewards far outweigh the hardship. Hang in....They will be proud you wait....
  8. by   hock1
    Don't give up. I felt the same way during 101! My family had to make hugh sacrifices while I was in school. I ended up pulling my children out of karate which my sons placed 2nd and 3rd at state championships and pulled my daughter out of ballet amoungst her teachers protests. My husband had been promoted, and I immediately quit my job of only a few months. I just couldn't do it. Everybody was so used to me doing the chores and keeping things organized that when I couldn't keep up, the family kinda went a little loopy. Eventually we adjusted, I graduated, and received my RN. Right now you probably feel like you're burning at both ends and that maybe you'll be burned to death. However, pretty soon everyone will adjust and it will end. I'm sending you a pat on the back and a giant hug.
  9. by   Altra
    Ncindasun, I soooo hear ya...

    I'm married w/a 10-year old, 3 pets, and I'm primarily responsible for my elderly grandparents who live nearby. My husband works in excess of 60 hours a week. Before my week of spring break this past week I very nearly had a meltdown.

    You've gotten some great ideas in these posts ... time to sit down as a family and divide and conquer the tasks that are absolutely necessary. And yes, I know, that can be a long list.

    After a year of being back in school, here's what I've learned ... I've had to stop pretending that I can go back to school without it affecting anyone else in the family. Like it or not, we're all in this together. Having responsibilities does not make me a lousy mom. Like you, I started this semester of clinicals waiting until after 7:00pm to go to the hospital to get my assignment for the next day (because that's when my husband gets home on Monday nights), then trying to come home and still do the SuperMom-getting-the-kid-to-bed routine while preparing - I was up until 1 - 1:30am, and then getting up at 0500 for clinicals. I've now made arrangements for my daughter to stay with a neighbor for 2 hours on Mondays, and I now have a decent chance of getting more than 4 hours of sleep before clinicals. This is a major accomplishment!

    You have to pick your battles - my house tends to be a wreck too. But a change in perspective can make all the difference in the world.

    Best of luck to you! Hang in there and it can get better - feel free to vent when you need to!

    Edited to add: I started to wise up when my dad said to me, in one of his greatest Dad-isms ... "Dear, you're burning the candle at 3 ends ... and it's only got 2 ends!" :chuckle
  10. by   NCINDASUN
    Thanks everyone. I knew you'd understand.

    I have half a mind (that's all that's left) to print out your responses and make the family read them.

    I get a break in a week and I have plans to spend that time getting reorganized as well as spending a little quality time with myself.


    You're right - the kids should be helping out more and I shouldn't expect the house to sparkle. It's a question of priorities, but for those of us compelled to be "perfect", its a hard lesson to learn.

    Thanks for being there for me and your encouragement. It helps to know I'm not alone. :kiss
  11. by   orrnlori
    Do print this out and give it to them. Fifteen year olds plus a 23 year old can help around the house, divide it up, and conquer it. We 40 something moms have been lead to believe that our lives should revolve around our kids, well, guess what, you have a life and dreams and desires too!!!!!

    Whenever my then-teenage son got cranky as I was going through this I reminded him that I was a person a long time before I was a wife and his mom, and I had goals too. Kids think of us as mom, not a thinking feeling person. Yeah, I felt guilty sometimes too, but first things first. They will all survivie it and so will you. Best Wishes!!!!!
  12. by   FutureNurse2005
    Let me just say that you are lucky to have 3 people who can help you! My kids will be turning 4 and 5 when I start and obviously they wont be able to do too much.
    I plan on making my university experience a lesson for them as well. They (hopefully) will learn that university is not fun and games. it is very serious and important and that schoolwork has to be a priority.
    We've decided to have a family night each week and I will be (trying) to take a couple hours to myself as well. I've also come to the realization that our house will not be perfect. We'll probably end up using paper plates sometimes, having KD a couple times a week and living with dustbunnies. But my graduating is way more important than keeping a Martha Stewart perfect house.

    Good luck!
  13. by   Achoo!
    I feel guilty because I can't put my 6 year old in tee ball this year. The practices are on the night I have A&P. I have tried my best to work around my husbands schedule so we don't have to pay sitters much, and so they can be home as much as possible. By the time I go full-time, my youngest will be in kindergarten. I can be in school while they are in school. I have had to wait but it will all be worth it in the end. By the time this is done, the whole family will have made many sacrifices, but it will be rewarding.
    I get the guilt trips too, but just remember this will benefit everyone in the end
  14. by   VaKidPN
    Your doing just fine..... Its a hard balance and one you wont think you won until you look back later on it. Its hard. It sucks. BUt its worth it....you hang in there.

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