24 hours of non-traditional life; no easy task


Its 4 a.m. and the alarm clock is making that annoying sound again. I roll over and tap the snooze button hoping for a few more winks but I know that’s impossible. After laying there for a moment fantasizing about 10 more minutes of sleep I give up and shut the alarm off and wobble to the shower.

This is just another day for a non-traditional student with kids. Waking up very early is routine. There are showers to be had and breakfast to be made. Not to mention any early morning fits to be dealt with at times. Some parents prefer to prepare lunch for their kids as well.

Recently my daughter was having a pre-teen crisis and put my parenting skills on high alert. I had to miss a couple of classes and focus on my home life and personal issues. Everyone knows that missing just one class can set you back forever, but the daily needs of children can never be put on hold.

After missing class and getting things at home settled down I pulled myself together and started to focus again. I set out on my way to the library to do some research for an assignment. I’m sitting at Belt and Fredrick waiting on the light to change and my car dies. I cranked and yanked and even screamed at the motor for mercy but got no reply. I had no other option but to call a tow truck and have it towed to a garage. It cost me almost the exact amount of money I had left to my name. So now my car is broke and so am I.

My youngest boy has a doctor’s appointment the next morning and now I’m wondering how I’m going to pull that off. To complicate matters even further he comes home with a note from the school nurse telling me he has to see a dentist soon for a decaying tooth.

My daughter’s teacher calls the very next morning and informs me that she has been lippy towards her and is not turning in her homework. I give her the old father and daughter talk and see her to the bus stop.

Now I find myself scrambling around calling friends for a ride to school. I get lucky and my day is saved. I have a good day at school but I realized that I had missed some work piled on top of new assignments and just a dose of stress washed down with anxiety.

I get home from school that day shortly before my kids get off the bus. I’m always excited to see my kids and I waited patiently for them to come home. My youngest boy comes crashing through the door and slams it. He’s shaking and crying. One of the kids on the bus picked a fight with him and as he was explaining to me what had happened my daughter comes in with a black eye ranting and raving about how she stood up for her brother and got punched.

Now I’m on the phone with the school and the bus company trying to get to the heart of the matter.

It is very hard trying to be a good parent and keep up with college life. My duties are overextended. I’m tired, frustrated, and stressed. I’m a non-traditional student here at Missouri Western State University trying to better the future for myself and my children no matter what the cost.

After a long day and the kids are in bed I quietly open the bedroom door and see them soundly sleeping. I cherish the moments when they tell me they love me. I have wonderful times of laughter when they say, or do, silly things.

I work harder and play less, but having my kids and putting in the extra effort is worth more than anything else to me.

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