The Dawkter's Wife - It's all champagne and caviar now … dahling

The Loony Bin

April 1, 2012

April 1

I’ve had my application materials in for the MA program in Counseling Psychology for over 2 months now. One of my references turned it in within 2 weeks. Unfortunately, I’m left waiting on two other professors to get their behinds in gear. These are both people who know me well, who were excited about my new plans and seemed genuinely happy to write my reference for me. One of them (the dean of the college) had already written a reference for me several years ago. When I met with him to discuss the new direction in my life, I also brought him a copy of that letter of recommendation. The other professor is someone that I’m currently working with to help her to design an applied human biology course for social science majors. We meet every other weekend to work on it and she keeps promising me ….

It’s very difficult for me to be patient about this because the materials have to be turned in. The problem that I’m struggling with is that I don’t have many options when it comes to getting a letter of recommendation. I have been out of the working world again for over six years. Wow, I can hardly believe that! I am volunteering at the Montessori where Zoe goes to Kindergarten two days a week to do the lunchroom activities. The way things have been lately, I’ve been asked to work several other shifts and I’ve done it. It’s only 3-10 hours/week, but they are compensating me by taking $10/hour off on Zoe’s tuition. As a sidenote, I absolutely love working with preschool-aged kids. I’m so surprised by this. I look forward to going in every week. They are letting me teach the children German after they eat, and it also gives me the chance to talk to adults (which I desperately need!). I’m considering asking the school director for a letter of recommendation in case the professors never get theirs in. Actually, now that I write this out, it seems like a no-brainer!

When I talk about going back to school or working, my mom usually says “when will you have time for this? How are you planning on adding one more thing?”.

Honestly, How can I not at this point.

Here are a few truths that I just have to get out:

1. I’m really lonely. I spend my entire day driving kids around. I recently calculated that with all of the kids different schools and activities that on the worst days I was driving over 5 HOURS around town. That’s a lot of driving. My regular days are a 2.5 hour minimum. That’s just how things are. For the most part, once everyone is actually at school (Zoe does afternoon Kindergarten) I only have a couple of broken up hours to face tasks like laundry and cleaning the house. These are things that I actively avoid, btw.

2. I am a dedicated mom. I have given up a lot of who I am and have put my career (of which there is pretty much nothing to speak of) on hold to raise my children. This really has been necessary because of Andrew’s needs. Though his official diagnosis was just given a couple of weeks ago, I have known for many years. There was never a way that I could have been gone from home to work because of the fact that he really needed me to be there. He still does, but he is much more independent. I have worked very hard on his behalf. Then there is Amanda … there is no way that I could have homeschooled her for 1.5 years if I was working. She requires an exhaustive amount of time and energy. I’m in the “get tough” phase with her.

She started at the catholic high school in January and since then has been increasingly angry and rebellious because she just wants to hang out with her friends at the public school here. She is not motivated at all when it comes to academics, and if I wasn’t constantly forcing the issue of missing assignments, she would just fail. I really think she would. When I back off, they pile up.

The other issue that I have is that her friends here in town are just … irresponsible, immature, and impulsive. Amanda is too. She has poor judgment right now and I just cringe at the FB posts that these girls make when they are together. I don’t know how to forbid friendships and I recognize that Amanda struggles to make friends who have their heads on straight because she is so invested in being edgy right now.

This means for me that I’ve really had to get tough. Two weeks ago, she and I had an agreement. She was allowed to go out with her local friends here in the evenings on the weekend and would work on her homework/missing assignments during the day. Her other task was cleaning her room. I stepped back and allowed her to be in charge of her weekend. She didn’t clean her room (and I actually did try and force that issue on Sunday) and she didn’t do any of her missing assignments. She started her homework at 8:30 pm and quickly discovered that she didn’t understand things and needed a lot more time. She tried to get both Andrew and I to do part of her homework for her. At 10pm she told me I needed to download a program on my computer for her photography class. When I refused, she had a tantrum which bled into Monday. Monday, she refused to go to school until she could finish her photography assignment. The only way that I could get her to go to school was to lie for her that she had had a dentist appointment.

I picked her up Monday afternoon and told her that I was not comfortable lying for her and sending her late. She had had all weekend to do homework. I grounded her for the entire week and weekend. This turned into a super drama. Tuesday morning, she got up but then decided that she just wasn’t going to school. So … drumroll … I called the police. She didn’t know I had done this and was playing on the computer when the officer knocked on the door. She opened the door and he pretty much told her that not going to school is truancy, which is against the law, and she had better get her butt in gear. I feel like it shocked some sense into her, but it was truly one of the most difficult things that I’ve done as a parent.

We had no issues until Friday, where the weekend of grounding stretched out in front of her. She had a major tantrum after school and was downright unbearable. That Sunday, she took $15 from my wallet without asking and went with her dad to Target to get supplies for a project for class. She promptly disappeared, went to the mall, and spent my money on a shirt from Wet Seal. :o Are you falling over in shock? I am too. How the heck did we get HERE and where is this going? When she got home, she quickly hid a little blue bag and then went to unpack school supplies in the kitchen. I had her empty her pockets and then went and grabbed the bag. She finally admitted to stealing my money. So …. I drove her to the police department and had them talk with her about theft.

I know it sounds harsh and extreme, but I feel like I really need to take a hard line.

Has this made a difference? I don’t know. She isn’t going to school late anymore, and she does seem to be working on assignments. She’s just not where she needs to be socially/emotionally and I have to keep working with her.

Now you are nodding in unison with my mom. “How on earth can you add something to your life?”

How can I not? This is truly the point in my life where I have to step back and focus on my own happiness and dreams too. I need a professional outlet now more than I probably ever have. I am ready to follow my passions and I believe that this will make me a more balanced person.

The program that I’ve applied to is for working professionals. All of the courses are also available in the evenings to meet the needs of adults. I can be available during the day for the kids and will also have uninterrupted study time. Then on select evenings I’ll be able to go to classes. I really, really need this!

I can’t believe it’s April already. March here was one of the warmest on record. Our pond is usually frozen through mid-end April. This year, the ice was gone in early March. We have had days in the upper 60′s and 70′s instead of the 30′s and 40′s. We only had 1 snow storm all winter. As a comparison, last year, we broke a record for most consecutive days of snow cover. Our trees have buds and leaves, the grass is turning green, and the perennials are peeking through the mulch in my garden. I’m looking forward to the next two months as the school year ends and we slide into summer.

I’ll be planning our Great Adventure soon too. There’s so much to look forward to. Hopefully, the teens won’t crush me like a bug in the meantime! :)

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