I returned to school just over a month ago after dropping out for about five years. If all goes as planned, I'll be graduating from Columbia with my bachelor's in journalism at the end of spring '08. It's been hard, so hard, for so many reasons. My mother-in-law recently moved to Chicago (into the coach house in my back yard, actually) and she, thankfully, watched my 18-month-old son Teno for me on the three days I have class. She's also been wonderful about taking him for odd hours here and there when I need to run out and conduct interviews or when I have some homework to type up. That being said, I still have no time to do my homework or conduct interviews. My classmates are mostly in their very early 20s and very few of them work. The ones who are working are working to pay cheap rent in Chicago's few remaining cheap neighborhoods and to support their week end bar trips. My husband and I are working to support ourselves and Teno, to pay off my massive student loan, to pay my mother-in-law to watch Teno and to pay for insurance and all the other fun things you get to do when you're a mommy or a daddy.
Every night at 7 I look at my phone and realize Teno's laying down to sleep for the night and it breaks my heart. I know that even if I don't have class the next day, or if I have a few hours to spend with him before class, my mind will be on homework and interviews and graduation and how the hell I'm going to pull it all off.
I know lots and lots of mommies have done it before me and lots will do it after. I never really understood why my mom took such long baths until I started hiding in there myself.
But I will say, teenaged classmates and piles of homework aside, I do enjoy peeing alone at school. No one's in there throwing things between my legs into the toilet, no one's trying to help me wipe, no one's stealing and eating the toothpaste. It's just me in that peaceful little stall, enjoying a nice relaxing pee.