Living the student-mom-working life

Rachel Wilson

Being a single mom, part-time student and part-time employee at Chipotle are three things that don’t go together smoothly. I lose sleep, spend 90 percent of my time running around like a chicken with its head cut off, doing my makeup with one hand and changing a diaper with the other (not really…well, only sometimes).

It starts off like this.

7 a.m. Alarm one. What’s today? Monday for work, or Tuesday for classes? Okay, it’s Monday. What do I need to do? Did I even plug my phone in last night? Nope. Whatever, it’s only the first alarm. I’m going back to sleep.

7:28 a.m. Brooklyn, my sweet, 14-month-old daughter is crying. Why is she crying? I had two more minutes until my alarm — couldn’t she have waited? 

7:30 a.m. Diaper is changed and baby and I are laying in my bed, but she’s squirmy and ready to start the day — I wish I was.

8 a.m. I’m up, dressed and getting Brooklyn dressed. I need to leave in 15 minutes, but she’s clingy today and won’t let me put her down without crying her eyes out. I’ve done my makeup with one hand. I guess this is parenting.

By 9 a.m. I’m clocked in to work, already missing my daughter and not ready to go to class at 2 p.m. I have to go home, change and grab my backpack before class, too. And I can’t even remember which class I’m probably going to be late to.

2:02 p.m. I’m late. I hate being late — it’s rude. I walk in and all eyes are on me. They have no idea about the stress I’ve endured from work or that I’m already chastising myself for being late. My professor says hello and tells me to take my seat. 

2:50 p.m. We’re out. I have to walk across pretty much the entire campus to Fain Fine Arts, where another 20 sets of eyes look at me as I walk in late. My anxiety strikes all over again and I look to the floor as I take my seat. My professor, excited to see me, calls me over and asks me to help another student with her project. 

4:50 p.m. Class is out and daycare closes at 5:30 p.m., so I need to go get Brooklyn. I walk all the way back across campus, set down my backpack in my apartment and get to my Jeep.

5:05 p.m. I’m hitting every single red light in town. I’m going to be so late to get my daughter. 

I get to daycare at 5:20 p.m. with all the other “late parents.” I’m almost always one of the last people to get my kid; I really hate when she’s the last baby there. I feel like a bad mom — but there she is with a big grin on her face, walking toward me with her tiny teeth showing. I don’t think any parent has ever been more proud.

5:45 p.m. Finally home. Damn it, now I need to make dinner. Brooklyn is stumbling around the house like a drunk person because, let’s face it, no kid learns to walk without losing their balance a few times. I’ll make spaghetti, that’s simple enough. 

6:30 p.m. Spaghetti everywhere. In Brooklyn’s lap, in her hair, in the carpet, on her chair. This child needs a bath. 

6:50 p.m. Bath time. She’s screaming and doesn’t want to get in. But why? She loves baths. She throws all of her toys into the tub, then decides she can be in there too. I scrub her down between being splashed and toys being clapped together in my face. And now I’m soaked too. 

7:20 p.m. Brooklyn is out, dry and has fresh pajamas on. I’ll try to do some homework while she plays before bed. I put her down and she screams bloody murder — here we go again. She wants to be held, but only while I’m standing. We walk around the house until I get her to play with her toys in my lap. She’s getting cranky and sleepy.

8:15 p.m. Angry baby has arrived. Nothing pleases her. She was mad that she didn’t have her blanket, then she was mad that she couldn’t play with her other toys while she was holding her blanket. I think it’s officially bed time. 

8:20 p.m. As I’m walking into her room with her, she puts her head on my shoulder and snuggles in close. I give her a kiss on the forehead and an “I love you” before I put her into her crib. She looks at me and rolls over with her blanket as I walk out of the room. 

Next thing I know, I’m waking up at 12:13 a.m. on the couch with the TV still on and my phone in my hand. I fall asleep on the couch far more often than I’d like to admit. I drag myself to my bed and sleep until 7 a.m. when alarm one goes off again.

This isn’t a typical college student’s daily life, but it’s my life. When I see Brooklyn’s pure smile and hear her attempt to say “momma,” I know I would walk through fire just to be with her. I don’t regret anything, even if I’m running on fumes all the time. Brooklyn makes every dirty diaper, every temper tantrum, every late night worth it.

Rachel Wilson is an art senior.