Morning and Evening, or How I Go To College
By the time this picture was taken, I was already three hours into my day, and it was only 7:30AM. I get up really early so I can get in a couple of hours of deep focus time before the kids start to wake up. I do my most challenging reading in these early hours, or any intensive writing assignments, especially ones requiring research. I'm not a groggy-first-thing-in-the-morning kind of person, so I start reading while my coffee is brewing. I've developed the unfortunate habit of speed reading, though, so I don't remember as much long term. That makes me sad, because I really enjoy my classes. I enjoy the learning process and wish I had a bit more time to devote to it. Two hours and two cups of coffee later, I take my shower, but sometimes, the kids have started waking already and I have to skip a day. Usually, there is at least one child in my bed, so I probably didn't start with a full night's sleep. Actually, I never start with a full night's sleep. I don't sleep well anymore. Too many years of being on guard, I guess, and a vague sense of not-rightness since my divorce.
From 7:30AM till around 8 or 9 at night, it's all about the family. I might be able to squeeze in a bit of very low intensity work, but I have to expect to be interrupted about a hundred a fifty times. Everything I didn't get to in the morning has to wait till bedtime. I don't plan to do anything that requires very much mental activity in the evening. For obvious reasons, I'm pretty exhausted by this point. Light reading, quizzes, discussion boards, videos... these are all things I can do before bed. In the picture, I'm watching one of a dozen 5-10 minute films assigned each week. I have to write a paper with remarks about each one of them. The comments have to be meaningful, but it's fairly informal, so my stream-of-consciousness thoughts are fine. Low key. I try to finish up by ten. I like the eight week course format because I only have to keep up with two at a time, and even though they have twice the work each week, it's actually less work to not have to switch mental gears as often.
Weirdly, my ex tried to use my course work against me at our last visitation hearing. Am I not permitted to do anything except care for the children? That was the implication. I worry that he's going to try for custody, but I'm working on making decisions based on what is best for us and not on what I think will put us in a better position when I'm dragged into court again. I can't possibly guess that anyway, and I bet that those decisions I make in fear will hurt us more than sticking to what I want for us.