Multiple roles are sometimes difficult to juggle, but it is something that most moms today are very familiar with.  Mom, wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister, co-worker, employee, boss, student, friend, so much to do, so many people to please, and so little time! 


There are days when I don’t know up from down, but my favorite role is that of “mom,” and one that I would not trade for the world.  My son keeps me grounded, despite most of my days being complete chaos. Besides being mom to Hunter, I am a graduate student in the middle of my final semester.  I spend about 10 hours per week in class, and 6 to 10 hour per week working in a local school district completing my practica requirements.  While this is a lot of time, it does not even brush the surface of the endless hours spent reading textbooks about writing papers regarding program evaluation, ethics and law, school consultation, advanced statistics, earth-shattering stuff, right?

I have had more than one moment where I have just wanted to throw my hands in the air, and say “Enough!”  One of those times came last semester, when I was trying to finish up a 50 page case report at 3am.  I remember thinking, “Oh my God, what am I doing?!  WHY am I doing this?  Is this really WORTH it?”  When my friend saw me the next day and commented that I looked like a member of the Walking Dead cast, I had to admit my exhaustion… and my doubts.  While I knew that it would not be easy, grad school is HARD.  While undergrad had its difficult moments, I felt like I had breezed through it for the most part, how difficult could grad school be?  It is not just the course work that gets to you, that is manageable.  It is the sheer exhaustion of spending hours upon hours reading, studying, and trying to cram an insane amount of information into a brain that I am convinced has no more room for more information.  It is the sleep deprivation that will really send you over the edge (sometimes only a couple of hours of sleep a night), on top of my attempts to hold down 2 part-time jobs and actually be a decent mother to my son.

It does not make things any easier when, every night when I leave for class, my son says, “NO mom, you DON’T have school tonight!”  As hard as grad school has been on me, I think that it has been a lot harder on Hunter.  He is used to me always being here for him, at his beck and call for anything that he needs. That boy has me wrapped around his little finger, and he knows it!  But, even when he is mad at me and giving me dirty looks as I walk away...I still go. Why?  I finally convinced myself that while it is hard right now, it will be worth it.  I want my son to have the best life possible.  I want to be able to provide what Hunter will need to be a successful member of society, despite the fact that he has Autism.  I want to show my son what perseverance means, and I want to be an example for him, the same kind of example that he has been for me.
When things get tough, quitting is not an option.  When I think that I can’t stay up one more night until 3am finishing a paper or grading undergrad chat sessions, I tip toe through the house and stand in Hunter’s doorway.  I look at the boy who has grown from an almost completely non-verbal, struggling child to the successful, hard-working young man that he is today.  When things get hard, although he may complain, Hunter never gives up.  He has already faced struggles that I have never known, and could never truly understand without being in his shoes.  Yet, he has come out a shining star.  My sweet boy is my inspiration, and my hero.  At 3 am, I smile at him in the glow of the night light, and head back to my laptop… we are almost there.