Now that I have committed to a schedule for the next two years (terrifying, isn't it?) I am trying to look ahead to see what changes I will need to make in my life to let this be as easy as possible. I also have to look at my girls and how the schedule changes will affect them, as well. There are so many things to consider - sleep times, meal times, hours that I am available to be around for my kids, and hours I am able to devote to DH alone. What kind of schedule will be needed to make sure I can juggle all my hearts and keep them all going on course?
Culinary school is going to be so cool, I can hardly wait the two weeks until the first day of class. Actually, for me, it will be the first evening of class. I had to choose a 7:00pm-11:30pm class schedule. Ok, I didn't HAVE to, but it just made sense. Originally, I was going for the 3:00pm class time, but the afternoon courses were not available for my start date. I have already waited 6 weeks longer than I wanted to, and changed my major from Baking and Patisserie to Culinary Arts, just to be able to work this into my life. Also, waiting any longer would have meant I needed to fill out all the financial aid paperwork again, and that is just a real pain when you have already accepted the grants. I could have opted to take one of the morning classes, but they start at 7:00am, or 8:30am. Yeah, um... that's not going to work for me. I will have to drive more than an hour to get to class every day, and attempting to do that at 6:00, or even 7:00 in the morning is just waiting for disaster. I KNOW me. I have never been a morning person and lately, I haven't even been a mid-morning or noon person, either. Besides that, leaving that early would mean my girls would have to get themselves out the door to school every day and I just don't think they are quite capable of that yet. They will be able to someday, I'm sure, but they are still learning and they don't have the best teacher in the "Getting ready to go on time" department.
Recently, I tried to figure out where my days go to and why I never seem to get anything I want to do done. Mostly, it is because I try to fit my day into the normal 8-5 schedule but my brain and sleep pattern just doesn't work that way. One problem is, I have gotten used to staying up later and later with DH. It doesn't bother him to be up until midnight or later most nights. He doesn't work until 10:00am so on the mornings he doesn't have a commute, he can get plenty of sleep and still stay up that late. I find anytime I can spend with him is precious, even when we are just in the same room on separate computers, so I tend to take advantage of those late night moments. Besides, I absolutely hate going to bed alone, so I tend to wait up for him no matter what. Thankfully, DH doesn't have nearly as much trouble as I do waking up and being functional so most mornings getting the kids up and out the door is his main responsibility. When do I have to get up to help the girls get to school, I end up coming home and going back to bed for at least a little while.
Even when I am asleep at night and awake during the day, I have noticed that I am most active and alert during the afternoon to evening hours. I might be in a brain fog all day, and then 5:00 hits and WHAM! suddenly I am awake and alert. Maybe it is because I don't really have a reason to be interactive during the day since I am either alone at home, or alone with DH and he is taking calls (and therefore considered "Unavailable" to me.) Maybe it is because in order to get to sleep at night, I have to be really, really tired or I have to resort to chemical aids. (sleeping pills, you ninny! What did you THINK I meant?) and I sometimes wake up groggy, even after 8 hours of "sleep." Perhaps, the Fibromyalgia just drains all my energy and I have to work up the energy to do anything productive during the day.
In any case, I haven't been able to successfully get myself up and out the door for a regular 8-5 job for many years now. Even when I was able to work at a job, I found myself being most productive at the end of the day. I think it's time I just quit fighting it. If I am an afternoon/evening person, why not structure my daily schedule around that? ("That's brilliant!" I said to myself.) Why not use this tendency to my advantage? When I was offered the ability to go to school during my most productive hours, it just seemed to make sense. Upon further reflection, I realized that getting a Culinary Arts degree should lead to a job in a restaurant or other food service establishment. While you can find some place that is open almost any time of day, the really high-end, five-star establishments make their reputation by serving primarily in the evening. So, where is all the to be money made? Not breakfast or lunch, but DINNER! And, it happens to be my favorite meal anyway, since you have the excuse to follow it up with dessert, which would be my favorite meal if I could get away with it. But, I digress...
I think I accidentally stumbled on the best solution for me as a career! By searching for a way to make one dream come true, I have found a way to be as successful as I can be turning my "limitations" into "advantages." For the next two years, I will be fine tuning my ability to perform at my best between the hours of 7:00 and 11:30 at night. Once I graduate, I will be able to use this skill to secure a job that will pay me well and I will be able to succeed at. I know that this isn't the traditional schedule for a "Mom", but I am hardly a traditional person. My kids are already accustomed to my slow mornings and afternoon naps. It won't very difficult for them if I were to make this my "official" schedule (they probably won't know the difference anyway.) It also means I can stop beating myself up for being a lazy person and then trying extra hard to make up for it later in the day. I can make reasonable expectations of myself and then I can actually meet my goals instead of setting myself up for failure by creating an unrealistic schedule.
Recently, I have started looking forward to a new and exciting career. I used to imagine myself five or ten years from now and it just seemed kind of... sad. I had resigned myself to the fact that work would only ever be a way to make money so I could enjoy my life outside of work. I thought that I would always wind up working jobs that I was capable of, even if I wasn't particularly passionate about it. The majority of my waking hours would be spent passing time until I could be free and do what I REALLY wanted to do. That's kind of a sad way to live, don't you think? Shouldn't your main goal be to find something that you LOVE so that your work can be as exciting and full as every other part of your life? (what a concept?!?)
Yes, that SHOULD be my goal, an now I really think I could enjoy my work as much as I enjoy everything else. Now, I have dreams of working as the top chef or even pastry or dessert chef in a fancy restaurant or hotel (at least until I am able to get enough experience to feel comfortable running my own place.) I can just imagine, it's dinner time on a busy Friday night. I've been working in the kitchen preparing delectable dishes for customers who appreciate my fine culinary style. Then, I hear that my family is in the dining room. After I take a brief moment to greet them as I make the rounds in the dining room (as all good chefs should) I am able to serve them the same amazing food I have been making all night. My kids will see me at work and see my happiness and success, and I will feel proud of what I do. Who could really ask for more than that?
Deb "The Chef"