The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint – Dad juggles children, school, relationships and sanity

By Gerrit Goodwin/ campus news editor

He was jarred awake around four or five in the morning by the cries of his 1-year-old son. He lay there for several minutes dumbfounded by his own exhaustion. He had slept maybe four hours each night this week, and it was taking its toll.

Realizing it was only a matter of time before his son’s cries also woke his infant daughter, he disdainfully arose and went to the children’s room.

His son stood upright in his crib, arms stretched out demanding attention. The father picked him up, trying to console him, and was relieved that his daughter was still asleep.

He brought him back to the bedroom, changed his diaper, made a snack and turned on cartoons hoping his son would be distracted enough to allow him one more hour of rest.

After 30 minutes, the daughter awakened. The mother said something along the lines of “I have to close today,” so the father once again got up and got the child.

Both children were awake and restless, and the dad lay there. The infant daughter crawled over the sheets and mom and him, pausing to make noises or slap him in the face. He laughed at his tiredness and the stupidity of it all.

The mother said again, louder this time, “I HAVE TO CLOSE TODAY.”

He brought the kids to the living room, made breakfast, fed the kids and set out the toys. The babies played with each other and paid the father no attention as he sat at the kitchen table browsing his laptop.

He had assignments left over from yesterday and work today. By nine in the morning, he had finished his schoolwork and prepared for class and work afterward.

The mother was awake by then and watching the kids. He kissed his family and left. On the way to the college, he got a call, “Your electric bill is one week overdue. If you don’t pay the full amount soon, there will be a penalty…” He hung up the phone and thought to himself, “At least, she is closing tonight.”

School was more or less the same, and so was work. He felt just a couple steps ahead of some kind of spectacular failure, and he knew he was forgetting something.

He got home at five and traded places with mom who must work until midnight or later. The kids needed to be fed, changed and made ready for bed in the next few hours.

By nine, it’s all done, and the kids were asleep. He hadn’t eaten since this morning and began making dinner. The apartment was full of toys and other messes. The sink was full. There were bills to pay. And there was schoolwork to be done.

He managed to finish everything but the schoolwork by the time the mother got home.

They talked about their day, ate dinner and traded romanticized stories of the children.

“The kids need diapers, and your daughter needs shoes,” she said. “I made $53 today, so I can help with half.”

They crawled into bed, and she fell quickly asleep.

He stared at the ceiling and felt like it was slowly coming down on him. He needs to make money. He needs to finish school. Baby needs shoes. His anniversary is coming up. The car needs an oil change and tires. The traffic citation in Fort Worth hasn’t been paid yet. …

I drifted asleep and dreamed of nothing.

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