The Great Hall
Balancing Life/School/Work The Great Hall: Balancing Life/School/Work
By Cheftoni (Cheftoni) on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - 07:40 am: Edit

I am having a little meltdown. If I am very lucky, I will be getting a job that starts October 21. Right now, I attend school (I have posted on Baker's Dozen before) from 6AM-12PM everyday. Now, this job will likely start around 2 PM and I will work 5-6 days a week, of course, including weekends. My problem is this: I have a 12 year old girl, and a husband who does freelance work, which requires him to leave our apartment the same time I do (5:35 am) and he gets home anywhere from 7PM to 9PM. Not to mention that he is now going through some "mid-life crisis" EARLY. We live in a city that is not great...well, at least the part we live in. And we don't know anyone. And my daughter has to get herself up and take herself to school in a neighboring city. She has no one to watch her before or after school. (The one ride she had when she started school, act like they don't even know us now...but that's a longer story). We can't afford afterschool care anymore...because I wasn't working. (We still have a $300 bill from the previous year!) When I start work, what am I going to do about my daughter. I am at my wit's end. Today, I missed my bus to school by 2 minutes and I just dragged my ass back home, because the chef of my bakeshop/pastry class will just throw me out...he's an old bastard. Plus, I am just...wrung. I don't know what to do. I changed my classes from evening to day, because I felt it was a better learning experience. At night, you do what the day classes do, in half the time. We are never taught anything...we spent half the night running to the chef to ask questions we didn't know, to be looked at like we were stupid, or to have him do it for us.

In any case, I just need some tips, advice, experiences...from you guys who have worked in the field or who have has a similar that I can figure out if I should quit dreaming about this culinary career I'd like to have one day...because I can't talk to the 19 year old kids in my class and the 50 year old students who are doing it for fun. I think that I'm going to lose it.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - 11:54 am: Edit

Sounds like a hell of a dilemma!
Is there a school closer to your house?
If the Chefs are such idiots maybe you should not be going there? Are they good instructors? Why are the night instructors different? Or are they the same?
The reason I ask all this is that you might need to complain to the school administration about the instructors who teach at night!
The child care issue is one that you see more often than you care to now a days!!!
Sometimes the school systems let you take your child to a school that is close to the school you attend for the sake of travel convenience, check on that. Sometimes, the school you attend may have a child care program, your child might be able to get dropped off there by a scholl bus until you are done! This is all something you have to check out near your home.
Other then that all I can offer is my prayers, 12 is a very impressional age for boys or girls!!! If the teachers are idiots you might consider taking care of the child and put off the education for now, get a job somewhere and train as you work! I know that's easier said than done but ,it may be your best solution at the moment!!!

By Steve9389 (Steve9389) on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - 01:24 pm: Edit

Toni, how responsible is your daughter? We have a 12-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, and until I graduated last month we had a similar dilemma -- my wife and I both had class that took us away from the house twice a week before the kids got home and neither of us could get home before 7:30 or 8:00. We ultimately decided they were responsible enough to let themselves in the house, lock up, take care of their chores, make themselves TV dinners and know enough to get out of the house if it caught fire. It was another stressful brick in the wall that crashed in on us for a few months, but we got through it.

What you have to remember is, this is not going to be easy or ideal any way you slice it. The end result will make it worthwhile, but you all are going to have to be creative and more than a little serene in the face of lots of stress.

Good luck.
- Steve

By Cheftoni (Cheftoni) on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - 02:43 pm: Edit

I think that the evening instructors--some of them, not all--do the best they can. I think that most of them know how to instruct a class, etc., while others just rush through. I decided to change my classes to day because there is a lot of competition out there, and I needed the most comprehensive experience I could afford. I go to community college rather than the school of my choice...but that's fine. The school has a good reputation, and they are building out a new school and conference center. Although I won't be around when it is complete (2005), if they gain more of a following, it will look good on a future resume. Even in the space they have now, they book private groups for meetings there, so they do have a client base. (I have yet to participate in any of the booked gatherings, as a cook or server).

Because my daughter is at an impressionable age, I do want to be careful about how I handle this. I need a piece of mind. If I still lived in the city of my former residence, it would be different. My child care person happened to be my next door neighbor. And although she has some strange ideas about certain things (she is the only person I know who really believes in superstitious things), she cared about my daughter, and she could be relied upon. But we moved here for a number of reasons, and it is easier for my husband to get to work in New York. He's about 30-45 minutes away from the studio. When we lived further north in the county, it could be anywhere from 1 hour to 1 hr. 45 minutes. And he is the only breadwinner right now. Plus, the rents all over this county are ridiculous!! No joke on that. We can barely afford a 2 bedroom on *this* side of town.

Here, I don't know anyone, so it isn't like I could say, "hey, I'll watch you kid if you watch mine," or "I could pay you $ amount to check up on her until my husband comes home." I wouldn't trust most of my neighbors to watch my cats, let alone my kid. The after school program at her school is good, but we won't be able to afford it this year. She can be responsible at times, but she's also a child, and she is impressionable. It's difficult to monitor her every move...and although she is only 12, kids in this area are having babies at a *very* young age. We could talk to her until we are purple, and she could tell us she understands, and promises to be good and behave, but the rest of the world(!!!!) is out there, and kids are just like food susceptible to contstantly fluctuating temperatures...they could go bad. I want to say I have faith in my daughter, and I believe she is really intelligent...but...she isn't smart. And there is a difference. She goes online, and somehow, really explicit porn gets through (this only happened twice...but still..); BET and MTV show videos and play music that make my husband and I blush; and she has keys and can walk outside whenever she wants...I know this sounds crazy, and you can't protect you kids from everything. We explain everything we can to her, and reason with her...even the porn (why people do these things, why it's inappropriate for her, etc.), but ultimately, when we are not around, she makes her own decisions.

I bet this post is great birth control for those who don't have kids, huh? =)

I appreciate the comments, I do. And I knew that this wouldn't be easy for anyone...but I didn't know I would have this many misgivings and doubts. I am trying not to stress...because my nervousness affects my work in school and I get snappy and depressed at home. And I've had people I worked with (my former boss, who worked his ass off to get where he is and is doing *really* well for himself....who fired me, even though he liked me) tell me that they thought I could accomplish anything.

But the doubts are dogging me...and I can't just throw in the towel.... Because after all of this, how do I show my daughter not to give up when things get hard?

By Poochedm (Poochedm) on Saturday, September 27, 2003 - 11:24 am: Edit

I had a French pastry chef instructor when I was in culinary school who was a total ahole. He was trained under the apprentice system in France and got his head bashed in every day. I think he left some of his brains behind. You just can't treat students that way. If you feel the problem is interfering with not just your education but your peace of mind and ability to function properly in class you should definately see your counselor or whichever authority at school that can help you. Good luck and keep pluggin away. ChefDanP.

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