Balancing Act

My Twitter profile reads: navigating my way through grad school and now parenthood. trying daily to find the right balance.

Sometimes I’m not so sure I’m doing a great job of it. Something’s always got to give. Lately I feel like it’s Simon – though the blog may not be the best evidence of that. I hit the ground running with Simon was 5.5 weeks old with this third year of grad school by teaching two classes and trying to finish my thesis (second year project that will count for my Masters). I feel like I haven’t stopped. Christmas was nice – I seem to remember a break then, but that was so long ago now.

For the Fall semester I was supposed to be working 2.5 days a week. In reality it was 4. Thankfully Rob was home with Simon, but I wasn’t. This semester I was supposed to work 3 days a week and be with Simon the other 2, in reality that hasn’t happened either. It’s been 4 or even 5 days almost the whole semester. On some of these “extra” days I’ve just brought the kid with me, but some times it isn’t appropriate, or I just get more done when I’m not chasing a mobile baby who wants to be a toddler. (OMG he’s getting so big so fast and he’s just started balance standing without holding on to anything.) So he’s been going to extra days at daycare.

And I’m torn. Because he loves it there. Kids! Toys! Food! And honestly, I don’t mind leaving him. Except that it’s not being the mom I want to be. I’ve already struggled with and come to terms with the fact that I’m really not cut out to be a full time Stay at Home Mom, but I DO want to be home with Simon more days than not. Yesterday, after church we had such a fun day, the three of us playing and laughing. Rob was wrestling Simon and he was crawling to me to keep him “safe” while he giggled so hard. And I realized, I’ve been missing far to much of that, and when I am with him, I’m fried. Today, I picked him up early, and pushed through the tired and we had the BEST afternoon. An hour at the park and peek-a-boo and chase at home.

But I’ve gotten so much done this year academically. I taught 2 classes in the fall (bad idea, but live and learn) and one this spring. I finished my coursework (as of next Wednesday) and my thesis is done. Like actually done. As in the paper I’ve been talking about for the last 18 months is being sent to my readers. When I talk about my paper, it is going to be a different one.  This. Is. Huge. And I’m on to the next thing with an abstract due, and another project that’s just been waiting to be written up, and fellowship applications to finish. It’s never ending.

I’ve been asked a few times recently how I “do it all” and the easy answer is that I don’t. Our apartment is mostly a disaster and I don’t really cook all that much. Balance is so hard to find. And I’m finding that I’m giving up some of the “me” things in order to make up the Simon time that school eats away at. And that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. But the “me” time is important too.

There are two more weeks to this semester, and I switch to a summer schedule. It will be three days a week. And I am going to really work to keep it to that, and to make those days count. Because when I have time to take Simon to the playground and watch him go down the slide by himself, I smile. And I want time for me too. I don’t self identify as “just” a mom, or student, or wife, or woman. I am all of these things and more. And giving all parts of me the time they deserve is a key to this balancing act of life.

So while student and mom have been taking precedence lately, I really would like to get back to wife and woman. Rob might appreciate that too.

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