Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sustainable busyness

The "wheeee!" period of being a grad student/teacher/mom is coming to a close. It's still a major-ambition-come-true to be getting my MA, and it's fulfilling and enriching to teach, and my kids keep parenting pretty exciting, but WOAH. Sometimes I am just exhausted and I don't know if all that I'm doing now, and have been doing since September (and since a year ago, to a lesser degree, when I was doing my MA but not teaching), is sustainable. Each midterm completed, and each class taught, I am that much closer to being done...for this semester. And then it will start all over again soon enough. Thank goodness for summer...I guess?

Even though I enjoy everything I am doing and feel the positive impact on my life, it is also very wearying. When the paper is done, there is still the lesson to plan, and dinner to make. The work is never finished anyway when you're a mom - there is always more to do, more messes to clean up, more things to talk about with your kids, more skills to teach them, more activities to plan - and I'm feeling that sense of never-ending work from the other areas of my life, too.

I'll probably laugh at all this the day after finals are over. I recharged fairly quickly during the last semester break and I'm hoping this summer (after that summer term course I take, sigh) will put some extra gas in my tank, to shore up my reserves for Fall 2012. In the meantime, I'm trying to be grateful that this is truly a temporary - if very long temporary - stage of my life. After I finish my MA (estimated completion: next summer-ish), I will probably never be juggling three major roles at once like I am now. I know there are women out there with kids who are studying and working and being moms, with a lot longer than a-year-and-a-bit stretching out in front of them. God bless them.

Have you ever had a period of life where you were unsustainably busy? How did you get through it? Or did you?


AmandaStretch said...

I was pretty sure I was going to drown last semester taking a full graduate course load (9 credits) plus working full time plus my calling plus, well, life like living by myself, so all housekeeping must be done by me and trying to at least see a few friends. I managed to survive, and this semester has been a little bit easier. Of course, I found out on Tuesday that I'm getting laid off in two months, so on top of everything I'm in crisis-mode job hunting. So, it never really gets easier, does it? Just a new challenge with different approaches to it. And just because I'm not a mom or wife yet doesn't mean I'm not totally swamped on my own. (I know that's not what you were trying to say, but some people do that think we singletons have some sort of magical bucket of extra time.)

AmandaStretch said...

I thought I was going to drown last semester as I took a full graduate course load (9 credits) and worked full time, plus my calling, plus life like living alone and managing my household and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life. This semester has been a little bit easier, but just I'm heading into final papers writing mode I found out this week that I'm getting laid off in two months and am now in full-blown crisis job hunting mode. It never really gets easier does it? Just a new time management challenge. And just because I'm single/childless doesn't mean I'm not busy. :) (I know that you weren't trying to say that, but some people believe we singletons have extra time, which we don't.)

JosephJ said...

Honestly? I like that feeling, to some degree. I don't know if it seems to make me feel important/needed/successful, but busy-ness scratches an itch. On the other hand, going too long without self-directed scheduling also makes me irritable. You can ask the wife.

I've have had seasons (parts of LDS mission, grad school, busy time of year at work, when family has extra needs) where I've felt like I was running from task to task for fear of letting something slip, but now I'm to the point where I say "I've got two hours to work on _____, let's see how much I can do" and then the rest can wait. Even 30 minutes chunks helps whittle down the to-do list.

So as much as the wake/morning Dad routine/work/dinner/evening Dad routine with kids/try to "reset" the house for tomorrow helps me feel like I accomplished something, it's sure nice to have a nap. I'm still hearing my infamous nap last year on Mother's day... (to be fair, that was during a particularly busy upswing.)

JosephJ said...

Sometimes I also appreciate that free time can start at 10pm, and I've been known to start a 3 hour project to work on when the house is quiet and (sadly) the stores are closed.

Tia said...

I am living it now and have been since August. So far I'm surviving. We'll see how the next 3 weeks go leading up to graduation.

Britney said...

Interesting. I can't say that I've experienced the intensity of the "wheee!" you're going through right now. (Really, what you're doing is amazing.) But I have had busier seasons that have required me to stretch outside my time/energy/talent comfort zone.

Generally, I like things simple. But I also understand what JosephJ means when he talks about the exhiliration of being exceptionally busy. It's a rush. For a while, at least. :)


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