Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Fall 2012: Normal

Every once in a while, you have to re-invent your normal, especially if you've made a big change in your life. This semester, I'm taking three MA courses instead of two - and two is considered a full load. Everything else has remained more or less the same - Jeremy is teaching and doing research and professoring, I'm teaching two classes and putting in hours as a Graduate Assistant for my department, and both girls are in school. With the increase in my MA workload, we made some changes to the way we do things around the Palmer house.

1. We hired a live-in housekeeper/nanny. Sometimes, it's like there are two of me in the house, getting twice as much done. Isn't that what every mother needs? Having a housekeeper/nanny frees up so much more time for me to study and work without running myself ragged, as was the previous modus operandi. This is the single biggest (and I would add best) change we made to our routine this semester, and so far, it has paid off. I promise to write more about the nanny life soon.

2. No more ballet classes for the girls. This one actually makes me a little bit sad...until I remember those exhausting afternoons of driving 45 minutes (round-trip) through seven traffic-y Sharjah roundabouts - after prepping dinner, of course, and having everything ready for me to bolt to class as soon as we got home. During their ballet classes, I would try to finish up readings for class even as I desperately wished to lie down flat on the floor if necessary and just close. my. eyes. Fortunately, not taking ballet was a decision I was able to make with the girls, instead of for them. They both understand that I am extra busy this semester. Next semester, we'll revisit the idea of ballet and go from there.

3. The two nights a week I don't have class are sacred. On those evenings, children, I can help you with your homework or take you to the park or maybe we'll go swimming or read books or work in the garden or just hang out. I promise.

4. The two mornings a week I don't teach are sacred. I've had trouble in the past declining invitations to join social activities on Monday/Wednesday mornings because technically, I'm not "working" those mornings. However, that is when I get the bulk of my studying and writing done for school. If I take a morning off, that's 4-5 hours of work that I have to fit in somewhere else. And guess what? It will probably "fit in" super late at night. This semester, I'm guarding those mornings more carefully.

5. Dinner is at 4 o'clock. I used to put dinner on the table and then leave for class. This semester, we decided to all eat together early. It's worked out really well and I love eating dinner with my family when the food is hot, instead of coming home to cold leftovers.

The good news is, this semester is temporary. In mid-January it will come to an end. At that point, I will only have a Practicum course (kind of like student teaching) and my thesis, and then I'm DONE. So all this shuffling of priorities and stripping our schedules down to the basics will have been worth it. I hope.


Kathy Haynie said...

Sounds like a wise perspective. I am so glad for your family that your nanny is working out! (Ummm...I don't mean that she's exercising...although maybe she is...) Congratulations for being so close to the end of your master's program.

Lisa Lou said...

I laughed when you wrote that dinner is early. That's one change we've made this semester as well. With a new baby, husband full-time school and part-time work and me full-time master's program and full-time mom, that was one (easy) way to make sure we all got to see each other. So, dinner is at 4. And it's great. Granted I'm starving by 10 pm, but sleep usually helps with those hunger pains. (Usually...)

Liz Johnson said...

Live-in housekeeper/nanny... drooool......

Katie Lewis said...

I am so impressed by you, Bridget. I mean, always, but this just adds to it. Way to accept life the way it is RIGHT NOW and work around it and not kick against the pricks trying to make "normal now" fit into "what I wish were normal." So worthwhile.

Jeremy Palmer said...

Bridget is sorely missed those 3 evenings!

Bridget said...

Yes! For a while, 4pm dinner was the best diet ever. Now that I'm more stressed I find myself eating more late at night because I am legitimately hungry. :(


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