Tuesday, September 2, 2008

W4MW - Reverse Edition - How Can We Have It All?

I know that many women today believe that it is our right to have it all. That we should be able to have successful and/or fulfilling careers and also be able to take care of our families and loved ones? But where do you find that balance? Because lately I feel like that person in the side show who is trying to juggle about 40 plates on top of a teeny tiny stick.

See, I'm back in school. Not that that's new. But I'm taking two science courses right now and I'm having a hard time finding balance. I find that I spend most of my spare time trying to read ahead. In one class we are dealing with a lot of mathematical equations. In the other, I feel like the Professor is speaking Greek at least three-fourths of the time. I go to campus, an hour away, four days a week. Then two nights a week I attend a satellite campus in my hometown. My days are usually filled with rushing to take The Doodlebug to school, then getting myself to campus and to class, trying to study after driving back home. I study in the car rider line at her school in the afternoon - which sometimes is where I get my best 'thinking' done because it is quiet. Then we rush home and I prepare our family's dinner while she does her homework. We try to have dinner together as a family on the weeknights that I don't have class, but it always feels rushed.

I know that I should utilize my crock pot more. I know that I need to delegate more to The UIC and The Doodlebug, but to be honest, maintaining the house isn't the problem. It's my inner struggle and wanting to succeed at school and wanting to be this incredible Mom who exists only in my head.

So my question for you on this flip-flopped Works For Me Wednesday is ... how can we have it all? Where do you decide to be a slacker and where do you decide to be superwoman? Please leave me a comment - if only to let me know that I'm not alone :) And check out the other dilemnas facing other bloggers over at Rocks In My Dryer.


Tammy said...

I have to say, I admire you for going back to school. I think a lot of the time about doing this, but it never gets further than a thought.
If you figure out the balance issue, I hope you'll post about it soon. I really enjoy your blog!

Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead said...

I say: set your priorities. For me, I enjoy a neat house, but in reality - the order keeps me sane. So if I decide to slack and not pick up after myself or the kids and dishes and laundry are overflowing, I am not a nice person to be around. I finally came to that conclusion and have allowed myself to be that way!

But as far as things being CLEAN clean, not just tidy...I slack. Because I hate cleaning. :)

So decide your priorities, especially now that you're making such a huge life change starting school again. Set up time slots to study, then STOP. Same with cleaning, errands, etc. Make sure your husband and kids don't get ignored in this process. A schedule would be a really good thing for you right now.

Good luck!

Heidi said...

I would say that you should be really deliberate about what you're going to leave out. It sounds like you have resolution on the housework issue (For me, that's what I'd leave out. I mean, we don't eat off the floor anyway, right?), so what else can you leave out? You might ask your family what things you do/could do for them and with them that make the most difference, and what do they think you could leave out, and no one would care much? Is your daughter old enough to learn to cook? (If you do have her help that way, get some extremely simple recipes, or it'll take more of your time, not less.) Could she read your textbook to you while you drive her to school. She won't know all the words, but if she knows enough of them, you could put it all together, though probably not with the equation class. Maybe the other one.

In any case, I have two cookbooks to recommend:
The Six O'Clock Scramble
Gourmet's Five Ingredients
Both are full of dead-simple recipes that still taste good.

Sara Delaney said...

I think that you have to realize that you can do it all...within moderation. Build up in small steps...delegate a little bit of the household responsibilities (ie, folding towels, unloading the dishwasher) and find time for yourself. Understand just how great it is that you've gone back to school to finish your education - that is something that should be celebrated! Also realize that your family is cheering you on because in the long run, you're all going to benefit from this. And remind yourself that there really isn't any 'supermom' out there who does it all...and does it right all the time.

Scrappy Girl said...

I don't think it is possible to have it ALL...you just have to decide which things you want most and go for those and hope that some of the other things you will have occasionally!

Household Rule for Sane Mothers:
Clean enough to be healthy
Messy enough to be happy!

Milehimama said...

It can be hard to juggle so many things! Planning ahead, especially meals, can really help. I use my crockpot, but also like Leanne Ely's Saving Dinner (her recipes are "normal", nutritious, and can be made under 30 minutes).

Can you get a digital voice recorder, and re-listen to the lectures during your long commute? Sometimes I have to hear things a couple of times in different contexts in order to 'get' it.

When trying to decide what to let go, remember: People before things! Put your family first.

HTH! I've never gone back to school, but I've gone back to work nights which is similar, time wise, I think!

fern said...

I am also in school, and work full time, and have a family-with a husband who is only home on weekends and a house full of pets.

No, you can't have it all. So don't even try. However, you can have what is really important to you and compromise on the rest.

For example--I bought my kids more underwear so that I can do most of the laundry on weekends when my husband is home--and he helps fold clothes (so do the kids, if you call it folding). And sometimes the clothes stay in the basket and never make it into drawers or closets.

Folding clothes with children is a great time for conversation.

My kids have chores, but if they forget to do them-sometimes I let it go, sometimes I make them do them, sometimes I just sweep the floor to make it easy on myself.
(and sometimes I leave the crumbs on the floor).

Frozen pizza and raw baby carrots is still a family dinner. Spaghetti sauce from a jar is still good. No one ever suffered from scrambled eggs for dinner.

Keep reminding yourself that being a student is temporary and will lead to future benefits.

Llama Momma said...

You can't have it all, but you CAN have what's most important!

Let the little things go and keep focusing on what's most important -- finishing school, being a good Mom (which doesn't mean homemade cookies every day...), and keeping your sanity.

Take one day at a time. Prioritize. You can do this!!!

fern said...

Oh! I just remembered something I heard a few weeks ago.

You can have it all--just not at the same time.

Jen @ JenuineJen said...

How many classes are you taking at a time? Is there a way to do the classes through an extension program (independent study) so you do not have to commute as much? Also, would taking few classes a semester make life easier for you? When I was in college I took classes year round so I could have a lighter load any given semester. I had 2 jobs and still had to study.

I like to cook large portions on weekends and freeze food so it does not take long on individual weeknights to prepare dinner.

You can do the things you want but you may have to do each thing in moderation.

Michie said...

Congratulations on going back to school!

I know how you are feeling. I went back to school when my daughter was six months old, the same month that I started a new job as a teacher. Looking back, I often think about how crazy I was! I went to school one weekend a month, for the whole weekend, over an hour away, so I would go away one weekend a month, and have projects and whatnot to work on in the meantime.

It helps if you have a really great support system. You have to know that it won't all get done, and that it is ok to ask for help. Those are things I had a hard time with (and still do, even though I'm done with school). It is ok to delegate, and ask for a hand here or there.

Set your priorities. It might help to make a list of things you want to/need to do, and prioritize them into things that absolutely need to get done, and then to things that can get done when and if you have time. For me, time with my new daughter and husband were high on the list. Cleaning the house was very low, and so sometimes we had a cluttered house. Sometimes you just have to let go of things, and try and figure out shortcuts - for instance, once in awhile use paper plates for dinner so you don't have to do the dishes, or whatever, just to eliminate anything extra.

Geesh, sorry to ramble on here - just wanted to let you know that I know how you are feeling, and to remind you that it won't be like this forever!