Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Work-Life Balance: When Life Get in the Way

If you've been reading, I was actively working on achieving some sort of work-life balance in my family. This past weekend was our "fall break" and thus my husband and I had Thursday and Friday off of work. Because much of the support staff at our kids' preschool are students, the preschool was closed as well. This was a perfect opportunity to reconnect as a family and spend some time together.

And it largely worked. It was a beautiful fall weekend where we could enjoy our back yard, head out of "Court Days" in a neighboring county, and just spend time all together as a family. The kids became noticeably more agreeable, calmer, and got along better with each other. My husband and I even got to go on a date where we ate antelope for dinner and got to see the Boston Pops play here in Kentucky. I'll forever be able to say that I saw "America's Symphony" play Bohemian Rhapsody, accompanied by a 350+ member choir. Who head-banged. 

I was feeling pretty good about myself, my family, and thought that I was setting myself up well for the rest of the semester. My grading was done, my classes planned, my family happy; it felt good. Of course, it lasted about three hours. First, my 2-year-old son got sick. Then, my 4-year-old got sick. And the, I got sick. And not just a little sick. Washing machine continuously running sick. 

I'll leave it at that. 

I had to cancel classes on Monday because I physically couldn't make it. I was particularly troubled because it was supposed to be the first of the peer-driven class' presentations. The high-school/dual credit teachers I am mentoring had to also enter in mid-term grades, and of course there were any number of technical problems that prevented them for doing in on time. I was in no condition to be able to help them. My house is a disaster again. My husband, who was sparred the virus, is a wreck because has had to take care of everyone, leading to severe sleep deprivation. 

So, we're right back where we started, through no fault of our own. My teaching is in disarray (or at least it feels that way). My kids are out of sorts. My husband and I get to see each other fleetingly between clean-ups and running to class/work. I still have a conference presentation to write and an essay, and because I am still recovering, I barely have enough energy to teach let alone write academic prose (I said academic prose; there's always energy for blogging).

But there are bright sides. My 2yo son now asks all the time if he can help me. My daughter, even when she was sick, didn't get nearly as worked up as she has in the past. So I have to take a deep breath and accept the good with the bad. It's not the end of the world that my peer-driven class will be starting a class late; I had an extra class at the end worked in there just in case. And, my under-preparedness lead to a pretty fruitful discussion about grading and motivation in my classes today. 

I just wish I could go back to Saturday night, when all was well with the world and I felt like I finally had a handle on things. 


  1. ah, the challenge of young kids and balancing your life beyond them. I have two young boys as well and it is amazing how they zap the energy out of you while rewarding you as well. Finding that balance is the private battle that couples (sometimes silently) work on while the rest of their lives keep making all the stops at the station. Good luck in your pursuit.


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