Wednesday, April 11, 2012

look what I just done did...

Well, I'll be darned.  Remember that assignment that I was worried about?  The one where I design my next four courses?  Done.

Check it off the list!  How it works really, is I submit it, and then the dean responds with anything I need to fix (another phone conversation), and then I fix it.  Then I hand in the fixed copy.  And know what happens after that?  After that, I will have successfully completed the first 4 credits of the 60-62 on the doctoral to-do list.  Sweet!

I thought these courses were my very next 4, but it turns out that I have eight required courses in education before I get to these 4 I designed.  After those eight required courses, I can choose to edit these four, or leave them alone and complete them. 

I'm not sure if this is an accurate conclusion to draw, but I believe that perhaps this first course was one of those "are you cut out for this kind of academics" sort of course.  I'm happy to say that I loved it, and I believe I have done extremely well.  My transcript will tell the truth, but all signs point to 'A'!  I was really elated when I finished this template.  Don't get me wrong though, I had coffee (with caffeine) at dinner time... Zzzzzing!  So that helped. 

We shall see if the dean approves of my work.  In the meantime, I have to get back to my middle school work (lesson plans), and equally important, sleep.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

working mother survival

disclaimer:  these are things that help me survive... I'm not playing the Holy One here or anything like that....

Ten Helpful Survival Hints for a Working Mother (of young, not school-aged children):

1.  Accept that your caregiver will not do everything just like you do it.
2.  Accept that your children will likely behave better for the caregiver than they do for you.  Then, think forward a few years to when they are in school, and be grateful that they behave better for their teachers than they do for you.  Think minimal parent-teacher conferences here. 
3.  Understand that you will never feel 100% caught up in any area of your life (and if you are 100% caught up in all areas of life, see my supermom post, and unfriend me on facebook immediately :)
4.  Pack all lunches the night before, or better yet, get your spouse to pack all lunches the night before.
5.  Do not feel guilty for eating lunch at your desk... after all, you leave one job, and you're "on" automatically at the next one (family), which is the most important.  If you need to work through lunch to feel more grounded when you get home, go ahead.  I cannot tell you the number of lunches I have spent in front of my doctoral work.  It helps me feel more present at home, instead of anxious over all I have to do when my cherubs are in bed.
6.  Allow the caregiver to take over some of your parenting roles.  My kids get phonics and sight words at daycare.  I certainly do not go home and repeat the process.  I happily allow the daycare to fill that role, so that I can then fill the mothering role and hopefully "plate up" less frozen pizza (again, see supermom post) as well as spend more time just playing with my children before they go to bed.
7.  Realize that what works for you may not work for others. Like in #5, eating at my desk to work makes me feel better.  For some people, they would go nuts without adult conversation over lunch.  Know what you need, and do that.  Everyone is different.
8.  Look good.  Really, it helps if you are somewhat satisfied with how you look when you go to work.  Even if you jump straight into pajamas after work!!! 
9.  Limit screen time and sleep.  Screen time can eat up hours of what could be sleep time.  This perpetuates the exhausted to coffee cycle for so many. 
10.  Exercise... I know that to some people, working is already too much time away.  It is for me too, honestly.  But I have learned that going to the gym increases my patience in the evening, and helps me fall right to sleep after I put my kids to bed (sometimes WHILE I am putting them to bed.  Exercise is good for me, and my kids have no idea I pick them up 45 mins later three times per week.  Take care of yourself. 

Just my thoughts...  :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

not. super. mom.

What is a super mom?  Is it she who revels in every little detail of baby/child rearing?  Is it she who has the patience of a saint?  Is it she who always has a clean house, nice bod, and perfect children?  Or maybe, is it she who never seems stressed and never yells?  Maybe it is she who has no gray hair (or covers it well), never requires more than four hours of sleep, and always makes home-cooked organic meals.

I don't know who super mom is.  But I can tell you, that it isn't me.  And if she exists, I do not want to be her friend.  Why? Because I would feel like the worst person ever every time I was in her serene, perfect presence.  And that, friends, would really make me mad.  I'm not saying that there aren't some moments (although they are few and far between) that I do have a clean house.  And I'm not saying I'm not patient.  For the most part, I am pretty patient.  But far be it for me to say that I never lose that patience.  That'd be a lie.  I also enjoy organic food as much as the next girl.  But some nights, I'm "plating up" some frozen pizza for dinner (yes, I do cook it first).  And you know what?  That just has to be okay sometimes. 

I've been called supermom, and superwoman before.  And don't get me wrong, I'll take the compliment anytime.  But the truth is, I do not know that woman.  I love my children, and most days, seriously, I could eat them because they are so sweet and cute.  But then there are other days that all I wish for is bedtime.  Is that wrong to say?  Somewhere between work, mothering, being a wife, and then throwing a doctoral student load in there (just for fun!), oh, and my husband working two jobs, I've just realized that our "normal" is somewhere in the madness.  My house can be a mess, my kids can eat pizza sometimes, and I can just leave the two feet of dirty clothes on the laundry room floor.  Because honestly, what does it matter if we aren't totally caught up all the time?  Usually, not much as long as we get to it eventually.  But sometimes it DOES matter, and gets the best of me, and those are the times that I start absolutely freaking out about everything.  But hey, I'm not supermom, so I don't really have a reputation to uphold, now do I?

So how do I take it all "in stride" you ask?  I don't, really.  I'm not supermom, remember? :)

But seriously, stay tuned for a post on the survival of the working mother... I have a few ideas, trivial as they may be.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rules of the blogging universe...

Since giving up Facebook for Lent, I've found some other blogs to take up my time (I know, not such a great "sacrifice" now that I put it that way).  Lucky thing, many of the blogs I found actually repulsed me and frightened me, rather than cause me to have a certain stuck-to-the-screen-ness.  I stumbled upon one particular blog that was really something.  One of the posts contained some rules for blogging.  As I read these rules, I realized that I am not following many of them.  For example, one rule was to maintain complete anonymity.  Well, while I don't state my first and last name, social, and family member's names, I still post my blogs to Facebook (when it is not Lent) and share it with friends.  In fact, the purpose of the blog was to share about my doctoral course load.  But by doing this, I have to mention work and family, and then it becomes hard to maintain whatever anonymity I had left.  Another one of her rules was to share everything.  She praised over-sharing, calling it a way to get readers (or whatever it is called when you have a lot of people go to your blog).  And while I can appreciate transparency and openness, I can't go so far as to "tell all."  Transparency, while enticing, is just not my thing.  (If you want me to be transparent, sit down to a meal with me!! haha!)

So what's new?  And what's acceptable to post?  Last week, I had my final discussion about the readings required for this cornerstone course.  Now, as I have mentioned, I am on to designing the next two years or so of coursework.  So, the only discussion I have left is the one where the university tells me whether or not my proposed design is any good, and what changes I have still to make.  My first course ends May 4.  I am so excited that I have made it through this with minimal meltdowns (I have had plenty of meltdowns, to be clear, but fairly unrelated to the doctoral program).  So now, I get to finish the course, and get a tuition reimbursement.  These last three months have been financially quite tighter than usual because we have to make tuition payments without the help of a reimbursement check.  Once I mail my transcript to my county of employment, I get a check, which will cover about 3/4 of the tuition payments for my next course... thank God!  This doctoral endeavor has a hefty price tag.  My husband has been a saint for putting up with this... I mean, we both work, but he balances the checkbook, so he has to look at reality a bit more closely than I. 

This week I am on spring break.  I'm using some of the days to organize my house while I can still use daycare.  Call me a mean mom, or whatever you want, but when husband has two jobs, and I'm in school as well as teaching it, and I have pretty much two toddlers... my house is a wreck (in fact, I could do an entire post about that alone!)... so we snapped into survival mode about mid-March, and I promised I'd make a dent in this pit of a house over the break. So, here I am... blogging.... haha... and having a cup of decaf starbucks.

And on that note (and almost the end of my coffee), I'm out.  I'll probably write more this week.  But hey, let's be honest, if I'm not over-sharing, making my audience uncomfortable, or being totally anonymous, who's gonna read it?  :)