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  • Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

Mothering at Mid-Career: It's not a Race
August 18, 2008 - 8:59pm

So the bathroom floor doesn't need replacing after all; instead, we need a termite guy. It may be more expensive than replacing the floor, but it will be less disruptive, so all in all I'm not too disappointed.

And in the meantime the syllabi are almost done with almost a week to go before classes start. I have a good bit of organizational work to do in the office and some research loose ends to pick up in the next week, so I'm certainly not on vacation, but I do still have a sense that there's a little breathing room before the semester begins. I worked at home today; my eleven-year-old stayed in his pajamas until late afternoon, when he decided it was time to play outside. We sat companionably in the living room for a long time this morning while he watched the Olympics and I worked on a syllabus--the kind of busy work, much of it, that actually can take place with low-level noise in the background. As the female triathletes worked their way through the swim, bike, and run, I thought about how best to organize writing assignments, and how much reading I could assign for each 50-minute class. They were racing, but I could work at my own pace. Once the semester takes off, I often feel as if I, too, am racing, hoping to catch a breath during the brief dips before the action picks back up again. So I'm enjoying the slower pace right now.

I say this every year, but I am determined not to race my way through the semester this year. I'm carving out time for the gym (no, I won't pursue the triathlon), for a research project with a deadline, and for my family, now that I have the unexpected gift of six more months with my 18-year-old daughter than I would have if she were heading off to college right away. (Her gap year plans are keeping her in town until after Christmas.) Next week I won't have mornings in the living room with a son in pajamas, but I'll try to hold the image in my head as I shift into the new season--at my own pace.

 

 

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