• Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.


ABC’s and PhD’s: It’s a Wrap (Almost)

The end of the school year frenzy.

June 11, 2013

For the kids and at the university, the school year has almost wrapped up and the end of year award ceremonies, science fairs, concerts, field trips, swim meets, plays, final projects and exams, and commencement exercises are culminating around us. In the last two weeks, our house has turned into a swirl of papers, on floors, counters, every available space. Mixed among the paperwork are calculators, backpacks, musical instruments, sweaters, books, a laundry basket of (drat) mixed dirty and clean clothes, and I know there’s a bill or two that we haven’t gotten to yet.

Right now I’m looking at a corner of the dining room where a final science project still in progress spills across the floor - a hot glue gun, stuck to a pile of newspapers and to sparkling beads, wire, string, scissors, and open packages of purple and blue pom-poms marks the creation of an oversized Iron atom that has left us up to our hips in the remnants of quarks, neutrons and electron orbitals. The surface of the dining room table is not visible (fortunately its warm enough for us to take our dinners to eat outside on a picnic table), and our kitchen counters, I fear, would scare anyone.

I was relieved when my father-in-law, dropping my husband off at home after a gathering they went to last night, didn’t get out of his car to come inside and say hello - my quick-thinking husband told him that we needed to rush off to my daughter’s orchestra rehearsal and swim practice. On the other hand, I might find it liberating to have my father-in-law see the roughness of this part of our life - show him that we let things go in order to make some great things happen. This is the behind-the-scenes of the polished performances we invite him to watch, the posters, art sculptures and projects we show off.  Our disastrous mess represents a creative productivity that has consumed our household as we approach the final days of
school - and I’m proud of it.

The ebb and flow of school life brings these times when the busy-ness just overwhelms us. Once things wind down, we’ll get our living spaces back under control (as much as they ever are) but right now I have no ambition to tame things.

There is no sense in further over-extending the under-rested and I just can’t and won’t control it myself - along with every other member of my family, I’m also under the gun with a pile of deadlines to weave among the extra activities in our schedule. This is an exciting time of year, and I’m putting my energy into enjoying it as much as I can despite the stress that accompanies it. I love seeing the projects and the events come together, the fruit of much work. Tonight’s middle school orchestra and band concert, for example, was FABULOUS, reminding me how important and powerful it is to work on and play music together and how appreciative I am that my kids have access to a rich music program.

As much as I’m enjoying all the special events I will welcome a slightly less frenzied time to catch up… a week and a half to go.  Bring on summer!


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