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  • Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

Mothering at Mid-Career: Spring Break, Day One
March 5, 2012 - 3:49pm

Today is the first day of my spring break. The day began at 5:45 am with a call from the local school system to tell us that there would be a 2-hour delay in school opening due to “predicted inclement weather.” I put the phone down, told my husband what was up, and tried to overcome the adrenaline that an early-morning phone call always elicits and get back to sleep—then realized that the call had come from my son’s former school system, not the one he’s in now. I was pretty fully awake by then, so I got up to check on his school—and saw the snow falling in large, lazy flakes, blanketing the cars but not, as far as I could see, the roads.

Having ascertained that Nick’s school was, indeed, delayed, I watched the pretty snow a little longer. This is the south, and in the south snow usually means school closing, not just a delay. Sure enough, before my coffee was hot more calls started coming in, both from his former and his current school, calling school off throughout the region. Still, nothing was sticking to the ground.

I went and told Nick of his good fortune and then, after dressing and breakfasting, “braved the weather” to go in to the office. Snow days make everything quiet—as does spring break—and the office was hushed. A perfect day to get some work done.

Because Nick’s school system is on a different schedule than the university we never have the same spring break, which means I usually spend mine catching up on work—or at least planning to. Often, though, I sit resentfully in front of my computer, wishing I were “really “on break. This year I decided to do things differently. I made a plan, breaking down the various projects I thought I might manage to get to this week into smaller tasks, then budgeting time for each instead of just hoping I’d be inspired to do them.  So today I spent an hour tossing old files (step one in “clean up the office”), caught up on e-mail, and did some research. Tomorrow’s plan involves more cleaning, more research, and some writing. Later this week I have some time blocked off for grading as well. But I should also be able to get to yoga more often than usual, have lunch with friends, and maybe even do some pleasure reading—it’s all there in my plan.

As I sit here in the quiet, writing, I can see that the sky has cleared and the snow is entirely melted. There are daffodils and tulip trees blooming, and they seem to have survived the dusting they got this morning. When I finish writing this blog post (and checking it off my list) I’m going to start a novel that I’ve been wanting to read for weeks. Really, all in all it’s not a bad start to spring break.   


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