Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NaBloPoMo 9: Back on track

My default setting lately has been set to "Nap".  The first trimester of my pregnancy with Patrick was exhausting.  This time around, it's been the second trimester.  I went to bed before 9 p.m. last night.  This would not be a problem if I didn't have work to get done during the evenings.

Sometimes people ask "How do you manage to have a marriage, two active kids, and a full time job?"  Sometimes, I don't know the answer.  Usually I tell them that I traded money for flexibility in my job, which is a huge part of it.  While my schedule is fixed every semester, I have a lot of flexibility in setting up that schedule in the first place.  This semester, for example, I have no classes on Mondays, which allows me to get the grocery shopping done and have all of my midwife/chiropractor/other appointments, and I get a huge amount of actual work done after a relaxing weekend.  I'm done (with classes, at least) by 3:45 the rest of the week.  I have most of the same breaks as the kids.  I'll be paying off my educational loans forever to get this flexibility, but when I was looking at getting a job after finishing my Ph.D., it seemed (and still seems) far more important to have the time available for my family than to earn the kind of money I could be earning with a pharmaceutical company.

Plus there's the fact that I generally love my job.  Before I started teaching, I worried that I'd get bored with teaching the same basics every semester.  Now that I'm in my 5th year, I've learned that the same basics change tremendously in biology and that the dynamics of the class make each one interesting and new.  Maybe I traded money for flexibility, but the job satisfaction is tremendous.  I may complain about events in my job but on the whole, I really feel glad to have made this decision.

Honestly, though, when I am home full-time over the summers, I wonder how it works during the rest of the year.  I feel so tremendously busy with the kids and managing the house over the summers that I can't figure out how I "squeeze in" my job the rest of the time.

Like I said, I generally do a lot of work in the evenings after the kids go to bed.  (One of the other flexible benefits of my job is that I can do it from anywhere when I'm not physically in class or office hours.)  This trimester of my pregnancy is taking it out of me, though.  I am exhausted and not getting much work done in the evenings.  I'm basically a big lump.

Up until now, I've coped with that.  I've managed to get done what had to be done, sometimes by the skin of my teeth, and pull it all together.  And with only 3 weeks left until final's week, I can probably survive.  I'm not feeling quite as overwhelmed as I normally do right now.

That all changes this week.  Starting today, I will be getting over 100 research papers from my three lecture classes.  I will be getting probably 20 lab reports this week and close to that number again next week.  I have three more lecture exams to write and then give, which means over 100 exams to grade by the end of Thanksgiving break.

Somehow, it will work out.  It always does.  But I've never tried to get it all done on top of a lump-like habit.  I suspect the end of this semester will bring more relief than most.

No comments: