As I reported Wednesday, I'm just feeling agitated this week. Tired. Flustered.
This is the time in the semester when life goes from hectic to downright crazy. This week I conducted approximately 35 student conferences ranging from 10-20 minutes each. In a few weeks, I'll receive 35 papers ranging from about 5-12 pages each. After I grade and return those essays, I will grade 16 more papers from one class, plus 35 presentations.
Here's the thing: I love teaching. I do. I love learning about the students, I love embracing their passion for their research topics. I learn about their families, their hobbies, their future careers, their struggles. Writing is often intimate, and it's always a messy process. But it's fabulous. The best part of my job is seeing a student go from uncertain, confused, and down to confident, clear, and upbeat.
The downside is that teaching involves grading. Lots and lots and lots of grading. Most of my work is done at home: replying to e-mails, administrative odds-and-ends, prepping for class, posting documents to our course management system, and, yes, grading. (Did I mention grading?)
So I'm teaching two classes, finishing my book (MY BOOK!!!), managing my home, caring for my daughters, running errands, and trying to be a decent wife, friend, daughter, and sister.
Too much part-time stuff is going on.
I used to believe that working part-time was the best of both worlds. I'm both a stay-at-home-mom and a working-mom. I can relate to women in both "camps." I don't have to be either or, I get to be both. Straddle the fence.
When my girls go down for their afternoon nap (and thank God my nearly-four-year-old still naps), I frantically begin to get done as much as possible: grade, do some chores, make necessary phone calls, respond to student e-mails, read my devotional, take a shower, revise my book chapters, check all my online accounts (e-mail, Facebook, etc.).
But all I really want to do is take a nap. Or sit and read a magazine. Or sprawl out on the grass and soak up some sunshine.
But I can't. I won't let myself chill out.
DESPITE the fact that I know, I KNOW, how important it is to my health (to any person's health) to spend time doing nothing. Because doing nothing is actually doing something...it's giving your body the rest, the peace, that it needs to live, not just survive.
Right now I'm questioning if continuing to work part-time is not only unrealistic when baby #3 arrives but even next semester if we haven't adopted again yet and I have my two girls. I'm just tired of feeling divided, and I know when I feel this way, something has got to give or else no one gets the best of me, myself included!
It's the age-old battle: stay at home and make no money (except off book royalties) or work (make money) and feel a constant level of stress (sometimes low, sometimes moderate, sometimes high) which impacts every area of my life.
And it's even harder for me to decide because I love my job. But the requirements are getting to me, especially the grading.
I don't want to brush off my girls. I don't want to answer their questions while my eyes are tied to a computer screen, trying to respond to another student's e-mail. I want my girls to know that when they respond to someone, eye contact and listening ears are essential. I'm modeling some pretty crappy behavior right now, and I know it.
I can take a year off work and not lose my seniority, I recently discovered. I had planned on taking a semester off when we get our next child, but a year....a year? In a year, I could promote my book, spend hours playing with my kids, chill out some, learn to coupon better, exercise more, begin writing articles again, and do so many things that are on my "someday" list.
This is one of those posts where I'm really not sure where I'm going or what I'm trying to convey. I'm writing this for my own benefit----I'm trying to sort things out.
I'd love to hear from you. Where are you at in your life right now? What needs eliminating? What choices are you struggling with?