Friday, May 23, 2014

Being A Mom In University - My Brief Thoughts

I have been away from this blog for quite awhile. I'm sorry. I was fueled with all these great ideas that I wanted to share. I have a long list of post ideas floating around the house and in my head. But, I'm afraid to admit that I will probably never write many of them.
In a nutshell, the best way to survive a return to school when you have kids and a husband is to just do what you have to do. Balance as much as you can without draining yourself dry. Spend time playing with the kids. Sit down for dinner as a family. There are no secrets. If you want something bad enough, you make time for it. I became very selfish with my time. I do not tolerate demands of others, I will choose what I need to do and when.

I did homework and readings when I could. Sometimes waiting in the car at the end of the kid's school day. I'd read while I was cooking dinner. I carried a notebook everywhere and also switched to a windows phone that syncs better with my MS Office suite. I worked beside the kids as they did their homework. I waited until everyone was in bed and then started my work some nights.
The key to my success was to never allow procrastination in. If an essay project is going to take me 8-12 hours of  work before I think it is worthy of handing in, I must be realistic. I can not ever leave it to the last minute. I will never get 2 hours straight of work time, forget 8 or more! I just reminded myself as I worked after the kids were in bed and I was already exhausted, that the assignment would end. The semester will end. Eventually I will have time to catch up to sleep and housework.
School work and family were my shared number 1 priorities.

If you are a in university, success is possible. You show up. You take notes like a madman. You study. There is time. There is always time for something you really want. So do it.

A whole year of university and that's my advice. Just shut up and do it. One day at a time, you just push through. Some days will be really hard. Some will be painful. Some days you will cry like a baby and wonder why you ever thought this was a good idea. But following your heart and doing something you love are always going to be the good idea.

My mantra throughout my first year was "It's only one day." No matter what needed to be done, it was only one day and would be totally different tomorrow.

There were days when I got up at 5 am to drive the trucker to his truck, came home, did some reading, got kids up and all of us off to school, rushed back, spent half an hour in the kindergarten classroom, squeezed errands and appointments into the afternoon, emailing back and forth with a teacher about some child related problem as I went. Then I'd get the boys picked up, two different schools half an hour apart. Get home, put away laundry or clean something up, make dinner, clean up dinner, get through a bath and two showers, bedtime stories and good nights... Take a run to the store because I forgot something, usually milk which is needed for breakfasts and COFFEE. Then, maybe around 10 pm, I could stop moving for a minute.

I could sit down, assess what I had left to do and decide. If I miss one day of study time, what will it affect? Do I have something due tomorrow? No? Okay. It's only one day. I can make up one day easily.

And then the tricky part... Actually picking up the school work slack the next day.

Sometimes I couldn't. Sometimes the whole week was insane like that. I'd be so exhausted and have a longer list of things to catch up. The trucker suggested I take my books and go out somewhere, which I did try. But honestly, I'm better at ignoring the distractions at home. I could not focus in a coffee shop, or anywhere else really. So we switched it up. On some weekends, when I was struggling, he took the kids out instead. I got the house to myself. Had quiet time to focus and also no chance of forgetting something I needed because it was all here. It is amazing what one can accomplish in two hours with no interruptions. And I used that time. It's tempting to just go have a bath or something, when you know that no one can knock or try to come in. But you have to USE the time you have.

There is no way to plan how you will adapt to a change like this. Trust that if you want it bad enough you will find the strength to make it work. It is just how it is.

I don't find this to be that hard, really. It sucks sometimes, but everything in life sucks sometimes. There are bad days for sure. I believe I have a strong advantage over the kids that fill the other seats  in the classrooms. I know what I want. I know where I'm going. I know what it is all for. And though I have a family to take care of in the background, this university experience is so much easier for me than it is for most of them.

You know the fear that you had when you were pregnant? That 'how am I ever going to manage this' fear? Or, how about when you had a second or third (or more) child? You wonder how you will ever keep up to another baby too. Then the baby comes and somehow, almost magically, you find that life is still the same, just a bit busier maybe. University was the same for me. Life doesn't change, it just gets busy. It will only ever be as hard as you think it is. And even when a day is hard, it's only one day. Tomorrow will be different.

There you have it. A long pause between posts and then I finally write something, only to share that of all the advice I wanted to be able to share boils down to no advice at all.

I am starting to think that the end is near for Wendy Can't Cook. I either need a change of direction, or perhaps a change in medium. I'm not sure. I make no promises at all. I found a desperate need to focus on priorities while in school and as much as writing maintains my sanity, blogging is not the only way to write. I've been through some very personal changes that I do not wish to make public. And I rarely have time to sit and write a blog post even without any edits. I do not aim to make a living out of blogging, I share here because it feels good to share sometimes. Much like reading for pleasure is out of the question while I'm in school, blogging is not high on my list of priorities. Somehow, my little following here continues to grow even when I'm not active and I am grateful for those who do come by and read any of my words.

In essence, blogging is somewhat a distraction from where I really want to be going. I may need to let it go to make room for bigger and better things. I miss it when I'm not here, but I need my family time more. I am sure that you will understand. My facebook page is often more active than the actual blog, so feel free to join me there.

Take care my friends.