Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Exceedingly Cranky November 10, 2015

Filed under: Academic,Totally Me — leighj @ 7:51 am

I’ve been really cranky lately, despite having accomplished several goals that were middling. I cleaned up my office, effectively clearing the massive piles of paper, filing the ones I need to keep, and organizing so that this semester’s stuff is on top. The article I wrote nearly five years ago is finally going to see the light of day thanks to a shift in editorial responsibilities. It’s about Chicana poets use of mythology, so that’s fun. My curriculum proposals are winding their way through the channels of change. My composition students are working pretty hard on their ideas.

And yet, I find myself on the verge of blowing up with frustration, and since I can’t do that at work and maintain a reputation of even, balanced, pleasant colleague, I bottle it in, make myself another cup of coffee and snack on the boys’ Halloween candy. (It’s nearly gone, thanks to my students’ diligent efforts, so no worries.)

I’m glad this crankiness isn’t present at home. Of course, I’m tired some nights and I just can’t take anymore goofing off on the way to bed, but mostly we’ve had a lot of harmony, few time outs, and enjoyable blocks of cooperative play. I’ve tried to make our weekends less busy, and that’s been successful. We still do things and see people, but we try to keep a routine that means Porter gets his nap and the older boys get some time with their friends. Patrick and I don’t get a lot of time together, but when I thought about it, the fourth class is sucking up an additional 10 hours a week, that he and I used to spend about half of together.

The best thing about the academic life is that it’s punctuated by semesters. I can always imagine that it will be different next semester, and it will. There will be other challenges and satisfactions, but these will be gone. That’s why it’s possible to stay focused. I don’t know how people stay with things that make them miserable.

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