This is my focused face. The face you’ll see if I’m doing one of many things, one of which is school. You know how you have to answer the “job title” question on basically every piece of paperwork you fill out? Well I never know what to put there. Technically, I work for my grandmother as a home health aide (to help care for my grandfather with Parkinson’s). Besides that, I have many other “titles” that describe what I do. Most of you know what I’m talking about… We all have a million different things that we do when we come home from our “day job”.
As a wife, I plan and prepare dinner, wash the dishes, do laundry, clean the house, make my husband’s lunch for the next day, and many other things. As a student, I read textbooks, listen to presentations, and complete quizzes, papers, and other assignments (hopefully) before their deadlines. Not to mention the fact that I’ll also be a new mom in 3 short months! It can be really overwhelming sometimes, especially considering how different all of these things are.
Ok, so with all of that said, let’s talk about what really happens. Do I make my husband lunch every single day? No. Even though we haven’t quite been married a year, I’m already too overwhelmed some days to get his lunch ready before he has to leave – and he understands this. Do I always have a fancy, healthy dinner ready by the time he comes home from work? Definitely not! I try my best to have a well rounded dinner most nights, but the fact is that sometimes it ends up being a frozen pizza and baby carrots (he definitely doesn’t complain when that happens). Do the dishes and laundry always get done on time? Nope. This is probably the one that matters the most to me because I really feel like the cleanliness of the house affects the way I feel about how my life is going. Usually if it comes down to it, I’ll stay up late just to finish one or the other so it’s out of the way for the next day.
As a student, I constantly have to ask professors for extensions on deadlines because I just didn’t get the time to read the material. That’s called life. Most professors understand this and are kind enough to agree if you have a legitimate reason. Make sure to be honest with yourself about how you’re managing your time and whether you’re just putting off the work when you know you have the time. (I talk about this in a post on time management here). The fact is that while I do have trouble managing my time well, I’ve been getting better at it! Regardless, it’s still really hard to keep priorities in line and find a routine that works well.
My husband’s job is very unique and often requires long/weird/variable hours. This makes it difficult to know when to start on dinner as I pretty much never know for sure when he’ll be home. Since dinner therefore becomes a lower priority (I have to wait to start on it until he calls to say he’s on his way home), I have to choose what takes its place. Unfortunately, this is where it becomes easy to put school off day after day because it’s “not due till …” and I have other things that need to be done. The problem with this is that it then causes me to have to rush through the material and stress about getting assignments in by the deadline because I put them off in favor of other things.
The routine I’ve found that works for me generally means that I’m doing two (or more) things at once. I’ll put a load of laundry in the washer, set a timer, and sit down to look at what’s due for school this week. When the timer is up, I put the clothes in the dryer and go back to my school. I can use this time to read the textbook or watch presentations, but I do need uninterrupted time to complete things such as quizzes (since they’re timed). Discussion boards and papers can also be worked at piece by piece but I’m one of those people that likes to do them all at once. So usually after dinner is done and the dishes are cleaned up, that’s when I can dedicate a full couple hours to a paper or other assignment if need be.
I’m still learning how to juggle being a wife, a student, a home health aide for my aging grandfather, and a soon-to-be mother. In my spare time (ha, what is that?) I try to do what research I can for what’s left of my pregnancy and for labor, birth, and postpartum. Occasionally I’m able to read through a full Pinterest article on one of these topics, but mostly I just pin them for “later” and never get around to reading them. I guess the important thing is that I am making progress. Every day I learn something new and am able to get slightly closer to my goals.
It’s also comforting to know that I only have 2 semesters of college left before I get my degree! (One extra semester because I’m a transfer student). I just feel like there isn’t a place in my life for school now that I’m married and starting a family. I’ll continue to make the time for it though because I’ve put too much time and money in it to quit now! I want to encourage any other young (or not so young) wives or mothers who are in the same predicament as I am to do the same. It may seem like a lot now, or even like it’s not worth the effort, but it is! Even if you don’t get a job in that field, your time and money will be worth something in the end if you follow through and finish your degree. It sets a good example for others when we finish what we set out to do, even if there are roadblocks along the way.
I’ll be honest; it’s hard, but it’s worth it. It gets really stressful at times (especially when I think about trying to learn how to be a mother on top of all this!) but my husband is always there to tell me that I can do it. Not to mention the fact that many women do far more than this with multiple kids and somehow survive (please tell me your secrets). It boils down to staying motivated, working hard, and keeping your priorities in check. You can’t make a good life for yourself or even live a good life by just sitting back and watching it happen.
One day at a time,