Sunday, April 19, 2020

Some questions about balance


My friend Shannon asked on Facebook how people are separating weekends from the rest of the week, and it was such a good question. IT'S SO HARD because, really, all of the days blend together.  

How are you marking time between M-F and S-S? 

 Here's what we're doing:
  • Friday night s are movie night (even though to be completely honest, the last thing I want to do is hang out with the kids for some extra time on Friday-- but more about that later). We also eat junk food for dinner and have ice cream or candy while we watch the movie.
  • Saturdays are really lazy-- like, we seldom get dressed before lunch (a departure from the norm where everyone gets dressed right after breakfast like we are actually going somewhere). I work on Saturdays because while I can keep up with daily maintenance during the week, I cannot do any sort of deep, uninterrupted thinking, and I have several involved projects going on. Working by myself for a few hours on Saturday feels like a wonderful luxury after the week. 
  • Sunday: Family clean day. We clean the house like crazy


Ok, another question: how are you balancing working from home and school for the kids?

I noticed last week that I was spending the whole day annoyed because no one would let me work, and Ben is working crazy hours and is busy literally all day from about 7:30-7 when he forces himself to stop checking his email.

So, I decided to change my expectations of the day and devote basically every waking moment to the kids. If they each need individual time for their school activities, I give it to them even if the last thing I want to do is sit on the floor and watch a phonics lesson on YouTube.

Someone wants to play go fish because they are bored in the afternoon? No problem. I am here for that because honestly? It is more fun that yelling at them to stop fighting or begging them to leave me alone.

I have been trying to sit downstairs and watch a movie with them mid-afternoon because Disney Plus is awesome and also because that's about 90 minutes of work time for me, interrupted only by snack and drink fetching.

So, I work uninterrupted for 90 minutes before they wake up, 90 minutes mid-afternoon, and and hour after they go to bed. The other 4 hours are spread out between 7 am when the kids wake up and 8 pm when they go to bed. Sometimes, I get long chunks and can usually pull off another hour between breakfast and the start of school, but sometimes, I am 20 minutes here, 20 minutes there.

 I put all meetings on the calendar, but Ben's usually take precedence, so it can be stressful. 

Because my class was fully prepped for the semester when the pandemic hit, I have had to record all of my remaining lectures (DONE!!!) and rewrite exams (DONE!!), but the bulk of my teaching time is spent talking to students via email or on the phone about their final papers and GRADING SO MICH GRADING.

There are 107 students in the course, and I have a TA, but she is really overwhelmed writing her dissertation prospectus and dealing with the ramifications of shelter in place, so I have taken over most of the grading. I am OK with this. I like reading their work, and grading is the kind of thing that I can do in increments, so everything is working out.

The large class I direct is going well, I think. We had to rework the exams, and I deployed a TON of content from the online version of the course. We are checking in with our instructors, but so far, things seem smooth. I miss our staff meetings, and I am looking forward to seeing everyone in the fall semester. WITH A BABY!

For me, accepting that the kids need me more than I need to work uninterrupted and that I can find the hours in the day if I am creative about them has really boosted the happiness factor around here, but it does not seem to be the most efficient, and I never have any time to read. I am working on that.

I am also doing most of the housework, and it is hard to not feel like I am am working the hardest, but you guys. IT IS NOT A COMPETITION. My work is flexible, so I have time to do these things AND succeed. I know all of this, but it is hard not to feel like a martyr. Only a few more weeks like this and then school is out for summer. I am on leave from teaching in the fall, so things will slow down for me.

But, still, I want to hear how others are making it work.

Coper sometimes needs incentive in the form of total junk food to do his work **shrug**
 Masks to do a quick curbside pharmacy pick up
 LOVE THIS ONE THE MOST-- Tiger King for the win!
 The kids get really salty right before dinner. We have cut off all snacks at 4:30 because otherwise the grazing is constant. They usually play together and fight to the death right before dinner, and this game of go fish turned violent in no time.
 Starting the garden!
 Looking pregnant! I think* I am 23 weeks today, but I may have lost count.
 Creepy takeover of Barbie's house
 PREGNANT STEREOTYPE.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

We have been homeschooling for 8 years, so this isn't new for us. I have always worked part time, teaching 1-3 sections online for our local community college. So my work hours normally are probably 1/4 to 1/2 of your work hours.

I set aside 8:30am to 3pm for homeschooling. During that time, I do check my work email for student questions, but I don't do large blocks of work most of the time during those hours. If I decide I need to do a large block (normally grading a big assignment), I give the kids most of the day off of school. Since we school year round, I have that flexibility luckily.

Normal days, between 3 and 5pm, they have to spend at least 30 minutes outside and clean their designated rooms. Then they are allowed screen time. This gives me time to get dinner started and get work done. I also have office hours two days a week from 7:30-8:30am. Then at night after the kids are in bed I do anything else that has to get done. I try to do the big planning when my husband is out of town at nights. Or if he isn't traveling (like right now), I plan a few days off of school to do the planning and prep work.

As for weekends vs weekdays, the lack of school work is the big difference right now. We also have church on Sunday (in our family room via YouTube these days), which is actually a nice change of pace for us. We also do a bigger breakfast on the weekends, which makes it feel different! I normally get a little extra deep cleaning done on Saturdays, especially now since I have no chauffeuring to do.