Thursday, June 21, 2012

On Doing it All

This new season of life seems to demand more from me than I have had to give, be, and do before.

To quickly update you, Husband's losing his job (which was something I was surprisingly okay with) has resulted in two things:

One: his decision to go to college to get an electrical engineering degree.  He's really, really excited about this opportunity, and he begins taking classes online and at night in July.  The next four to six years will include a lot of night classes, since most of the courses for this degree are not available online.  We talked at length about how hard that is going to be, since he'll work during the day and then go to class or have homework at night, plus the responsibilities of being a husband and dad.  Since I'll be working full-time, too, it promises to be a little rough.

Two:  he got a job at a local electrical company and started last week.  It is turning out to be a little more than he bargained - they do piece work, which means they get paid per job completed, not by the hour, and Saturdays are expected as well.  He'd worked more than 40 hours in the first four days, and has left by 6 am each day this week.  He's exhausted.  He's also had several things going on in the evenings this week, so we're getting a glimpse of how rarely we're going to get to see each other once he starts classes.

Needless to say, this stresses me out a little bit.  Okay, a lot of a bit.

This brings me back to this season, where I feel a little afraid apprenhensive as I think I feel like I'm "doing it all."  Can any of you working moms relate? 

Once school starts, I'll be back to work full time.  I'll have four in-building Spanish classes, Student Council (a class AND a heck of lot of after school/evening time), and (most likely) an online Spanish class.  I nearly always have some sort of work in the evenings. 

I'll also have a baby to pick up from day care, feed, spend time with, and get ready for bed.  Since finances are tight and we want to be healthy anyway, you can add in preparing dinner for the family and getting my lunch ready for the next day.  I can't stand a messy house, so I'll need to make sure that the house is picked up and somewhat clean.  And I'll want to support Husband in any way that I can, helping him with his school-work however I am able.  He'll help as much as he can, because that was part of the deal when I agreed that he should/could go back to school - but it appears like he'll be gone a lot, and when he's home, he'll be exhausted. 

I'm not really meaning to complain here, nor to freak out about something I'm sure many moms do, but I want to be honest.  I'm a little nervous about how much responsibility I think I'm going to have.  Maybe it won't be as hard as I think it will be, but I think that until now, I've been able to be relatively selfish and focus a lot on my job (which I LOVE).  But my priorities are different now, and I want to do these things the best I can.

God has, however, been working in my heart in a few areas relating to this topic.  I'll tell you about that later, because for now, I'm off to get the baby up from his nap, finish the laundry, and get something to eat for lunch.  I'm thinking vanilla greek yogurt with a nectarine and some almonds mixed in.


  1. Being a working mom is hard, but possible. You can't "do it all" so just accept that perfection isn't attainable. God's grace is sufficient for our shortcomings. He doesn't give us more than we can handle but we can (and will) be brought to a point of desperation to where we can truly lean on Him to carry us. He has my family in the palm of His hand. I will say that He has challenged me lately to be open to not working...or to work less to make more space for my family.

  2. You know Beth, I honestly think that you are going to be exhausted and it may wear on you quite a bit. But a couple of things:

    One, if you guys are gone all day, no one is going to be home messing up the house, so the house should be relatively easy to maintain.

    Two, baby will be bigger by the time school starts back up for you so that should make things a little bit easier. With any luck, he'll be sleeping through the night (don't remember if he is doing that now or not) and it may work out that once he goes down for the night, you will have time to work on the picking up around the house, doing the work you bring home and helping your hubby with his school work.

    Three, you may need to get a bit inventive with the time management and/or lower your expectations about the house (just a bit) to get you through this season. Don't stress over a few things around the house. I've heard it said many times before that a parent doesn't look back and say, "I wish I had spent more time cleaning my house," Most likely it would be more along the lines of, "I wish I had spent more time with him as a baby (as a toddler)(as a small child)(etc.)" Also, maybe in the evenings, you and Hubby could sit there together, each working on your individual school things.

    But I totally believe in your ability to do this!

  3. Hey Hon - long time no talk! So, I'm not a mom, so I don't know what your experience will be like, but I'm just winding down off of 4 years of working a stressful full-time job, and commuting an hour to law school at least 4 nights per week. For the first three years, my hubby was working full-time and doing school at night. It was positively grueling, but I still wouldn't change it for anything. We are both so much better off for it, and we've always said, we're working so hard now, so we can enjoy life more later. You have to remember it's a finite period of time (though it won't feel like it), and you're doing it to better yourselves and your family.

    And it truly is a group effort. My family and friends sacrificed a lot during my 4 years as well, growing weary of my absence at family functions, my distracted attention, and my early bedtimes. I will say, though, I am forever grateful for their patience, and for not needing to remind anyone how important this was to us, and how helpful their support was.

    The part to strive for is time management. I always said the hardest thing about law school was managing my time. Once I got into a rhythm, it worked. It was never fun (well, at times it was fun I suppose), but it worked. Your Hubby will learn what works for him. For my first semester, I worked all hours every weekend, and then by the time I got to Thursday night in class, I could hardly remember what I had read. I hated life because I had no time for friends and family. Second semester, I started getting to work about 2 hours early and read for class that night. Then the information was fresh in my head, and I had more time to relax and enjoy the weekends. I decided that I would prefer to lose a bit more sleep as opposed to my weekends. I saved vacation time for big projects and final exams. Kinda sucky way to spend vacation, but it alleviated a lot of stress to work on a paper all day on a Friday, and then have my evening off. Since my hubby and I had time in school together, we would spend weekends in coffee shops when necessary. It was a nice was to "spend time" together, and make the experience a bit more shared.

    Other piece of advice for your Hubby is to find classmate support. My experience was absolutely enhanced (if not made) by the friends I made in law school. I found that evening students generally are older, more mature, and also working. The common experience encourages camaraderie, support, and enjoyment. I can't tell you how much we all leaned on one another, and how grateful I am to still have them all in my life. Everyone is willing to help out when you need it, because they know they'll need it in return. Make friends!!!

    I don't know what it will be like for you guys, you are a different couple, you have a baby (YOU HAVE A BABY!?!?!? :), and different demands. I just read how excited you both are for him to have this experience, and I know you'll make it work. Try to let go of some of the non-essentials (cleaning :) or give yourself some permission to at least slack a little.

    I won't say I am not so amazingly excited to have time back in a few short weeks, but I would still do it again. I had plenty of meltdowns over the 4 years, I was saddened when I couldn't attend events because of school, I desperately miss all of my hobbies, and have not taken care of myself as well as I should have. But I am so proud of the accomplishment, and even more so because I did it while holding a full time job, and haven't lost any friends or family along the way! In fact, I met and married my husband in the time I was in school! And I am so eternally grateful to my Hubby and my support systems for making it possible.

    I wish you all the luck in the world, but you don't need it - you'll all do great!


  4. Hey, friend! I am excited for you, in all these great things that are happening. But remember that God is Good. All the time. Yes, you can be a little apprehensive about what seems like more than you might be able to handle at times, but don't borrow trouble from the future. God is Good, even in the midst of StuCo craziness. Even when you don't feel in control. Even when there are other struggles that I don't even know about. HE loves you still. (And husband and baby too, of course.) My favorite saying, tacked up in my classroom? "Worry is a lot like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but doesn't get you anywhere." Love you bunches. And praying for you and your family. :)


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