Last week I received a major shock to my inner sense of well-being. I had just spent the drive home from work congratulating myself on achieving nirvana whilst still possessing a heartbeat. I was very happy with how my life was panning out. My family was and still is healthy, my children delightfully rambunctious, my relationship with hubby comforting and my workplace peaceful and content. I had smiled with happiness at the joy my friendship circle brings to my life and was anticipating a night plonked on the couch with my crochet and peppermint tea.
So after the usual busyness of dinner and bath-time of three children 8 years old and under, I kissed cheeks, read stories and tucked them into bed. I will mention that my inner sense of peace was challenged briefly by one child that did have to be tucked in multiple times but that is the nature of a feisty three year old that struggles with impulse control. The anticipation of my evening of crochet and tea was a siren call but I firmly put that aside as I quickly decided to check my CSU account as I wanted to get familiar with interact2 before the session started.
And there it was. The subjects and their outlines. At first I was excited and opened the outlines up to read the tasks and then that excitement quickly became dread. Both subjects I had enrolled for had assessments due on the same day as the another one. Further inspection of these dreaded documents only revealed that the tasks were heavily weighted and very heavy on the word count. It was 8pm and my inner sense of peace and happiness was overtaken by a sense of dread and anxiety. My panic stricken brain could not compute how I was going to balance my work days with my family commitments and now academic pursuit. Was I actually completely insane?
Insanity has often been bandied around me by well meaning family and friends. I have a habit of biting off more that I can chew. Like moving interstate solo with three little children (one an infant of four weeks) with a deployed husband. Or starting and finishing a portfolio for full registration in just under six weeks. Is that perseverance or tenacity or just plain insanity.
It’s been six days and my fear is subsiding… what will the next six days bring?
The last Thursday. It’s not the last Thursday of the month, nor is it the last Thursday of the school term. Today was the last Thursday I could have to myself for a long time.
I am very passionate about a work life balance. Granted, it is not for everyone as for many, long hours of work are essential to cover living expenses. But in my own little bubble world of middle class mediocrity, part time employment has enabled me to have an active and engaged role in motherhood. Even though my youngest is three years old, I still feel like my kids need me to be around.
I had the privilege of growing up with a mum who worked school hours. Consequently I spent my afternoons lounging on the couch scoffing biscuits and regaling stories of the days adventures to my mother. My children are less fortunate. They shuffle between afternoon activities and after school care. Their school days are often 8-9hrs long.
So I have Thursdays off. On Thursdays I am a parent first. I do the school run and hang around for the chit chat. I take the toddler for sneaky milkshakes and donuts. In the afternoons, Abby and I snuggle for our naps together. I still get great joy from the way she refers to our naps as ‘mummy snuggles’. I do the school pick up and have a battle Royale with the car park crush. We eat afternoon tea all together in the backyard whilst I get bombarded with the days events. The big kids do their homework whilst I draw pictures for the baby.
On Thursdays I also look after me. I attend a weekly craft group whilst Abby goes to a community run playschool program. It’s only for 3 hours a week but it’s the only guaranteed time I truly get for me. These craft sessions have gained me more than just spotlight points. I have learned how to be patient cos impatience leads to unpicking. I’ve learned numeracy in trying to work out yardage and the stuffing it up by cutting fabric without checking. I’ve learned literacy skills by reading patterns and instructions. I’ve learned how to use various pieces of technology in my quest to make quilts. I’ve learned how to respect and interact with women of such varied backgrounds. I’ve learned how to problem solve, think critically about pattern matching, analyse my work and evaluate my process.
I love my Thursdays. It is because my Thursdays bring me such joy, it will also be there to reward me when this semester is over. Continue reading