Thursday, 22 October 2015

Masters: A Month In

The other day I had a little bit of an over-think about the whole post grad thing whilst folding washing, making Alice’s dinner and sorting through my reading list.

After this I thought I might put myself on “meltdown watch” – I have a lot on, I need to make time, but this has always been the case. However, then I got thinking. I was wondering what it was that was making me suddenly realise that this is actually a challenge. It is not the uni work – sure that is ridiculously a massive amount of reading. But I love that. I get it. I understand it, and I enjoy the reading. It is very dry. Diplomatic history is most definitely not “my thing” but I enjoy it all the same. I am hoping that this early leg-work and ton of reading gives me the tools I need to write my 15,000 word dissertation next year. I love it, I truly do. What is difficult is the actual juggling of responsibilities. This is the real test for me. I am a mother, this naturally means that I have to be there for my children. Here is a snippet of that this week:

Emily (aged 12): Emily has been creating an advertisement for school this week. So she talked a lot about this to me. She is also concerned about the popular girls in PE not passing the ball to her. She has also had too much Internet time recently and we are trying to get her to switch off at 8.30pm in time for shower and bed time. She also needs new clothes and we have been discussing new winter boots and a possible shopping spree this week. She also had an audit for late homework which she stresses that everyone in the class got due to a misunderstanding.

Alice (aged 4):  Alice had homework for the first time this week. She jumped up and down like a giddy fish when she brought it home, the most excited child to receive homework ever. So we had to discuss the washing as we sorted, talking about pairs of socks, matching items and patterns, shapes and colours. I had to fill in her feedback form and I wrote that we tend to teach Alice things like this all the time so she had no problem with it. Nevertheless she enjoyed it and we are looking forward to our next homework. Alice also has eczema and so we are trying to get that under control. She has to wear pink on Thursday for breast cancer care and I filled in a parent contact form and a password-form for secure pick-up. We also have to remember to pass Alice’s ballet shoes on to Nan to do a bit of sewing. The straps have to be sewn to Alice’s size and although I have lots of strengths, using a sewing machine is not one of them. We also completed Alice’s school application.

Rosie (aged 2): We have been working on road safety with Rosie this week. We have been walking to school and back, holding hands and explaining the dangers of the road. She is aware that the road is “Berry Berry dangerous.” (Sometimes she says “very”) She has also been wrestling Alice to the ground, sitting on her back and pulling on her hair. This is something that we have to keep an eye on. Rosie still wears nappies to nursery, underwear at her Nan’s and usually nappies with me as I haven’t got time to clean up after her all day – (she literally just pees/poos everywhere – last week she pooed in her wardrobe and it took me forever to clean.) So this is a consideration.

Never a dull moment!

The Home: Boring, boring housework. Washing, drying, ironing for five people. The usual. . No matter how many times I tell everyone to pick up after themselves, I always end up doing it. It seems I am the house manager and have to direct everyone else. Emily is reluctant to help, stressing the fact that she “put clothes away yesterday.” I put some washing on her bed yesterday, asked her to put it away and her response was “Errr GAWD….have you done a wash today or something?!” Yes, Emily I wash every day. Sometimes twice. Occasionally three times (see the pooing in the wardrobe incident.) Warren works full time and is also in a band, so he does what he can when he is home.

Home Events: As bloggers we get invited to events. All good. We love them. Our calendar is pretty much full. This includes me doing packed lunches, organising timings, blogging about it. I do this so that we can get out and about and spend quality time with the kids. Even if we don’t have blogging events to attend to, I try to fill out diaries with fun days out where we can – real switch-off time.

Home Admin: This week I need to cancel my gym membership, collect my contact lenses and call travel insurance. I also need to shop for food and plan the meals.

Work: I have two jobs, and so I flit from one to the next. I work around 21 hours a week, but I get the bus there and back to you can add on another few hours there. I love my jobs, both of them. They are stimulating and we’re very busy organising events at the moment so it is all go. I have had quite a few meetings this week, so I have lots to do and lots to think about.

So this is my week.

Oh no, I forgot. I am also doing my MA… that’s what this post is about, right….?

Uni: I have a 2 hour tutorial once a week. This is discussion-based. I love it. I love that I get to talk about what I love for two hours every week. I love that people have different opinions to me and see things differently (or the same.) I love going, I love the reading. It is heavy going and it takes concentration. This week I will read every night for at least three hours, and one hour on the bus. I also met with my adviser for half an hour to discuss my essay options. The essay is due in three weeks, so I have to plan some library time. I have already started thinking about it but I need to get a move on with my writing.

 And so...the “how do you cope?” questions are not getting answered because I don’t have time to answer them. My life is packed full, and I love it. I can’t prioritise anything because they are all so inter-linked. I work at the uni, study at the uni, my second job pays for my degree, I do my degree so one day I can maybe make a difference, maybe I will do a PhD and contribute to research, teaching and learning. I want to show my kids that they can achieve and to do this I need to make sure everything in the home is ticking along…

Despite me trying to separate my roles, I can’t. At an event the other day a woman asked “Are you the Wife, Mum, Student Bum?” and we laughed and I said I clearly should have thought I through before naming my blog that. But you know what, it’s true. This is who I am and it is so intrinsically linked all together that somehow it all makes sense. Even writing this now - the blog helps me to organise what is going on in my head, even if it does take time. It's essential for me.

I still get asked about coping. I get emails from students. As much as I can encourage you to reach for the stars and work hard for what you want to achieve: I can’t help you do it. I can’t tell you that you can do it. Only you can do that. You need to decide if it is right for you, and you have to pick your own path. I can only tell you about mine. You can look to me and think what I am doing is amazing or whatever. But it doesn’t come easy and it is not all fun and games. Education is tough, hard work and bloody expensive!

But it makes me happy. This is what I do, it's who I am. And all of these different component parts of my life make the whole.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely so interesting, exciting to think what you might be doing in the future...& the 'poo in the wardrobe' made me laugh out loud.


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