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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Re-evaluation and Rejuvenation

I have to apologize for my lack of content in the last few weeks.  I've been thinking about my decision to go to school while my daughter is so young.  It is natural to re-evaluate your decisions every once in awhile and certainly it never hurts to check yourself before you wreck yourself.  It all started like this . . .

I was doing some volunteer work for church and I met a fascinating woman in the process.  Since we had a lot of downtime between customers for festival tickets, we had an abundance of time to get to know each other.  She works in quite a different industry than me and also runs her own business.  As we chatted about the realities of full-time working and full-time parenthood (in my opinion, there really is no such thing as part-time parenthood unless you mentally check yourself out of your kid's life), I began to think about my schoolwork and the stressful weekend the family had.  We had run from place to place getting chores done and in my so-called "downtime" I was behind in my schoolwork, not to mention that work was feeling very non-rewarding at the moment.  Then a friend stopped by to ask if I'd be willing to sponsor someone through the process of joining our church, which involves a very serious time commitment and an even more serious mental commitment.  At this point I was standing in the rain and I just had it.  I said that no I couldn't sponsor someone as I was barely together myself.  After she walked away, I said "That's it I'm quitting school."  

The remark wasn't callous - I truly believed I was done at that moment.  I wanted a break!  I wanted to sit and veg in front of the TV every night and maybe knit some.  I wouldn't really gain much time with the munchkin as I don't ever try to do schoolwork when she's awake; at most I would gain three hours on school night.  But I was drained.

A few days later, I made an appointment with the faculty advisor to discuss a leave of absence.  I wanted to quit for awhile and then re-evaluate whether I was truly done.  The appointment was set for the day after I came back from visiting my in-laws.  

On the plane to the East Coast, I got all my homework done.  I was finally caught up!  I spent a few wonderful days with my fun family-in-law and rested my soul a bit.  While reading the homework, I had some great academic discussions with my husband and realized I understood what was happening with our economy for the first time, and why it really mattered - as in how the decisions by our leaders and the public have such a dramatic effect on our daily lives.  Maybe this b-school stuff wasn't so bad after all.  I even squeezed in a visit to one of my company's other locations to see how they were doing and say hi to a few long-distance friends.  

I discussed my thoughts with my mother-in-law.  While my husband had said he just wanted me to do what I really wanted, I needed another person's opinion.  Was this school stuff taking a toll on my daughter and husband that I didn't see?  We had a great conversation.  I will spare you all the details but I ended up knowing that it was worth slugging it out in school and I wasn't dragging the rest of the family down as a result (thank you Mom Mom!)  As she pointed out well, as a mom you have to nurture your own soul if you want to nurture those around you.  

I left the East thinking maybe I would stay after all.  I cancelled the advising appointment.  The next school day I went up to my professor's office to get the results of my midterm.  He said that I was excelling in the class and he was glad I seemed to be very engaged.  That really sealed it for me. 

I did make some changes as a result of all this contemplation.  At the beginning of every semester, I struggle with the right amount of studying and work to do.  It is always a panic.  Towards the middle of the semester, if I am doing well, I relax a little and don't freak out if I don't read the next chapter until an hour before class.  I'll be looking in the spring to relax more towards the start of classes so I don't throw everyone in the household into a tizzy with me.  Also I left a little of the guilt (there will always be guilt) and promised myself to enjoy learning again.  As the munchkin would say, "Learning's my favorite."

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