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Showing posts with label priorities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label priorities. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Oh where, oh where has my ambition gone?

Today was a bit of a strange day for me. For the past 11 months I have been trying to juggle being a full-time mom with also being a full-time student, lecturer, and trying to complete my dissertation (I say "trying" because I am not doing a very good job). I am a good mom and a good lecturer (at least according to my course evaluations), but am having a difficult time trying to squeeze in the role of good student, as well.

This morning I had a meeting with one of my committee members. Her role is to help keep me on track, and to provide support and mentorship, where needed. She is also a sounding board for any ideas I come up with regarding the direction that my dissertation should take. We haven't met in months but today I had to do some follow-up interviews with former clients, so I scheduled in a quick meeting with her beforehand. I got to her office, sat down, ... and drew a blank. I realized that I didn't have anything to tell her - there were no new developments in my research, no grand ideas to share, and no questions to have answered. As I sat there in silence, I had no idea what to say to her. I could have told her that McKenna just learned to fall asleep on her own. I could have told her that my house is a colossal mess, my dogs haven't been walked in days, and I haven't done any of my Christmas shopping, but I couldn't come up with anything to tell her about my research. So I told her the truth. I told her that I am having a hard time balancing the roles of mommy and academic. I am finding it difficult to shift mindsets from diaper changes and walks through the park to statistics, academic language, and the competitiveness and isolation of research. Two years ago, if you had told me that I would be sitting around in my pyjamas, playing peek-a-boo, and contemplating dropping out of my graduate program, I would have choked to death on my own laughter. And yet here I am. Do I still want all of those things? I think so - but more than anything I want to be a good mom. I want to be there for my daughter for the next few years. I don't want to entrust her early learning, exploring, and development to a daycare. Part of me is disgusted with myself for this sudden change of heart. This is not the direction that I pictured my life taking. I have not been able to keep up on new developments in my area of research, my motivation is at an all-time low, and I feel like I am letting a lot of people down. I am close enough to the end that it doesn't really make sense to give up now, but I am struggling with summoning the motivation and the drive to finish this thing. What have I gotten myself into???

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Getting Back At It

I have wanted to teach and do research for a long time. A very long time. When I found out that I was expecting, I swore up and down that it would not slow me down, that I would still finish "on time" (whatever that means). I would still graduate with my PhD, and would go on to teach at a university, and maybe even run a consulting business on the side. The possibilities were endless....

Now, 5 months post-birth, I find myself toying with the idea that maybe my priorities have shifted a little. Life just doesn't seem as simple as it used to. I can't just go to school and spend 6 hours working at my computer. I can't be present for all of the meetings and workshops I would like to attend. And to be honest, often I don't want to be. I love being home with McKenna and seeing her grow up. While I don't think I am cut out to be a stay-at-home mom in the long-term, I am enjoying this time we have together immensely. I'm starting to think that maybe my career ambitions need to be scaled back a bit to accomodate more of a family life.

Recently, McKenna has started going to a home daycare three days a week. Two of the days I am teaching, and the third day I have set aside to work on my dissertation. Tomorrow will really be my first real day back at it since I had McKenna. Sure, I have collected data since then, but I haven't sat down and written much of anything since December. I'm dreading it. I feel like I'm starting at the beginning again. I no longer feel like a curious, competent graduate student, I feel like a tired, overworked mom. But I want to do this. I am so close to being finished, and I know that I would always regret it if I gave up on this degree. Whatever it takes, I will walk across that stage someday soon. I just need to buckle down and force myself to get back at it.