I’ve slowly been learning a tough lesson, over the past six years of my life. When I had Henley, I struggled so very much to get housework and yard work done. I tried and tried to do all the work while she slept and it never got done. I tried the same routine after Becca was born, getting up early to work on my masters degree or schooling Henley while she napped.
However, I have come to see that in order to be productive as a mother, I have to learn to accomplish my work with my children, when they’re awake, running about, underfoot and eager to help. I agreed to teach two classes this fall quarter, and while excited I’ve been very stressed about fitting everything in, which has led to procrastination. I finally decided to just get some work done yesterday morning. I dragged out my books and papers just as I got the girls busy working on their school books. And I got more work done in that fifteen minute study session than I’ve finished all week.
I pulled out my computer to work on my online course and syllabus while the girls bathed and had so much time to work, then plenty of time to hang out with Mr. Rancher once the girls went to bed. It’s about getting the necessary work done with the kids, not working around them.
EDIT: Yes, this was written several months ago and never published. The thoughts are still valid today. I am not currently teaching, though I am building an online course for the Spring. Regardless, I have the same amount of free time (read “very little”) and am still a big believer in bringing our work to the same table as our children and using small pockets of time throughout the day to accomplish whatever is on our task. Our children needn’t be a hindrance to personal or professional development. In fact, they can be highly motivating…as we’re discussing diligence in their awkward attempts at sums and handwriting, so too we can actually model diligence as we plug away at writing, studying, book-keeping, chores, really whatever it is that we work at, and we can model it right in front of our children’s eyes. Save the lecture, show them virtuous character through your example.
Also, have no illusions, I’m not the picture of virtuous character all the time. I model screen addiction and toxic perfectionism regularly as well. You don’t have to be perfect to be good. And good is good enough.