Friday, February 4, 2011

busy busy

As usual life is busy. It's too easy for me to reflect negatively and to reflect on what I haven't done. Work is really demanding, at the moment. I haven't been Chair of the department for very long, and I have to say that it's a steep learning curve. Each time I step onto campus it's a whirlwind of meetings, meetings, and more meetings. If not meetings I'm in class or responding to tens of emails a day wanting things from me. It's not a role that is natural to me; I don't like saying 'no' to people, I'm not especially organized, and, really, I'm an academic. I'm pretty introverted, I like my own space and time and so this is a new role for me which is challenging on many levels.

And then I go home to my boys (Rafi, Rich, and our two pups) and I have a small person who needs me very much, and a husband and pups, too. It's all very positive stuff; I feel incredibly fortunate and lucky and, really, I am. Raf is a dream of a boy (except, you know, when it comes to sleep), Rich and I have been together very happily for 16 years...

But what makes life wonderful and a life worth-living are the things and elements which are challenging, difficult, and stressful. There aren't many moments when you can stop and pause and take stock, it's a busy, convoluted life where I wear several hats - sometimes at the same time - as I move from being a mum to academic to administrator to partner to puppy mum to want-to-be athlete.

Here's how my last couple of days stacked up...

Wednesday night
9pm Bed, Rafi up at 9:30, 11:45, 12:30, 1:30, 3:30, 4:45....
Thursday morning
I sneak up at 5:30am to have a bit of time to myself, make breakfasts and lunch for Rich, and just as I sit down to drink some tea Rich is up with Raf, who hasn't gotten back to sleep. Give Raf his breakfast at 6:30am and then sneak onto the rower for a quick hour workout. Shower and then attempt to get out the door with Raf. Our nanny is away so I'm "working from home". Raf has other ideas and falls asleep on me as I nurse him. While he's asleep on me I respond to work email, check in with my secretary to email me documents, call the travel agent to make flight arrangements for a trip next week, respond to more work email... Raf stirs at 10:30. Give him snack, get him changed and then we're out for a haircut by 11am. By 12:15 we;re at the store doing grocery shopping. Schleping Raf around with me I unpack the shopping, check work email, respond to email as I make lunch (thank goodness for laptops), put a load of laundry on, give Raf his lunch, eat my lunch whilst feeding Raf who is not wanting to focus on eating, clear up dishes, put the rest of the shopping away, take Raf upstairs to his nursery to play with some of his other toys. I chat with my sister whilst I put clothes away and play with Raf, then all of a sudden Raf falls asleep on me as we play on the bean bag. I have some reading up there, thank goodness, so read while he sleeps and respond to email on my phone. Rich comes home just after 4pm and so I go downstairs to email adjuncts and work on the academic schedule for next year, 45 minutes later I realize Rich isn't going to start dinner as he's still upstairs and so I make dinner, eat it quickly, and while Raf is in the bath I jump on the bike for 30 minutes. Rich leaves at 6:45 for an evening class, and at 7:30 I take Raf upstairs. The afternoon nap was a disaster and it takes him until 9pm to get to sleep... Gah. It's my bed time so it's bed time for me, too...
Not too many wake ups last night (tooth finally through. But Raf up at 2:30, 3:30, 4:30...) and I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30 for the same breakfast routine. This morning I headed out for a quick run when Raf got up, came home, showered, nursed Raf, went to work, late for a meeting, a meeting at 10, another at 11, another at 12, another at 12:30, another at 2:30, which I missed. Worked on last minute budget items and came home at 4:15pm...

It's a lot to juggle. Sometimes I feel as though I am doing an okay job and then I realize that I am always-already behind in at least one aspect of my life. Tri training is a blessing but it;s also, sometimes, a reminder of how I'm failing to get everything done. This was another week of no swimming. Wednesday's snowstorm meant that everything was closed, and this afternoon I had planned to go after my 12;30 meeting but I had so much to get through on my desk so I chose to get admin done and ditched the swim.

It's all about making choices, about reviewing what needs to get done, about whose needs are most pressing and trying to respond accordingly. But did I mention that this is hard (as it is for everyone, I am guessing), that it's trying to find what is perhaps an untenable balance because the truth is we ask a lot of ourselves; we try to cram much too much into our days and something has to give. Sometimes I feel lost in the busyness of it all, I feel as though I am subsumed by others' needs, and when I run, cycle, row, swim, and more it feels like one of the few times when I feel a bit free. Perhaps, more particularly, it's one of the few times when I feel unleashed from others' needs. I hope that doesn't make me sound like a self-centered person but with Raf's sleeping issues I don't really get to reset at night. indeed I have a little boy lying on top of me or next to me with his arms tightly hugging me around the neck. It's lovely but like any good introvert I need some space and time which is my own.

here's to a wonderful weekend!

Raf's new haircut!


  1. i'm glad to have found you here.

    and yes, i get this, and no, i don't know how you do it all.

    i love you al.

  2. Hey, you, thanks for finding me here. I think what I write here is pretty dull, but it's nice to have a little place where I can talk about sporty stuff more.. and also a bit about managing everything.