Saturday, May 3, 2014

Study + Mommy = Insanity

I am 17 days away from the start of quals.. that means I need to learn EVERYTHING in 16 days. This past week started full blown study mode, no more lab work... But I still had the requirements of my normal grad school schedule. I gave my final to the course I am teaching on Monday and presented my last talk for my seminar course today so now I can focus on just quals.

Oh wait.. no I can't.. I have this little lifeform that relies on me for just about everything! The Mommy guilt is strong in this one. This past week was pretty hard on us and the next two do not look to be getting any better. There have been lots of times this week where I've had to tell him I can't play, Mommy has to study.. I can't build, Mommy has to study.. Ok yes you can go out in the sand box but Mommy has to study! Please can you do something quiet and without me so I can study! I feel like a broken record and I know it is frustrating him as I am his only playmate.

I took Wednesday off from studying while he was home. We had made a deal that if he did not get any strikes or homework at school I would take him out to dinner. He fulfilled his side so I did mine. We had a lovely dinner at his favorite restaurant and then we went to the mall. Found some Star Wars things on sale and so he got a few new trinkets and I got jeans. Once he went to bed, I went back to work. It was a glorious day.

This weekend will be interesting.. I cannot afford to take the entire weekend off. I HAVE to study, the pathways will not memorize themselves. Next week it will undoubtedly be more of the same, even more focusing on studying and less on playing/hanging out with Boo. The week after my craziness will be at epic proportions!

I am already on edge, snapping more frequently and feeling frustrated most of the time. I cannot imagine how crazed I will be when I get a week closer. It's a weird sensation to be both wishing and dreading that time would move faster. There is no way I would pass quals if they were today.. but I just want them over! I have been trying to study for quals since January.. and I did get a lot of reading and notes made for the massive amount of information but there is still so much to master. 

Finding the balance in life right now is very difficult. Passing quals is incredibly important, I want this PhD so very, very badly. Yet the Mommy side of me feels astronomically guilty about not giving 100% to Boo. He is very sensitive to my stress and attitudes.. he has expressed a lot of anxiety this week. I do not want to make him more anxious or harder for him when he is finally starting to get into a good groove at school. So I've tried to come up with a plan.

My hope is that since I do not have any lab or course work to do these next two weeks I can get a solid 8 hours of studying in while he is at school/after care and then when I pick him up, weather dependent let him play on the playground while I study for 30-60 minutes.. go home and take 3ish hours to focus on just him (including feeding him and any homework necessary). Get him in bed and then get another 3-4 hours in. With any luck, that will minimize the neglect he is already starting to feel.

I do have to keep in mind, however, that we have different ideas of how much time I actually spend with him. In my mind, if I am not working then I am spending time with him.. this includes making dinner, helping with homework, overseeing bedtime routine, watching him play, etc. But in his mind I am only spending time with him when I am physically playing in exactly the way he wants me to be playing. I think the only way to make this truly work so that he does feel like I am spending time is to be sure that for at least 30 minutes I meet his standard for "time spent together."

That's my plan at least. What have you done to help deal with stressful situations and kids?

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