There are a few reasons I wanted to write this particular post. First, I know as a reader I appreciate getting a glimpse into the life of the person I’m reading and I assume that you, dear reader, may feel that way about me. Second, the lives of students (undergraduate and graduate) are drastically different than it was a generation or two ago.
Take, for example, my maternal grandfather who finished his Ph.D. in 1969. He, and by extension my grandmother (we often forget the sacrifices spouses make as the other pursues professional goals, but those sacrifices are sometimes immense), finished with money in the bank and six children. My father finished his Ph.D. in 1997 with a mountain of debt and four children. My husband and I will finish our M.A.s with 2 or more children and a mountain of debt.
Before I continue I want to acknowledge what a privilege this is, even with the debt. The privilege I have coming from a family of college graduates, and the privilege my children will have because they have two parents with advanced degrees, is immense. I do my best not to take it for granted.
Moving into the business piece of this post, I am sharing two types of days in my life. The first is a weekend day. The second is a regular workday.
8:30 AM – Roll out of bed and get my children
8:45 AM – Turn on some cartoons and get breakfast rolling
9:15 AM – Eat breakfast
9:33 AM – Give up on my children actually eating anything and start playing instead
11:30 AM – Fix some lunch, deluding myself the whole time that the kids will actually eat any of it
11:56 AM – After cajoling them to take one bite of their sandwich and, for goodness sakes just eat the banana, you give up and put the kids down for nap time
12:10 PM – Alternate between mind work (writing, reading, either for myself or for class) and cleaning up the house. This keeps my mind relatively fresh and keeps the health department from calling at my house
2:30 PM – Nap time is over. There is usually some playing, I fold laundry, and I start thinking about what to make for dinner
4:45 PM – Start making dinner
5:15 PM – One again delude myself into thinking anybody will eat the food or that I’ll get a hot meal. I may begin to wonder how the kids are growing so much since they never seem to eat anything.
5:45 PM – Start the bedtime routine. This may involve a bath, possibly cleaning up toys, watching cartoons, or reading a story.
7:00 PM – Last kid is in bed and despite the fact that I may want to crawl into bed myself I stay up for 2-3 more hours to spend time with my husband or mindlessly watch TV.
5:45 AM – The gentle buzzing of my Fitbit wakes me up.
6:00 AM – I roll over and say to Nateanite, “It’s time to wake up.” I then roll myself out of bed, pick out our outfits, and say “I’ll be downstairs if you need anything.”
6:10 AM – Turn on the tea kettle, pack lunches, and whip up something quick for my own breakfast.
6:45 AM – Go back up to my room to get dressed and get my kids.
7:00 AM – “Good morning,” I say gently as I walk into their room. “Noooo, leave me alone!” is what I hear from my oldest.
7:15 AM – After much cajoling everyone is dressed and sitting in the living room for our daily wrestling match to get their shoes and jackets on.
7:27 AM – We are rolling out of the driveway to drop off at daycare and continue on to work.
8:00 AM – Arrive at work and begin.
11:30 AM – Lunch time! I pull out my homework and begin reading and eating my food.
12:30 PM – Go back to work.
4:30 PM – Time to go home!
5:00 PM – Get dinner ready – maybe I was on top of it this morning and there’s something in the crock pot that’s all ready to go. But maybe not.
5:45 PM – It’s time to get ready for bed. I know this seems early, but keep in mind that until the age of 5 children need anywhere from 10-13 hours of sleep a night.
7:00 PM – Finally everyone is in bed. I may do more homework, but mental fatigue is a very real problem for me. I’m more likely to mindlessly clean up the kitchen, watch TV with Nateanite, and go to bed around 9:00 myself.
With all of this, I think it’s important to note that generally one weekend a month I am barricading myself in our office or leaving home to get school work done. I also find writing for myself a lot more engaging than doing assigned reading or writing and I am likely to do that in the evenings as well.
I find a routine to be helpful to get things done, in school or not. Are you a person who thrives on routine or do you prefer spontaneity?