As I was driving to school today, I realized with some alarm that I do not have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that I need to do. Or, rather, I do not have enough hours of solitude to accomplish everything. I can get the laundry done. I can make dinner. I can vacuum. I can do all the things that can be done while simultaneously refereeing playtime between the girls.
But the other stuff? The stuff that I can't do with the girls? That area is suffering.
Specifically, I have professional responsibilities--like grading and reviewing new textbooks and coordinating with the academic center about students' grades--that I'm behind on. And then there are the academic responsibilities--like studying. For the exams. That are next Thursday.
Even though I've set pretty low standards for myself ("Just do the best you can with the time that you have, even if your best ends up being sub-par by normal standards"), and I've even given myself permission to fail the graduate exams (because it will not be the end of the world if I don't pass them), I'd really rather excel. Because, honestly, mediocrity is not what I strive for. There are days, though, that I feel like I do nothing excellently, but just get by on a wing and a prayer.
When I look at my line up of things to do, I wouldn't say I'm worried. I wouldn't exactly say I'm stressed about it either.
Well, maybe I'm a little bit stressed.
Just a teeny tiny bit.
For my degree, I try to focus on the end goal. I keep thinking of a student I have in my class. Five days before the first day of class, she had a baby, her third child. Five days! Plus, she manages her own business, and she's a full-time student taking classes in her non-native language. She's getting an A in my class, and she reminds me that life isn't always easy but you do what you do because you have to do it.
She and I tell each other, It may be hard right now, but it'll be worth it in the end. For me, I'm hoping that one big "end" will come next Friday. Win or lose, I'll be done taking the exams. Then regardless of that outcome, I'll come home and step right back into my role as a mommy and wife.
It's hard to make sacrifices--whether it's getting a good grade, or spending time with my family, or making a really great meal. But I'm making them anyway. Because I think what I'm doing--teaching, getting my graduate degree--is important.
At least, most days I think it's important.