I was struck by Earnest English's recent comment in which she said how much she hates having to tell her family to leave her alone. Her comment made me think of how much guilt I have felt as a mother and wife. It also reminded me of something I read in the book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. In the book, Payne talks about a therapy session with a mom during which he asks, "What's the first word you think of when you think of your role as a mother?" Her answer is worry. Payne goes on to talk with her about ways to turn that word into something else, something more positive.
As I read, I thought, my first word is guilt. And then I thought, how messed up is that? It's not joy or love. It's guilt. My husband doesn't feel guilty about about working or surfing or going on vacations with his friends. Why should I? (I know the answer to that question--I'm a woman--but still). At that moment, I decided I should let go of the guilt. I would tell my daughter (who, since age two, has complained about my work schedule) and the rest of my family that we should all focus on joy, even when we are apart, even when we are working/schooling/etc.
I started trying to let go of the guilt, and mostly, for a while, I succeeded. I thought and talked more about the joy in life. Instead of apologizing about my work, I talked about the joy it brings me and the good it does for others. I even wrote joy on a chalkboard in our kitchen. Then something happened (an argument with hubby on top of a guilt trip from daughter) that derailed my plan, and I fell off the joy wagon.
Things have been easier this semester because I'm on sabbatical, but it's going to get even worse in 2016 when I'm working full-time while trying to finish the PhD thesis. Once again, I'm going to have to be intentional about what words will define my relationships with my family. And I need to be thoughtful about what words define my relationship to my teaching and to my colleagues and to my research/writing.
Not all of us in this group are parents, but most of us are caretakers--of elders, of church members, and of ourselves. And we have relationships with our research/writing/teaching as well. It is possible to think differently--more positively--about our relationships to TLQ and the people in our lives who affect (or are affected by) our TLQ?
Also, on a somewhat but not totally related note, while reading Y.S. Lee's blog (she writes young adults mysteries), I came across her post about how she protects her creative time, along with a link to another YA writer, V. E. Schwab who quotes 18 writers on their daily writing habits. No pressure to read these, but I thought they might be inspiring diversions if you need such a thing, especially if you don't have any interest in thinking about the words that define your work and relationships. But beware: These posts have good advice about how to be productive, but they might also make you despair that you do not live the "life of a writer" and that you have a full-time job and dependents to care for. Read with caution.
If you didn't post goals last week, feel free to post older goals or to just start fresh.
1. Exercise 4x
2. Finish data entry
3. Finish CR draft without input from collaborator
1) nightly check-in (plan the next day, plan food, plan exercise)
2) stay consistent with exercise (4x) and cleaning the bunny hutch (2x)
3) write 3x
4) 1 hour total decluttering
5) make afternoons available for family office hours; do one special activity per kid this week
1) Conference prep (this is sort of TRQ-ish, but if I include looking up possible publication venues for an article based on the presentation, it fits my TLQ goals for the session).
2) keep to a regular sleep schedule
3) walk (let's try at least 2x again)
4) deal with most urgent household/financial matters
5) make & freeze one more pot soup if time
1) Keep it together mentally and make new schedule work
2) Shorten reviewed paper
3) Project planning for next phase of new work
4) Continue reading project revival
1) Nightly check-in to plan exercise and work.
2) Complete half of revisions for Chapter 1 based on friendly-reader feedback.
3) Exercise 4x (2x swimming)
4) Spend 1 hour per day reading primary sources
5) Spend at least 3 hours writing proper text for Chapter 2
6) Take Tuesday off to swim, have a nice lunch with husband (if he's free), visit the bookstore, and maybe catch a matinee (or maybe just read) before dinner with family. #heaven
7) Call to arrange a room/studio for writing retreat (I'm rethinking the camping plan)
-The big thing I have to do this week is not get totally backed up with big grading. I'm getting 20 portfolios on Tuesday, so I need to be really big and adult about this and get four done on each day I don't teach. If I get five done on each day I don't teach, then I can have one day off from grading over the weekend. I really need to do this. I have such a problem getting papers back. This is not TLQ, but it's absolutely my goal this week.
-continue taking magnesium
-make sure to eat decent food in addition to the leftover cupcakes!!!
-get decent sleep
-don't take on anything else until you catch up on service: figure out who to delegate things to!
-nothing is worth killing yourself over. move like water.
1. Move like water (thanks, Earnest English), Breathe.
2. Do what needs doing when it needs doing, to a good enough standard, no second-guessing.
3, Find small moments for quiet and embrace them (instead of procrastination activities that just leave me feeling more panicked than before).
1. do more printing for scary project and hopefully collect another data set.
2. finish anonymising the house project data set.
3. three hand-crafted items for Hallow'een.
1) so I will put first sleeping well, general self-care and aiming to make transitions into appreciative pauses - whether that's a walk around the ground floor of work, making a cup of tea and enjoying the first few mouthfuls on the back step, or just taking a minute to notice that the task I just finished was well done and to enjoy its being done, I can definitely do with more of them.
2) get ready for NaNoWriMo! I may be insane, but I'm going to try it. I'd like to spend 0.5-1 hour a day faffing around with some bits like redrawing the sketch map of the town my characters spend a lot of time in, making a list of the names of all the side characters from the last two years worth so I don't reinvent them again (I have three M---- females who got horribly mixed up last year), and making a very few notes about plot things I might include. Generally gently wander around the edges of the pool before leaping in next Sunday!
3) Have one solid attempt at the grant again, see if I can find a different hook for the project, and rework the budget (again)
4) Finish some refereeing
5) spend one hour on some TLQ writing which is not Repeater or the grant - there are several options, just pick the one I fancy.
1) clean house today--it is a definite must do
2) cook for week--another must do because I work late every night
3) Write 5 days of lecture on Ancient Greece
4) Write 5 days of lecture on Absolute/Constitutional Monarchy
5) Spend 1 hour on behemoth--aiming for 3 days
1. Return ILL books that are due, after adding stuff to footnotes about them.
2. Get through next steps of course planning so I can do book orders. And do this before it becomes TRQ!
3. Start thinking about my contribution at the next conference, which is really off in another direction from what I've been working on.
4. Return to exercise
5. Go back to not using iPad in bed