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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This weekend is not going well at all, and I'm looking for some advice and strategies to make things better.<br><br>
I am in grad school in a challenging program. It's two classes, but that is considered full time for the program, and I average 10-12 hours per week for each class. I also work about 30 hours a week, and dh works full-time. All three kids are in school. Dd1 also takes two dance classes, is in Girl Scouts, volunteers at the library and is active in our youth group. Ds is in a choir which practices 4 hours a week and has weekly performances and is struggling a bit with some school projects. Dd2 has special needs, is in dance class, and is in Girl Scouts.<br><br>
This weekend, I have three papers to write, a portion of a major project to begin researching, and a major work deadline. I had two online meetings this morning, dropped dd1 and ds off at friend's houses to work on school stuff while I took dd2 to a girl scout event. I ate dinner at the computer and have at least another 3-4 hours to go tonight. Tomorrow doesn't look any better.<br><br>
Dd2 is having a really, really hard time with my lack of availability. Even when I'm home, I'm not really "here" for them. And a lot of the time, dd1 ends up essentially babysitting while I take care of work or school. We are working on getting some sort of childcare, but it's not going so well. This week was also rough because dd had to be cared for twice after school by a babysitter she doesn't much like because I had work meetings I couldn't miss.<br><br>
I've got another year to go in my program, plus practicum work. I'm hoping to leave my current job in June and sub or work as a para in the fall, but that's not finalized. In the meantime, work is about to get more intense (major conference coming up, deadlines, etc.) and school is also ramping up with projects and meetings.<br><br>
Dh is really supportive of my schooling, so I'm lucky in that regard, but he's not happy with the stress level in the house. The stress is bad enough to be affecting me physically (delayed and unusual AF, and day 5 of a migraine cycle) and is clearly affecting the kids emotionally.<br><br>
How on earth do you balance this and not lose your mind? How do you keep the kids from resenting you, your job or school?
 

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In comparison: this is my life. I'm in an MBA program, which I wouldn't exactly call demanding but that probably takes about 15 hours a week. I work 25-35 hours a week from a home office. I'm on the board of our church and handle their PR, play piano for the children's choir, and am active in our local NOW chapter. My kiddos are little - 1 and 3. I have PT daycare for them. I work everything else around their schedules. Here's what we do/have done:<br><br>
The biggest thing we've done is to make our lives simpler. Last October, in preparation, we cleaned out everything. Every. Room. It took a while, but the time investment was worth it. We spend 1/2 hour everyday doing housework. That includes cleaning up from the day's activities, cleaning the kitchen, and folding laundry. It makes things go much smoother.<br><br>
I don't know how you would swing that given that you already have everything going on, but if you could swing some time to work on it, I think it probably would make a tremendous impact on your mental health.<br><br>
How old are your children? The first thing that jumps out at me is for you to arrange it so they're more independent. They're in a ton of activities. Is there any way you can cut back/carpool/have hubby take over some of those duties? My mom went to nursing school while my sister and I were small, and she was a single parent and working. For about a year, it was rough at home. My mom, who's normally super-involved and compulsively clean, just had to let a lot of things drop and say "I'll get to it when I'm done with school." I think you have to look for things like that in your schedule.<br><br>
We also get everything out on Sunday. We cook 2-3 entrees and get out everyone's clothes for the week. We have a rack in the bathroom, and everyone's weekly outfits go there. It saves time during the week so that we aren't rushing and pissed off all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My children are 12, 10 (well, 11 in a few days <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">) and 7. We do have some routines that help, including getting everything ready the night before and using the crockpot for meals during the week. Dh is great about helping with housework, especially laundry. We also do the "Ten-Minute Tidy" with the kids to at least try and control the clutter. A deep clean and de-clutter would do wonders for keeping thigs under control, but I can't imagine where I'd find the time. Mostly, I'm just learning to lower my standards (this weekend, they're really, really low <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> )<br><br>
Mostly I think I'm concerned with making sure the kids' don't feel sort of emotionally abandoned. Dd1 and ds are old enough to understand why I'm going to school, and they do understand that studying is hard and takes time. I'm not sure, though, that they can accept the lack of time, especially since they've dealt with a lot of that since the birth of dd2 w/SN. Dd2 is just not in a place to understand. She wants mommy, and she doesn't understand why I'm home but can't play or cuddle. She's started crying at bedtime, something she's NEVER done before, and is also getting upset when I leave for work. It's hard for me to see her like that, and I have a lot of guilt about it.
 

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I just wanted to give you a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> and let you know that I try to get a bit of time each day to be silly with the kids and just laugh. The tension can get high here, too--my dh was in school, graduated, and now I'm in a graduate program, homeschooling one child, have two others (4 and 14 months). We don't do a lot of activities right now, because I just don't have the time (but we have a lot of homeschooling activities... so, maybe we do do a lot <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">).<br><br>
I'm thinking of finding a mother's helper to come play with the kids so I can get some stuff done and not be a stress case... and have a refreshing face and someone older just to play with!<br><br>
I'm looking forward to how others handle the stress--I have to get out of here (go to a café or the library) and work at least every other day otherwise I go crazy with stress over school. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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It sounds like you can't realistically do everything that you're doing and also have a workable family life. Could you hire household help to clean and do the laundry, perhaps some basic cooking as well? How about a mother's helper too to drive the kids to some of the activities so you can stay home and get your work done before the kids get home, so you can spend time with them after their activities?<br><br>
You need to find a way to carve out time every day when you are focused on the kids, and can relax and enjoy your family life. I find I need to make sure I spend a couple of hours every weekday that are focused only on talking/hanging out with my kids. And we need to spend time together every weekend, being together as a family. Not just hanging around the house, but actually going and doing something meaningful, even if it's playing cards or cooking together, or going to browse at a bookstore and then have dessert at a restaurant.<br><br>
As the saying goes, you can have it all, but not all at once.
 
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