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Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

Tuesday, nap time. Buddy is still in his jammies after a busy morning playing with nana at our house. He’s sacked out on “the big bed” – the place he dreams of sleeping all the time. He is, however, always denied this dream at bedtime – poor kid!

I did get almost everything done for my class but yesterday morning I came home after dropping Buddy off at daycare and went back to bed for a couple of hours. Such is the price for staying up until 12:30 am writing a lecture for class (not to mention grading – oh the humanity). Staying up so late really doesn’t work if you have to get up between 3-4:30 and convince your toddler to go back to sleep until 5:30 or so. 

Tuesday is no day care so this morning was a lost cause work-wise. Buddy and I did some painting and then spent some time playing hide-and-seek in the “big bed” amongst all the pillows. 

Tomorrow however, I will do my (at least) an hour’s worth of work on the diss first thing in the morning. Which means that tonight I need to finish the discussion handout and preview the films I got from the library. I can’t believe how fast this month is going. I’m feeling that familiar sense of panic in my stomach – it is always there but now it is stronger. I’m coming to realize that I need to finish the diss not only to get a job, but because I want to know what it is like to not have this constant feeling of dread and low-grade panic with me all the freaking time. I’m coming to the conclusion that I will have no peace in my life until it is done.

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Ahem, yes. Well as I mentioned in my last post, this has been one hell of a week. But back on task. So far I have been working on discipline and working through the issues posed in that chapter. Here’s her definition of discipline:

Discipline refers to your ability to maintain consistent, productive behavior….Sure everyone has an ‘off’ day. If you are self-disciplined, however, you exhibit consistent focus in your day-to-day work, even if you don’t feel like it.” (pg.99)

And here are the sub-issues (so far) that I need to focus on:

  1. Finding and working with my natural energy cycles (difficult with a two-year old who insists on getting up at 5:15 am EVERY DAY!)
  2. Work regularly – stop putting things off until the last minute.
  3. I need to determine my priorities and make time FIRST for what really matters.
  4. I need to make my home office a place where I can effectively work without interruption.
  5. I need to have a better handle on the basics of everyday life and handle routine tasks around the house in a more efficient way.

OK, the first three are related. Partly it is an issue of energy, partly it is a sense of constantly feeling overwhelmed, slightly panicked and not at all up to the task, and partly it is just sheer boneheaded procrastination & laziness.

The cure is obvious – regular work on the diss that must take priority over everything else. So for this (next) week the plan is that for the days that Buddy is in daycare (including the days I teach), I will work for AT LEAST an hour first thing in the morning on the diss. Committing to that means that in turn I will need to be ready to teach on Monday morning – lecture and slides ready, film reserved, papers graded, so the priority for the weekend is teaching prep.

Non- daycare days are more difficult. I wish that I could just take one day completely “off” and maybe I should, so maybe that day should be Tuesday. If I have help on that day (from mom for example), then Tuesday will be the day in which I take care of all the little household crap that needs to get done and the errands like going to the post office and so forth. Weekends I have help from SG so I will need to work, but as I mentioned it may have to be on teaching although if things go well next week I will try to commit to at least an hour on both Saturday and Sunday to working on the latest chapter.

Similarly the last two are related. My office is a disaster zone. Tomorrow’s task is to dig out. Today I worked on getting the house into better shape. The linen closet still needs to be cleaned, as does the pantry, and my closet needs to be sorted. Furthermore SG and I need to sit down and figure out a plan for the weekend and for the week so we can be more on top of things. All of these issues are items that I am trying to tackle in the second book on being an Organized Homemaker extraordinaire!

Finally, I will make a sign – maybe a revolving wheel – outlining my status. Something like “Do NOT interrupt me unless there is a serious emergency,” “Do not interrupt me without 5 minutes warning,” “Interrupt me if you must” and “OK, I’m bored, come in and talk to me.”  We can see if that helps SG manage his interruptions better and creates more peace between us.

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Yesterday 7MilestoNowhere had a very thoughtful post about the structurally insecure nature of the academic job market and about the risk of putting our lives on “hold” until we land that perfect tenure-track job (which may never happen). Her post hit home for me because I recently went on the job market (as you may have guessed from my previous posts) and while I landed two on-campus interviews, I wasn’t offered either job. It is quite possible that I didn’t receive an offer for reasons entirely unrelated to the fact that the dissertation still isn’t finished (3.5 years after the research was completed…and counting) and I don’t yet have a major publication.

But I also know that my application would have been much stronger (and I might have gotten more interviews) if I were finished and on track to be published in a refereed journal.  I also can’t help but beat myself up because my department, and my advisor, do have excellent placement records and a number of my friends have received job offers while still ABD.

On the one hand, I know that in part, large part, this situation is a result of choices that I’ve made that I in no way regret, and that is why 7’s post was such a breath of fresh air.  I started graduate school shortly after turning 30 and finished the diss research when I was 36. I chose to try and have a baby because I didn’t want to wait – couldn’t afford to wait – until I had landed the job. So Buddy came on the scene and it has been wonderful. Then when he was nine months old, a close family member became ill, I took a leave of absence both to spend time with him and to take up some of the slack at home so SuperGuy could spend more time with him. It was the right decision. Finally, after our regular babysitter left for grad school, we tried a nanny-share with some friends – it was a complete disaster and wasted almost two months of my life and made both me and Buddy miserable. Although I would do things differently in retrospect, I can’t fault myself for trying to make it work at the time. I do regret  not listening to my intuition earlier, but that is a lesson learned.

But. BUT. I can’t fool myself that somehow circumstances beyond my control have kept me from getting this dissertation written. I have a block, a writer’s block of epic proportions. And so I have regrets. And here they are:

1. I regret not being a better advocate for myself in terms of getting therapy and treatment for postpartum anxiety. In retrospect, a prescription for anti-anxiety medication was not enough. I needed someone to talk to and I needed more help earlier. 

2. Related to number 1, I regret getting caught up in worry that we were going to go broke, that we were too poor, and that the other members of our new parent group (all from the same affluent area of the city that we live in…at the margins…in a rental) would look down on us. I wasted so much time and money on trying to get our tiny house up to snuff, and it was such a stupid waste of time. Seriously who gives a france? (not to mention the fact that we were smart not to buy in the bubble market – not that we could’ve afforded it but still…)

3. But the madness doesn’t stop there. I regret wasting countless hours and lots of money I didn’t have on a stupid idea of opening eBay store – which actually wasn’t that stupid but I just turned around and bought stuff we didn’t need with the money I made plus more, so yeah, stupid.  I put our credit and my marriage at risk and wasted countless hours until SuperGuy put his foot down and forced me to cut up the credit cards and to go into therapy. (This story has a happy ending – we’ve JUST paid off our debt – but it was such an unnecessary complication and brought so much stress and anxiety – I still can hardly bear to think of it).

4. Which brings me to my main regret. I’ve wasted so much time. Time paid for with a babysitter or with daycare. Time where I did housework, or worked on teaching, or did nothing at all productive when I could’ve been writing. Why can’t I focus? And more importantly, what am I going to do about it?

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