Tuesday, March 4, 2014

10 ways to balance grad school and motherhood.

1. Make your Supervisor fall in love with Baby (or Baba)!
 Yes fellow mom-dents, you have to be a bit sneaky here.  Have a repertoire of cute baby stories and anecdotes about your (UN)bundle of joy that you can drop at strategic moments for maximum 'AWW' factor. This will ensure a no-fuss pass when you need to stay home to clean snot/vomit/poop or play hookey to cuddle and smell that lingering baby smell in their hair.  Take your baby/toddler to the lab and make sure they are extra cute the day of (bribe them if you have to!).  Cooing and babbling for babies and/or singing twinkle, twinkle for toddlers are reliable options when all else fails.

2. Balance is over-rated, but needed.
  Balance sucks! You will feel like a see-saw on most days trying to balance both. You will fail (miserably) but that OK. Everyday is a new day.  When at the lab, work like a dog. You have 4 or maybe 5 hours of uninterrupted work time. Make the most of it. Try as much as possible to prioritize your evenings and weekends for the munchkins (which feeds into point 3....).

3. Prioritize your life.
Work is work, but the munchkins will always take precedence. Mommy guilt is especially strong for mom-dents. You will feel guilty about (a) being broke and (b) not giving them the best and everything you hoped and dreamed for your 2 year old (this applies to me).  Make every effort you can to enjoy your little one. Smell them. Kiss them and savor the feel of their little hands in yours. This is what you will remember and recollect when staring at your computer screen and feeling sorry for your self.

4.Find a co-pilot.
Unfortunately, deadlines will come and there will be moments when school will demand your undivided attention (that bitch!). That's when you will need your hubs, significant other, parents or friends to pitch in. Cajole, threaten, bribe and promise the moon, but get the time to work while someone watches and keep the kids entertained and preferably out of the house!

 5. Adopt CTFD (calm the f@@k down).
 Motherhood and school can both be unpredictable and and things will not go your way. Baby not going to sleep? CTFD. Lost subjects due to inept monkeys? CTFD.

6.Find your outlet.
Motherhood and grad school share a few things in common. They can both be thankless, monotonous, grueling and shockingly soul sucking. Don't crumble under the added weight of both. Find your outlet and cling to it like a baby on a tit! FaceBooking, TV and blogging, whatever sails your boat, do it!

7. Friends for sanity.
Mommy friends, single friends, friends who will still talk to you are your treasures. Keep them close and bitch to your heart's content. Nothing lightens the load like a good, down and dirty bitch fest. You are allowed to vent.

8. Accept that your grad life post-baby will not be the same.
There is only so many things you will be able to do in a day. Don't sign up for a bazillion committees and be very choosy about the conferences, talks and/or lectures you 'should' go to.  Depending on where you are in your trajectory and if you can, AVOID lectures and talks like the plague!  Spend that time instead doing something useful (and preferably not blogging about it!). Now conferences (the best fracking part of grad school.. *squeeeeee*). Forget about them. If you do end up going, accept that you will probably not go to some exotic far away location, in another time zone. You will in all likelihood, fly/drive/ bus it the day of,  do your thing and rush home to the warm nuzzles of your little one(s). The flip side of which is that it leaves no time to explore that city, or hang out.

9. Focus on the prize.
One day you will be out of school and have a kick ass job, live in Hawaii, hubs and munchkin and I will travel the world... oh wait I digress.

10. Coffee is your friend
Enough said.