I wish that I could say that Fall is in the air, but I live in Austin, TX, and we won’t be getting any cool weather until October at the earliest. However, the hot weather doesn’t stop school from starting for me and my boys. My older son is starting middle school, and his excitement is clear. My younger son is starting 3rd grade without his older brother to pester during the day, and I am going into my 13th year as a professor. Even for me, every school year brings new issues and challenges.
Over the past few months, I have had many of my life assumptions challenged. The “having it all” debate made me take a second look at how I manage my career and my time. Up to now, things have been pretty well balanced between my husband and me, he is comfortable handling things when I’m away, and I tend to do more because of my flexible schedule when I’m home. However, as this school year starts for me and my boys, I’m realizing that their school schedule and what I need to get my work done are going to be in direct conflict. On top of all of that, I’ve been taking on even more in terms of political commentary and community activism on the health and fitness front.
The feminist and overachiever in me is screaming, “you can do this, just suck it up and show everybody that you are supermom” while the pragmatist in me is saying “are you nuts?!” Another piece of the puzzle is that my husband’s job has become more demanding, and I can’t always ask him to take time away from work. So I have a variety of options in front of me — which I will admit is not true for everyone, I’m in a very fortunate position. I can hire more help (beyond the housecleaning and lawn work that gets done on a regular basis), I can drop some things from my schedule or I can go crazy. Option three isn’t really an option, and I think I’m going to end up doing some combination of the first and second option. The first step is admitting that I can’t do it all, I don’t want to do it all, and it’s not fair to myself or my loved ones to even try to do it all. I may not make it to every flag football game because I’m busy transporting my other son to his activities. I’m putting some of my community activities on hold until I can find someone solid to help me with them. The bottom line is that it’s OK to ask for help, so that life doesn’t get too out of balance and I can actually enjoy the time I spend with my boys, rather than worrying about how I’m going to make it through the day. As I have said before — it’s not about having it all, it’s about having a life.