Ah, summer. A time for sitting on the lawn while your baby discovers what grass feels like when she rips it up by the handful. Time to spend with friends, at last, after a long, hard winter where–nevermind the seventy tons of record-breaking snow–you were “snowed in” under piles of student papers and a teething baby. Time, at long last, to read that list of 100 texts for your Qualifying Exams.
I’ve never been one to support the myth that teachers, even at the university level, “get the summer off.” We’re either teaching, prepping, researching, or sitting in all the meetings we didn’t have time to schedule during the semester, since we were busy sitting in our offices waiting for students to come see us. But, this summer, I am not picking up any teaching, and it feels marvelous. Granted, I’m not teaching so that I can work on my exam list and work as the primary caregiver for my daughter, while her dad picks up an almost full teaching load himself…but, it sure feels like a lighter load. So, I’m going to go with it.
Still, this lighter load is a load, and it needs to be managed. Balanced. My goal this summer is to be all there, in whatever I’m doing. It may mean I take the baby for a walk, leaving all devices and books at home, so as not to be taunted by all the reading I’m not doing. It may mean that I ignore the laundry and hunker down for an hour of active reading while the baby naps. Whatever I do, I want to do it with all my heart.
I’ll try to keep you apprised of the situation, as I work through this tightrope-walk. Even as I write this, though, I’m aware that babies aren’t the only things vying for people’s time as we all strive to keep our homeostasis in tact. What do you do to keep yourself in balance? Or, do you just say “screw it”? What does “balance” look like for you?