Thursday, April 1, 2010

And here's to you, DOCTOR Robinson...

Thursday Apr 01, 2010

And here's to you, DOCTOR Robinson...

Your friends love you more than you will know
God bless you please, Dr. Robinson
The Wolfpack holds a place for you today
hey-hey-hey, hey-hey-hey
-Mrs. Robinson, Simon & Garfunkel (with lyrics just slightly edited by me!)

My apologies to Paul Simon for needing to tweak his lyrics a bit this time. But I have to give a shout out to two friends on their major academic accomplishments this week. First kudos (and song lyric inspiration!) go to my colleague, friend, and faithful blog reader, E, who successfully defended her dissertation this week. YAHOO!!!! Completing your PhD is a huge accomplishment, and this oh-so-talented woman has done so while working full-time and being a fantastic mom to Jay's future daycare classmate. And did I mention that she manages to blog in her voluminous spare time?! Rock on, sister - I am so impressed and can't wait to see you wearing the red cap & gown in May! (Did y'all know that NC State is changing its graduation gowns from black to red? Pretty cool!)

Second shout out goes to A, school-librarian extraordinaire and my most frequent blog commenter. She sent off her National Board portfolio today and now gets to hold her breath until NOVEMBER when she'll finally learn whether she earns the prestigious National Board certification. She feels compelled to point out that only 30% of applicants pass, but whether she's in the lucky 30 or not, I am impressed at the efforts she put into the application packet. It's been a long few months, but I'm hopeful that her hard work will pay off!

I am really proud of both of these talented women, and I admire the stick-to-it-iveness that they each have shown in getting to this point. Most of you know from my January & early February posts that I'm a grad student in Communication, and that this semester I'm taking a class on the use of social media. And the observant ones among you may have noticed that I haven't posted anything class-related in a while. Someone should have mentioned to me that taking a class the semester that you have a baby might not be the brightest idea. Oh wait, I think some of you actually DID mention that when I was expecting Jay. I listened then, and probably should have listened this semester. I thought that because the class is taught partially online, I would have plenty of time to work on it while on maternity leave. (Stop laughing - I really thought that!) I set a goal to finish my Master's before Jay starts kindergarten, and skipping one semester would mean that's not so do-able anymore.

I'm always amazed at people who manage to successfully juggle all the pieces of their lives. No matter how many times the Today show or Parenting magazine talk about how to create "work life balance," it is NOT easy. I think it's particularly difficult for women - even though we've been significant contributors in the workforce for a generation, we still bear the lion's share (or is lioness' share?!) of the "home" work ... the laundry, the bill-paying, the doctor's appointments, the meal planning. And when I see women who manage to balance not just full-time career and family but furthering their education at the same time, I am left wondering where they find the extra hours in their day. (I'm guessing they don't waste time on Facebook like I do!) I just take one measly class per semester, and I feel like I am not really successful in any of my priorities. I get my classwork assignments done, but I don't always complete all the readings - a quick skim is often the best that the textbook gets. I attempt to keep the Foster household running, but the bills usually get tossed into a pile until the day they are due (or occasionally a few days after they're due - uggh). I try to stay on top of things at work, but sometimes there are students whose emails go unanswered for a week, by which time they've figured out the answer to their question themselves. I get it done, but there are definitely days when I feel that I do a lot of stuff and don't do any of it particularly well.

So I just keep trying to muddle through and do the best I can with the 24 hours I get in a day. And I continue to take inspiration from talented friends like E & A who manage to do great things, and do it with a smile. I just have to believe that they, too, have eaten cereal for dinner, and eaten it out of a Cool Whip container because every bowl in the house was dirty. I'm sure I'm not the only one who does that, right?

Posted at 01:43AM Apr 01, 2010 by Jen Foster in General | Comments[7]

Jen, I can't tell you how much I needed this post this week! It is so easy to get overwhelmed and depressed because you don't know how you are going to make it until you can crash into bed. Reminding us all that you can do more with organization, determination, faith, friends and maybe a little loss of sanity, helps put things into perspective. Thank you!

Posted by crystal on April 01, 2010 at 09:07 AM EDT #

Awwwww...Jen, I don't know what to say. I guess now that the portfolio's in the mail, I should tackle the dishes and laundry. FYI -- I haven't fed my family in weeks, unless you count stopping by Whole Foods to pick up prepared meals and Chick-fil-a too many times to count.

Posted by Amy G. on April 01, 2010 at 12:06 PM EDT #

LOL! This reminds me of my visions of maternity leave! I was going to paint a border in P's room and finish all kids of projects. I think it is all like labor, you forget what it is like!

Posted by Bethany Watkins on April 01, 2010 at 05:33 PM EDT #

If there is one thing I have learned in life, it is to prioritize that which is important. And I must say proudly that you do that better than anyone I know. Spending time rocking your baby, visiting with family and friends, and letting others know you love and are proud of their accomplishments - those are the things that are important in life. So know in your heart that the education will get completed, the dishes and laundry will get cleaned, and the bills will get paid, late or on time. But most importantly, you are staying on top of what matters the most. You are a wonderful wife, mother, daughter, and friend.

Posted by laura on April 04, 2010 at 12:43 AM EDT #

You do an amazing job, too!

Posted by Lisa on April 05, 2010 at 08:23 AM EDT #

Thanks for the wonderful honesty. I *so* understand where you're coming from in terms of dishes, laundry, meals, etc.

You are a rock star of a Mom, friend, student advocate and daughter, not to mention graduate student. Don't be deluded into thinking that you aren't.

I think that I owe you lunch when you come back so that we can laugh about the many ways being Mom is more than a full time job.

Hugs from here!

Posted by Erin on April 06, 2010 at 09:46 PM EDT #

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