Tackling graduate school as a new parent is an interesting task. And I do mean tackle; any free time I have to complete readings or to write papers I have to wrestle to the ground and sit on until I can force it to submit, and then I am able to get something done…maybe.
It’s the curse of the procrastinator. We do not finish things until the last possible second. We thrive on the adrenaline surge that only happens when we are trying to whip off a 20 page research paper a day or two before it is due; for me, unfortunately it seems to be when I do my best writing. The last semester I spent in school had actually gotten better; I started papers at least a week in advance, and would have them finished days before their actual due date, which for me previously was an unheard of phenomenon. So naturally I thought that since I had trained myself to do this during the spring semester and summer, that I could do it now, too. Wrong. Well, at least wrong in the sense that I thought I could write papers the way I used to, even when I wasn’t procrastinating.
As it turns out, most things typically take a little longer to do when you have a baby. Academics unfortunately are not excluded from this rule, much to my chagrin. Readings take hours to complete when you are interrupted by feedings, diaper changes, and a little one who just wants you to play with him. Papers, I have discovered, take exponentially longer than they used to for the same reasons. And why wouldn’t I want to spend time playing with my little boy, instead of spending hours researching and writing for a person who will spend 5 or 10 minutes reading my paper and not bothering to even comment? It seems like an awful waste of time. Not that furthering myself professionally is a waste of time, because it is certainly not, but the hours being poured into writing could be much better spent reading articles…or, playing with my son.
Which brings me to my next point. There is nothing like a paper being due the following day to make a person want to do all those random projects around the house that they’ve been putting off for no reason at all. Make a cloth liner for the baby’s toy basket? Done. Put together that basket of cloth diapers that have been sitting next to the couch for three days? Finished! Fold the baby clothes that have been sitting next to the basket of cloth diapers? C’est fini! I am super mom! And it can go on and on. The problem with being a natural procrastinating type with a five month old is that there is now no end to the list of other things I can be doing. Being that I am in grad school with a seeming need to only get A’s on everything, this is a dangerous situation to be in.
Oh, and somewhere in there dinner has to be made, grocery shopping should happen, and various other things need to get accomplished. Thankfully, I have family who is able to help with those things when I do not have the time because a paper is due or readings must be completed. I honestly do not know how people do this without this kind of support. I would be in some kind of trouble.
Students have next week off since SUNY decided to give us our break in March, so thanks to this most recent assignment I had due, it has come to my attention that if I would like to sleep, I will need to spend a lot of that time working on upcoming assignments…a new trait of parenthood I’ve discovered is that my brain shuts off promptly at 10pm and my writing will become an incoherent jumble of words, no matter how much work I may have left to do. So, absolutely no more procrastinating for me. It costs too much.