In the middle of my mad rush of work today, I looked around and was inspired. Inspired to take some silly photos of my current “office space.” Yes, the living room floor. This is where I sit, at times leaning over the coffee table, madly putting together presentation marks. If you look closely, you can see that I give my students far too many comments. The perfectionist is alive and kicking. But don’t look too too closely. You may see the dust bunnies by the baseboard. I don’t usually sit on the floor. But I’m sick with a miserable cold this week, and somehow the floor, put together with a mug of tea and some miscellaneous toys, seems friendlier than the kitchen table. Especially when the kitchen is full of dishes and broken baking promises.
Here’s another favourite spot. You’ll notice the box of kleenex for my runny nose, the ubiquitous pb and honey, and the mug of coffee. I did say tea in the previous paragraph, didn’t I? Oh well, it’s usually tea.
I’ve had an odd teaching schedule this term of mostly late afternoon classes, resulting in me dropping off Kaiya around 10 or so in the morning at daycare just to return to the house for a frazzled mix of schoolwork and housework, which on good days leaves me feeling fulfilled and productive, and on bad days leaves me feeling, well, just frazzled.
I technically have an office at Brock, but it’s shared, and it’s cold, and it’s windowless. So apart from the times that I have meetings with students, or when Starbucks calls my name, I work here. In this cluttered, imperfect, but very inviting space.
I’ve been lucky this semester. I’m a girl who wants to have it all: family, friends, a satisfying job, and a clean and organized house. And this semester, I’ve gotten pretty close. Family? Double check. Satisfying job? Also double. Friends? Well, okay, they’ve been a bit neglected the past month, but that’s what Facebook is for, right? Ha. A clean and organized house? Of course! (But don’t you dare come over unless you call first!) ;) We’ve even managed to keep healthy meals on the table. And a weekly pot of homemade soup in the fridge. (Bragging rights!) And although I’ve been relying on a lot of peanut butter and honey sandwiches this term, the peanut butter’s all natural, the honey is local, unpasteurized goodness, and the bread is not white! So there. :P The only negative result I can gather is a slightly sticky mouse.
The balance is always delicate, isn’t it? And for each of us, it’s different. I could not be my authentic self without the professional outlet my teaching provides, but deny me of my morning cuddles with Kaiya, or my evening talks with Jeff, and I become a bear. While I’m thankful for the non-9-5 schedule which allows me a lot of home time, I easily become frustrated when the marking piles up and I lose my evenings.
But if you know me at all, you know I'm not going to settle. Yes, I may have weeks where the dust piles up and the invites are left unanswered. The past month has been a testament to that. But I will never stop striving for the perfect balance. Family, friends, work, and home. Each one plays a significant part in my life. And I'll keep working at finding the fit that works best for me, for Kaiya, for Jeff.
Who says you can't have it all?