When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~Sophia Loren
In the past year I have experienced a world entirely different from one I could have ever imagined. First, I returned to school full time in pursuit of my Master of Social Work degree at UNC after having been out of school for … well, a while. Second, I had my first child in June while I was on summer break from school. Now, I’ve returned to school for my second and final year of the master’s program as a mom.
The work-life balance in graduate school can be exceptionally challenging, and it seems the scales are always tipped towards one more heavily (hey, work, I’m looking at you!). At this point I’m only a month or so into returning to school as a mom, and my days at school are filled with learning and inspiration. Funnily enough, my days when I’m not on campus are also filled with the same things.
I’m learning how to focus and multitask, and I work every day to find that balance between school and home. In the time since I started writing this, I’ve emailed with a professor about a project I’m working on, changed a diaper (or two), fed my baby, moved him to the swing, let the dog out, fed the cat (best not forget the furry babies!), and changed what I’ve written several times.
I was able to set my schedule so that the classes I am taking only meet on Tuesdays. I am only on campus one day a week, which has been a sacrifice in some ways (at times I feel disconnected) and a blessing in many others (I am able to spend more time with my baby). My weekends are spent working on assignments and readings while my husband, who has been an incredible support to me throughout this process, primarily takes care of our baby. I try to take time to do one fun thing as a family every weekend just to find that balance, and one of our favorite things to do is visit the NC State Farmers Market in Raleigh. (It’s amazing!)
While I never thought it would be easy, and I know nothing that is worth it ever is, I also know that I’m fortunate to have this experience and I embrace every step, stumble, crawl, and baby coo along the way.
Me with my little helper!