With the year gone by and the new decade upon us it seemed fitting to do a kind of assessment or reflection on what worked well or not in the world of WoLFi or trying to interconnect work life and family in my life:
Trials and Tribulations:
> me taking on too many ‘work/study’ commitments in latter half of ’09 left me time poor, stressed and overstretched (this year I will try to leave a bit more time to enjoy life and ‘do nothing’ or at least just ‘hang out’. Yet I know that this year I have quite a few more things I need to achieve, I realise I am quite driven, both an assest and a liabilitly. Note to self – just because you are writing a thesis on work life family balance does not mean you know how to do it)
>Mr G compensated for my time poverty by taking over most of the household/Possum duties, leaving him with less time for paid work and leaving us financially stretched and stressed. (Need to redress sharing parenting and unpaid work with paid work to a more balanced and less see-sawing model)
> Possum found to many extra curricula dance classes, combined with her penchant for late nights was causing her to be over-tired, and difficult to wake on school mornings (cutting back to just one dance class a week improved this greatly, as did our finances, though late nights remain an issue).
> Mr G’s sister became very ill with cancer in the later part of ’09 (I found out in the middle of a conference I was presenting at in Canberra). I felt bad not being there for Mr G when he heard the dire news. Mr G flew to the states to be with his sister which was a great confort to them both. Mr G’s sister is the most devoted and loving aunt to Possum. The worry, and fear of losing this precious person has affected us all (it also has made me realise that life can be fragile and fleeting and somehow deserves our full attention not some distracted or rushed version of living. Motto for next year keep it simple, keep focused, and appreciate the now)
>Possum experienced her devoted dad away for the first time, which was hard for her, but brought out a very resilient side of her personality. I discovered that life as a sole parent, even of just one child to rear, is quite tiring and yet strangely intimate. You really get to know your child and they you. I appreciated the support network around me in a new light while Mr G was away (grandparents who minded her , a special auntie who spent hours with her in the pool, P0ssums best friend’s mum who offered to take her for a day so I could do my Xmas shopping, a neighbour who invited us over for dinner, a colleague who bought her a fizzy drink to sip on while we had a meeting).
> It has been a year of achievements. Our family unit has grown stronger through the trials. Possum has done really well at school both socially and academically. She knows she is loved and knows how to love back. I have passed my mid-candidature review and are now officially at the half-way point of my PhD. I have conquered my fear of math by achieving a Distinction in both of my statistics courses. I have relished being able to teach a course on gender, sexuality and society to some really delightful university students. I have to admit I am really enjoying the intellectual challenge I have undertaken, despite the hard work. But I must also pay homage to my supervisors who are not only mentors, and fabulous role models but are supporting me most generously along this challenging path.
In summary, I have to say like many years, this one has had its challenges, joys and sorrows and while Wolfi has worked well at times, other times it seems to have collaped in a frazzled heap. Yet despite the undulations – it seems to me that those support networks – the grandparents, the aunties, the neighbours, the friends, are really so important to helping cope with the bumps. Some of these wonderful people you can call on at a moments notice to help you out. I realise and appreciate that not everyone has this kind of support around them and yet I think it is the glue that holds as together as a society. Wolfi just wouldn’t happen without strong and versatile interconnections, ones that give and take, a help us along this journey of life.
Happy new year. I appreciate my blogging community for this same support and flexibility, through word drought and gabfests, it is wonderful to know that there are others all struggling and surviving, all with their own stories to tell.
Would love to hear your WoLFi trials and tribs, if you have time.