Off Balance

My daughter
My daugher, in the fancy party dress from her first birthday party

Occasionally, I read news articles or blog posts about the concept of a “work/life balance”, especially in academia.  Inside HigherEd recently had two interesting posts on the topic, ‘Balance’ is a Woman’s Issue and Balance is a Myth.  Normally I read these with interest, but also with a feeling that I have things pretty well figured out.  I have a wonderful partner who shares equal responsibility for housework and child care, and a library director who understands that 1-year old little girls have no respect for working hours or project deadlines..

The last couple of weeks have tested this perceived balance.  First, my husband became ill, and rapidly got sicker and sicker.  I finally bullied him into seeing a doctor, where we learned he had pneumonia.  His need for rest (and inability to get that rest while taking care of our daughter) piled the majority of household duties on me.  I now have an increased appreciation for those without supportive partners!  Second, a close family friend died unexpectedly.  In order to attend the funeral, I needed to re-arrange some reference desk hours and reschedule an information literacy session (thank goodness for understanding faculty).  At home, I needed to prepare my house for guests since I had family flying in to attend the funeral.

All of this led to a couple of off-balance weeks and more laundry than any sane person should have to do.  The feeling of having things pretty well under control is (at least temporarily) gone.  I am playing catch-up at work after taking a few days off to deal with everything, made even worse by the fact that my schedule has been very full this week.  At home, laundry sits unfolded, dishes tend to pile up, and I have a stack of household paperwork left undone on my desk at home.

So far, my schedule for next week is more open.  If I can make it through one more information literacy session tomorrow, a webinar with our our director of sponsored research and a seminar with the library director and provost, I think I might make it.  Hopefully I will have the time to work on projects that I have left languishing on my desk this week.

But the laundry may still not get done.  I hate laundry.