Last few days of work before a long summer holiday with my family. I feel a little guilty about such a long break, because I am conscious that my PhD has not progressed very much lately… I have been too busy reading my MA student’s dissertations and trying to re-launch the i-docs.org website. There you go, once you add things such as repainting the wooden windows and changing the blinds in the whole living room… my time is gone! How can this be?
Bizarrely, dealing with day to day life (managing the household, making sure the family eats balanced food, bringing kids to activities and parties etc…) are the things that take most of my time. And even more bizarrely I do not count them as “work”!!! The house/family stuff just has to be done, but it does not count… how can this be? There must be something very wrong with the accountability of working time in my head… or is it a “cultural” problem? Now that I think of it I had a working mother that was facing exactly the same dilemma: her day was starting when everybody had finished theirs… and I can remember her frustration when my father was reading the paper while she was cleaning up the table!!! Oh yes… I can remember!
Although I hope that times have moved on – and I am certainly freer than my mother was – I can notice that I have the same default position: house work has to be done, but it does not count. The problem of this position is that, since the hours of the day are limited, one is constantly in the position of “being late” or “not having done enough”. Hence frustration.
In my adult life I purposefully chose to be a mum “available to her kids” (contrary to mine that was constantly running). But I also chose to escape the “frustration trap”. Contradiction in terms? Very possible….
And yet, if I want to put my mantras into practice, I will have to face my coming month of holidays with the ecstatic joy of the lucky mother/woman that I am, and get rid as soon as possible of the stupid guilt – “unachieved PhD”, “unfinished book-shelves in the kids bedrooms”, and “unfinished i-docs website”. There you go: it is not that I have not managed to achieve what I wanted to do before leaving – this would guide me into the famous guilt trap – no… it is just that life is too short and that I am too committed to enjoy it! There you go, this feels much better already….
This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011