Well, I was supposed to use the three week interval between my last day and the kids' last day to get an entire summer's worth of writing in, but AS IT TURNS OUT, I am not a little burned out after an extremely difficult semester. Once I surrendered to the burnout last week and took an intentional day to chill the eff out, I started feeling a million times better. Tuesday of last week I spent the day staring at my computer in complete overwhelm and felt miserable and defeated by the time I picked up the screamers from school. Wednesday, when the kids got out at 1:00, I determined would be a recovery day. I went to a hot yoga class and then had lunch with a friend and then finally ran an errand I've not had time for, buying a frame for a sampler I recently completed.
Yoga+sangria+indulging my old-lady hobby = much better day.
Thursday I was compelled to go to a weather balloon launch, which made it hard to make grand declarations about being off for the summer.
Because academics are thrilled to work for the love of knowledge, they don't need pedestrian things like MONEY to pay for CHILDCARE or anything like that.
Someone I work work with remarked to me near the end of the semester, just when I was teetering on the brink of panic facing down a summer with both no childcare and also bizarrely high professional expectations, "You're going to get so much writing done, now that you don't have to worry about summer research!" I responded flatly "Summer research is when I get ALL of my work done. Now that I don't have any summer money, I cannot pay for childcare. No childcare means that writing time is squeezed into the hour(s?) between dinner and collapsing into bed." The fact that I have to explain that I CANNOT WORK WITHOUT A SALARY to people is infuriating. But explain it I will, because if no one points out the incredible absurdity of continuing to function as if academics are bunch of monks we will never progress.
I can't even think about it without sending my limbic system into crisis mode.
I think this is what they call burnout.
This semester was incredibly hard for a lot of reasons and I feel like I barely made it through. I am completely dumbfounded by my fairly good teaching evaluations, because most of the semester was focused on convincing the administration I'm good enough to keep around, not by doing a good job in my classes, but by scrambling to submit a manuscript and prepare for a three-day job interview that began the day after Wes snapped his arm in half. Add in a kid spiraling into depression, lashing out at his siblings and having massive tantrums every night, the general state of things in this country, and the normal demands of caring for a house and five other people, and I wanted to run for the hills.
So now, writing all of this out, I guess I don't feel at all guilty about taking a few hours to recenter myself for the next EIGHT WEEKS of ALL MOM ALL THE TIME.
Yesterday I had back to back kid commitments from 8:00 AM until 9:00 PM. THIRTEEN HOURS, GUYS. When I walked into the kitchen after kissing the last kid goodnight, it was 9:20, I hadn't eaten in eleven hours, Ryan was making hot dogs and cutting up fruit, he had already opened a Belgian White for me. I immediately started crying. Approximately thirty minutes later I was drool-sleeping on the couch, having only made it through half an episode of Father Brown.
And now I am going to put on my big girl panties and tell the people I'm supposed to meet with at one o'clock today that I have not accomplished anything meaningful in the past seven days and that I will not be driving down.
And then I am going to re-evaluate the concept of "accomplishing something meaningful."