Academic Work-Life Imbalance

Daughter 1 at Smartboard

Back in November, I wrote about trying to achieve work-life balance as an academic mom with two small children, two demanding dogs, and an academic spouse. I must confess that I have not attained this goal, but rather have succeeded in attaining its opposite–academic work-life imbalance! That is, I tend to work a lot. Perhaps too much.

I have been highly productive, academically speaking. I’ve applied for five grants this school year, three in the past two months. I secured a couple of internal grants and a small external grant so far, so my track record on grant applications is pretty good. I have more than ten publications in the pipeline. I’ve submitted three papers to refereed conferences this year to date. I’ve got three funded projects: one project is currently in data collection and analysis stage; another is about to begin data collection pending ethics approval with the help of a great RA; and the last is still in the early stages of the hiring of RA(s) and applying for ethics.

My teaching load is heavy, with around 90 students in total, but I’m enjoying teaching my three (2 graduate, 1 undergraduate) courses. I’ve managed to secure wonderful guests both within in my Faculty and from other institutions like University of Toronto and McMaster in my graduate research methods course. We’ve been experimenting with loads of new technologies in my online graduate course on e-learning. My B.Ed. students are currently on practicum, but I look forward to seeing them next month.

For service, I serve on two committees. I chair the Learning Technologies Committee, where I’m trying to implement infrastructure to support innovative teaching and learning with mobile technologies. I also serve as a member on the Faculty Advisory Council, where I get to liaise with the Dean, Associate Deans and other members of my Faculty to move our faculty forward.

This does not leave me any time to exercise, pursue hobbies, or spend more than a few hours a day with my family around the dinner hour. My spouse understands my situation, but is getting tired of grumpy, tired academic spouse. So, I’m going to try to stop working every single night until midnight or later. I may even check out a yoga class. I’m consciously trying to avoid burnout because while I’m always keen to work, I keep getting sick, which suggests that I need to take it down a notch.

I’d like to spend more time with my daughters while they are still little, because they are growing up too fast! My older one starts junior kindergarten next fall. Looks like she is all ready for school. She’s got the Smartboard all figured out!


One response to “Academic Work-Life Imbalance”

  1. Balance between life and work is hard. Let me know when you figure it out…

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