Tag Archives: grad school

Grad school parenting

20 Apr

Are you in grad school? Are you thinking about having a baby? Before I had a baby, here was a typical day on fellowship:

9.00: Wake up. Have a leisurely breakfast, coffee, internet-checking hour or hour and a half. Maybe go for a run or to the gym.
10.30: Start working. Work in a desultory fashion for a few hours. Maybe throw in a load of laundry once a week.
1.00: Lunchtime! Watch some TV.
2.00: Back to work … or not. Maybe shower, maybe take a nap, maybe do a little crafting, maybe take the dog to the dog park.
3.30: Leave for tutoring. Tutor.
6.00: Hang out, watch some TV, knit.
7.30: Make dinner. Eat dinner. Watch TV or play guitar hero.
11.00: Bed

Sure, my schedule wasn’t always like this. When I was taking classes AND working AND tutoring AND teaching, I worked like a demon from 6AM to 9PM most days. But fellowship years were pretty sweet, and even with only working a few hours a day I was ahead of a lot of my cohort in terms of progress to the degree. But then I got married and had a baby, and then my husband (thank god!) got a full-time job. And now my days look like this:

4.30: Eyes open. Why am I awake? [Baby cries]. Oh. Maybe she’ll go back to sleep. More insistent crying. Nope.. Get out of bed, stumble to nursery, nurse baby. Pee. Get back in bed and lie awake for half an hour.

7.10: Eyes open. Why am I awake? [Baby cries]. Five minutes later, husband’s alarm goes off. Drag self out of bed, get baby, come back to bed with baby. Baby latches while I desperately try to fall back asleep for a few minutes. Husband is asleep again.

7.24: Alarm. Baby coos and sticks her hand in my mouth, trying to separate my jaw from the rest of my skull. Husband gets up and feeds the dog, starts the water for coffee, and gets in the shower. Change baby’s diaper. Prepare breakfast for baby. Grind and pour coffee. Start folding laundry while keeping an eye on baby to make sure she doesn’t choke. Smell milk: milk is bad. Black coffee today.

7.45: Husband can’t find pants or undershirt. Undershirts have mysteriously gotten mixed in with baby’s laundry, which I have not put away in days. Pants are also located. No time to iron a shirt today.

8.00: Wipe down strawberry-covered baby. Dress her. Husband leaves. Feed dog and cat. Set diapers to soak. Notice that I am still not dressed and I have not brushed my teeth. Put baby in baby jail to prevent her from ingesting anything and everything left on floor. Dress and brush teeth.

8.30: Shove a few bags of milk and a change of clothing in baby’s go-bag. Collect baby and bag; get to door and realize tactical error: baby is now outside and dog is inside. Go back inside and put baby in baby jail. She screams. In order to stop screaming, take baby back to car and buckle in carseat. Rush back inside to collect dog. Cat gets out. Collect cat while hanging on to dog’s collar with pinky finger. Shove cat inside, lock door, get leash fastened on dog. Put dog in car.

8.35: Drop baby off with my mom. My dad follows me to the car place to drop the car off to get its brake pads replaced and then drives me home.

9.00: Stick week-old oatmeal in microwave. Start dryer and washing machine. Load dishwasher.

9.05: Sit down at computer with cold coffee and oatmeal. Check internet, then start writing.

12.30: Eat last night’s popcorn and an apple for lunch. Pump.

2.00: Realize that I still have not showered. Debate taking a quick nap versus showering. Pump and then shower.

2.30: Walk over to parents’ to pick up their car, since mine is still in the shop.

3.00: Pick up tutee from school. [This is unusual–a favor for the parents.] Drive to library. Tutor.

4.30: Retrieve baby from parents. Visit for a few minutes. Head home. Put baby in jail, straighten up. Prep dinner. Play with baby.

5.30: Husband is home. Hand baby to husband, finish dinner prep.

6.00: Dinner. Most of it ends up in baby instead of on the floor. Success.

6.30: Give baby a bath. Try to keep her from using the hot water faucet to pull herself up. Diaper baby on floor, because baby now hates changing pad. Husband studies.

7.00: Playtime and reading time for baby. Husband reads her White Noise while I clean up dinner.

7.20: Nurse baby.

7.35: Read Goodnight Moon for the nth time. Put baby down. Baby goes right to sleep, thank goodness.

7.45: Evening! Best time of day! Watch movie and knit. Make popcorn.

10.00: Baby cries. Wait a few minutes. Floss, brush, wash face. Crying escalates. Go in, pick baby up, rock. Put baby down. Leave. Baby cries. Wait a few minutes. Crying escalates. Go in, nurse baby. Baby falls asleep. Put baby down. Leave. Baby cries. Husband goes in and gives baby tylenol–maybe she’s teething. Husband rocks baby and checks diaper. Baby, now wide awake, cries. Go in, take baby from husband, rock baby, put baby down, leave. Baby cries. Give up, get baby, take baby in bed, turn out light. Baby seems to fall asleep. Baby suddenly realizes she’s in bed with her two favorite people and gets REALLY EXCITED. Starts babbling, rolling around, grabbing noses, eyes, faces. Starts kicking excitedly. Get up, restore baby to crib. She stays down.

11.20: Sleep.

4.30: Why am I awake?

The thing is, this actually isn’t so bad. I do have time to write because we moved to be near my parents, who babysit at least a few hours every day. If it weren’t for them, I’d be taking care of Abby all day and working at night. And I love having a family, and I adore my daughter and my husband. But the change from Miss Independent to Adult Lady is pretty dramatic. And involves a lot of laundry.