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Attention Parents - We Need to Take Time for Ourselves (As an Educator and Higher Education Mom)

I'm a higher education mom. In my profession, if there are no guts, there is no glory for individuals in my field. This is especially true for higher education mothers on the tenure track. We teach, we research, we provide service for the community and the profession, we commute, we raise children, we cook, we clean, and we experience life. As our little ones learn how to navigate life on their own (at the wee ages of two or three) we are writing papers, grading papers, and discovering new ways to incorporate our higher education life with our home life.

Some of us teach in-person, while others teach online and hybrid courses (both face-to-face and online), but all of us have the ultimate goal of reaching our students without neglecting our families. I've commonly referred to this balancing act in higher education as the marrying process. We are married to our work and our home lives.

As part of this blissful matrimony, we need to find ways to keep our married lives fresh! Ultimately, this freshness comes with a long-term expiration dates (when our littles ones become mature adults). Think about this - when your child(ren) turn/s eighteen (18), will you regret NOT spending an evening, cherished activity, or helping them study for an upcoming test? Have we (as millennial and higher education mothers) become too busy to focus on our families through the tenure (and post tenure process)? I am guilty of this.

With my right hand up, I made the pledge that I would not miss out on my little one's activities (even if it meant grading an assignment later than intended). However, I do not want to neglect my students as well.

1 - Integrate time with your children in your electronic calendar (including Saturdays and Sundays).

2 - Make time for YOU in your schedule.

I am very guilty of this and I neglect myself often.

3 - Find your higher ed (or educator) mom hacks.

Even if it includes a new pair of shoes or a new way to a meeting location OR find something that makes you feel better about your daily walk around campus.

4 - Discover your mommy friends in education

I've discovered new mother friendships with students and other faculty/staff while enabling other friendships to wither away because of different interests or different life expectations.

5 - Determine your non-negotiables

What are you willing to "take on" and what are you willing to "let go"? If you determine these aspects, you can live life without regret. For example, if you did not apply for a job, 60 days later would you regret not submitting an application?

6 - Eat healthy foods, but incorporate them on your terms.

Even if it includes including a sandwich bag of baby carrots, black grapes, and a Special K bar, I always pack a snack, or two, or three in my bag!

7 - Plan a family trip months ahead of time!

If you plan your family trip months ahead of time, you can usually obtain a good rate, great seat selection, and amazing hotel deals. Always this will give you for which you can look forward.

8 - Keep everything organized. Make Excel spreadsheets your friend (especially Google Sheets).

Here's the link to Google Docs - http://drive.google.com/
I like the fact that you can access everything from your telephone!

9 - Make monthly and annual goals for your tenure, research, and service responsibilities.

10 - Take a snapshot of your successes and document them in your e-portfolio!

By iPhone, YouTube, or simply pen and paper, write down your successes. If no one knows about your successes, did they really happen?

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