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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Grinding Away at Grad School

scholarships-for-single-momsHere’s to all of the women in university and grad school out there, who need to balance work and family life… while they study either to better themselves or their career. It’s not easy. It takes more than a village. It takes either total isolation, peace and quiet—that’s never going to happen—or it takes an understanding family.

Good luck with that.

I had “the talk” with my family before I embarked on two simultaneous grad school programs in my “spare time”. You know, the kind of part-time, manageable mess that I should complete around the time I’m 105 if I’m still around at that point. The kind of studies that don’t interfere with normal life, emphasis on normal.

Crises don’t count. And apparently “the talk” didn’t count.your_mom_goes_to_college_sweatshirts-r0f82c301c96b49859c1393dd7d9fb3f1_wio5s_512

It went something like this….

“Kids, you know that Mama’s been out of school for a long time, and this opportunity has come up to…” yada, yada, yada… “and I was just wondering if now that you’re all teens, if you thought you might be able to do your own homework, and help around the house when it’s a Leap Year, and straighten your room on an every-other-month basis when the clothes on the floor get to be higher than ankle deep, and maybe load the dishwasher with less than half your dinner still stuck to the plate…?”


“No problem.”


“I already do all of that stuff.”


That’s right before it all hits the fan and they’re needier than ever and I’m left to fend for myself and they want to know why I don’t have time and why they can’t operate at their same decibel-level of chaos and why I’m not so much fun (not that I ever was)….

And here I thought we had an agreement. Right.

Younger ladies in grad school are generally urged whether through unspoken expectations or through ritual shunning thatth it’s not smart to combine family and studies. Similar to a demanding, fast-track career, they want your all and they want it now. The mommy track will often deep-six any aspirations to greatness.

Well, I came to it in reverse. I already have the family. But I guess at my semi-advanced age, nobody’s taking my studies very seriously, anyway. I mean, where do they expect a middle-aged mom to be heading with this?

So I sit with my computer writing, composing, rewriting, tweaking, citing, organizing blocks of research… while we watch a movie together, or drive to an outing, or stir the sauce. It’s an incredible ICC+GRADbalancing act and I hesitate to talk about it. Few know or care about my juggling several courses at once.

My family’s help is mostly missing. I guess I imagined that change on my part would spur change on their part.


Things are falling apart and naturally, being blamed on me. Mama’s having a bad day. Mama doesn’t care. Mama puts her family last. Mama can’t handle our normal, 101 daily meltdowns and issues. Mama thinks she needs time for her studies.

Never mind that Mama is knocking her brains out, trying to keep “life as normal”. Believe me, it’s an education in more ways than one….


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