The semester just started, so my work life has suddenly become quite busy and filled with tasks such as responding to student emails at all times of day, teaching, prepping and reading for the classes themselves, reading and responding to grad student blog posts, conducting staff meetings with tutors at the University Writing Center, planning meetings, sending announcements and alerts to fellow faculty, encouraging former students to submit to this or that conference, and finishing/submitting new academic writings so that my chair won’t tell me again how I need to publish more. Whew. And none of this includes grading, which I have delightfully increased this semester because of the new reading responses I’m requiring, but these should be glance-worthy – either they did it well or they did it half-ass. If thorough, full credit. If half-ass, no credit. I can do the assessment of fifty 300-word reading responses quickly, right? Right?
The deafening silence provides the answer.
In addition to the normal requirements of my work life, I have a life (much to the surprise of many students). I enjoy spending relaxing downtime with my boyfriend. Playing Scrabble. Going to the movies. Lounging on the sofa watching home improvement shows. Dreaming up plans for new perennial beds in my now-destroyed backyard thanks to Hurricane Sandy and my neighbors’ three giant trees now laying across it. Balancing work life requirements with my non-working life becomes difficult once the semester starts…and food is often the one element that suffers.
Well, more to the point, the nutritional value and healthiness of my food often suffers. Classic conundrum, which I know that ALL of my girls here can understand – how to cook/prepare/have ready healthy, nutritious, low-calorie-yet-filling meals every night when you walk in the door, exhausted, at 7pm? It’s so much easier to just stop at the grocery store on the way home and pick up a hoagie or some deli soup and crackers, or stop at Panera for the You Pick Two…and suddenly, all of my high-fiber, low-calorie, healthy suppers disappear into a haze of my worklife and I’m left ten pounds heavier, wondering why I couldn’t just be better prepared?
Am I alone in this?
I think not.
But these thoughts don’t go away just because you know you aren’t alone. These self-censoring thoughts that I let myself, my heart, and my waistline down, consistently, every semester. That even though I do try to cook and freeze enough food for the week, inevitably, I will run out because there will be a weekend that I won’t have time to cook.
Like this weekend coming up. I’m shooting a bat mitzvah (I’m also a photog) all day Saturday. Sunday will likely involve lots of resting, and perhaps some mastic remover-applying on the laundry-room floor that needs to be re-done. But after working six days, I’ll need a break. And will I want to spend that free time cooking all day?
Most likely? No.
I know I’m not alone in this.
I know that the 5-6 pounds I shed over winter break is a wonderful accomplishment, as is my lowered blood pressure.
I know that I will falter and even fail.
I know that it will be disappointing that I still, after all of these years, can’t seem to find a healthy balance between my work-life and non-working life, and that it is the quality of my food intake that will suffer.
I’ve done well so far, but I’m almost out of frozen healthy, homemade foods. In order to replenish my supply, I will need to spend Sunday cooking. But will I choose to?