Archive for the ‘Stress’ Category



June 25, 2011

I am afraid to do a search on my own posts which deal with frustration. I think maybe 50% or more of my writing on this blog deal with me venting about a particular subject or aspect of my life. I love my life but sometimes I get stuck in a rut. I’m in one right now. My job requires me to produce writing — original, scientific writing. Just putting words on paper is extremely difficult. When I read my “To Do” list, I start to feel overwhelmed. I know how to deal with it — I braek it down into small manageable tasks. However, I get thrown off when my personal life starts to feel overwhelming. It is summer, and yes, as a professor I work through the summer. I taught one class and have research grants that require me to  fulfill my obligations throughout the summer. I don’t have time to write during the school year. Everyday this week, there has been some small emergency that I have had to leave work for to attend to — someone has lost something, a child is hurt, I have forgotten something at home, the day’s plan changes because of my husband’s work, and/or the day’s plan changes because of the kids nap schedule changes. I really do try to be a flexible as I can but I need to learn to take advantage of small bits of time. Maybe a better plan for me, instead of large looming projects, is to take home small projects (1 hour or less) that I can work on at night or anytime I can squeeze an hour into our hectic day. I was exercising regularly but everyday this week, my plan has been thwarted by these small plan deviations.

Where is the guidebook for how to negotiate all of these stressors? It is summer; I want to spend time with my children. How long have I had that paper to do revisions on it? When is that student supposed to graduate and why is it that his/her graduation hangs on my ability to read and provide feedback? Why did I agree to review that paper? How do I get that colleague to work on that paper (guild doesn’t work, tried it)? What is that student up to on the thesis and why haven’t I heard from him/her? All day and all night, these work questions are pumping through my head. This doesn’t include all of the family/kid unknowns. I think I need a vacation.


This Time of the Year

December 6, 2010

This is my time of the year to feel overwhelmed. Norah’s Birthday comes, then Thanksgiving, then the start of Christmas rush with my husband’s business (which I help with at night after the kids go to sleep), finishing up classes and giving finals, then I always have a couple of federal grants I have to submit, and other work I have promised colleagues. Then it is Christmas. Sometime in the madness, I hope to get shopping done. I get overwhelmed. It is not that I’m not thinking but it that my thoughts get squashed by the next pressing deadline. I have so many things floating in my head…a typical thought sequence might go like this:

“Did I sent that email to that student?” “What is his name?”

“Email, I forgot to email Joe with that question, gotta remember to do that”

“What else did I say I would do for Joe”

“Crap, I forgot to call Mary with questions about the data” “Maybe I can do that on Monday from 8-8:15.”

“Monday, there is something that my son needs for his class on Monday, what is it? Oh man, I forgot to get a blank t-shirt for him.”

And it continues until I can not remember where my thoughts started. I have to carry a little book with me that I can write down when I have these thoughts so that I will not forget to it.

The point of this post is to say that I am not on purposely not blogging. But, I do not have time to sit and write. As I take 10 minutes to write this, I’m had one person stop by my office and one phone call from people who need help. This time of year is terrible for thinking.

If I do not have time to post again, Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope you are less stressed than I am.



September 9, 2010

I told Coach that I have not been under this much stress since I was finishing my dissertation. There are only a certain number of hours in the day and in that time period, I have to work to earn money for the household; I have to connect with my children and love them so that they don’t grow up thinking I was distant; I have to drive them to practices and pick them up all while listening to music I’m not so fond of; I have to cook dinner and then clean up so we don’t have bugs in the house; I have to make sure homework is done, bodies are clean, and everyone tucked into bed, I have to be a strong, patient, caring, listening wife so I don’t get divorced; I have to breastfeed a 4 month old and take care of him through the night; and somewhere in the day I would like to have a little time to myself. I do all of these things except for the last one. Currently, exercise is scheduled for 6 am which has not happened in the past 3 weeks because Sunshine was going through a growth and awareness spurt and keeping me up all night.  When is it my time?

No time is really my time. I’m somewhat OK with that. All of my hobbies went on hold once I started having kids. Some people will say how unhealthy that is but I don’t see another way around it. There are only 24 hours in a day. If I could make 26 and take 2 hours to do what I like to do then I would do that but I think I have my schedule down to the bare minimum. If I want time for myself it has to happen during sleep time. I’m not sacrificing what little sleep I get because I never know when Sunshine might wake up. I made these choices though. I chose to have children and I like being around them. I have fun and they make me laugh.

However, this schedule = no destress time. The current manifestation of this stress is constant checking to see if I put Sunshine in the car. I have a fear that I’m going to leave him on the sidewalk somewhere. As I put the other 3 in the car, he is always the last one to go in because he can not jump out and run into the street. As I’m driving down the road, every 5 minutes, my mind is jolted with thinking I have left him somewhere. It is scary for the split second that I actually believe myself. The only time my body has to unwind is at night which produces some whacked out stress and anxiety dreams. I am constantly dreaming about how late for an appointment I am, juggling schedules, missing meeting and appointments, and forgetting to put on essential items of my wardrobe. These dreams do not have to be in present day, many of them are from past incidents where I dream about something that already happened but in the dream it does not turn out as smoothly as it actually did in real life.

Last night, I dreamed that I needed to ride in a van to get to a geology field trip. I was staying in a hotel but I needed to go on a field trip. Major incidents happened along with way as I was running to get to the van, and I barely made it before the van left me. Once I was preparing to get in the van, I realized I forgot shoes and a jacket. Then I had to ask everyone in the van to wait on me until I could go back up to my room and get these items. I hate having people wait on me. Going back to the room, I couldn’t catch an elevator so had to go up 3 flights on the stairs and ran into people, couldn’t get out the door so had to up a flight and down and around back to my room. I couldn’t get the door open and when I did, there were multitudes of shoes to chose from and a bunch of kids shoes and I couldn’t find a pair. I grabbed a jacket without incident. On the stairs, I went to put on shoes and realized that they were too small, like half the size of real shoes. So then I had to go back and get different shoes…..well, you get the picture. The dreams are all about forgetting items or being late or missing important appointments. 

I have a reoccurring dream from high school. I did a lot of extracurricular activities in high school which required me to stay organized and have mulitple items with me. This was a football night and I was a majorette. Before the game, I had basketball practice. So, in the morning, I had to remember to bring everything that I need for basketball and for performing (for a majorette, that is a lot of gear). Everything goes smoothly until I’m changing into my majorette outfit and realize that I forgot my undershorts, or whatever the clothing item is called that goes over your underwear to make sure you are not flashing the crowd. I have to call my Mom to bring it and everytime she just barely makes it which produces so much anxiety in me. Sometimes, I forget my baton, sometimes I forget my outfit, or my boots, sometimes I forget to have my hair done, it doesn’t matter….it is all about the stress and anxiety produced by these dreams.

When I’m chilled in life, my dreams are quiet and sweet but when I’m stressed my dreams react in a similar fashion. Thankfully no one dies in the dreams, and it is kind of nice to go back to a time when my Mom and Dad were alive (and my baby wasn’t dead). However, I could do without dreaming at all. I don’t think I need to add more stress and anxiety in my life. If dreams are about working out details and issues in your conscious life then I think I would be more productive dreaming about geology.

What do you dream about?



August 18, 2010

I’m stealing this abbreviated word which stand for “What the #uck” from another Mom. I’d hyperlink to it but I don’t know how, its RANTS FROM MOMMYLAND 

This word best describes my evening the other day. I’m trying to get used to a new schedule with my two older kids in school, my rainbow toddler in preschool, my husband coaching high school football, and then my actual job as a university professor starting in full swing again. 

The two older kids — a girl 7, lets call her Drama Girl and a boy 5, lets call him Karate Boy — enjoy going to a gym where they let the kids play basketball, baseball, soccer, and learn karate. On Monday afternoon, there was basketball at 4-5 pm, which Drama Girl loves, and karate from 6-7 pm, which Karate Boy loves (obviously).  I figured that I would have Coach (my husband) drop of the baby(I’ll call him Sunshine– 4 months old), Drama Girl and Karate Boy at my office at 3:15 so I could feed Sunshine and then take the kids to the gym, go pick up my rainbow toddler at daycare (21 months old) and make sure I’m back to the gym by 5 pm. Then I would go to McD. to eat with the kids and go back to the gym at 6 for karate. Feed Sunshine and Rainbow in the car and then pick up the older two at 7 pm. Rush home and get ready for bed.  Sounds like a plan right?

My plan was working perfectly until eating food at McD. Just me and four kids cause Coach is coaching. Karate Boy and Drama Girl went to go play while Sunshine and Rainbow came with me to go order. Of course, Rainbow wasn’t happy because the other kids were playing so I was kind of dragging her. While waiting for the order, Karate Boy came out to say that some boy bit him. I couldn’t really figure out what was going on so I just asked him to stay with me. Then with a very overloaded tray, cause really, who is going to help a lady with a heavy tray, carrying a baby in a carseat with a toddler dragging on her leg and a 5 year old in tow? I sat down. At this place, the seaingt in the playarea was like picnic tables which made me to wonder where to put Sunshine. I left him strapped in the baby carseat and set him on one of the benches, he was pretty solid there and Karate Boy couldn’t knock him off. I put Rainbow in a high chair and started to put food out. Karate Boy wouldn’t eat because he was traumatized by his bite wound. The kid who bit him was 2 years old but a hellion, running around everywhere causing mayhem. Karate Boy was scared of him and he wouldn’t show me where he was bit. Honestly, I just wanted to see if the skin was broken but he made a huge scene because I’m assuming he didn’t want to be embarrassed. I let it drop. I’m giving all the kids food. And all of a sudden I hear a crash noise. I was approximately 1 foot from Sunshine in the baby carrier but it was enough….enough to let the hellion by me and FLIP HIM ALL THE WAY OVER. Yes, that kid pulled Sunshine in the carseat to the floor and on the way down he flipped upside down. I scream OMG!!! and quickly righted him and got him out. Sunshine screamed about 5 seconds, mainly because he didn’t know what just happened. Do you know what the parents of that kid did? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Glanced over, said, oh the baby is OK and kept talking. Granted I was too worried about Sunshine to chastize the hellion kid. Seriously, they didn’t do anything to the kid, not even leave. They were not even embarrassed.

Sunshine was acting fine and not sleepy or grumpy. He didn’t hit anything but was just scared. Lesson learned — I need to watch out for other kids near my kids — along with my other super mom duties. I got everyone back in the car, back to the gym, karate outfits on, and fed Sunshine again. At 6:30, Sunshine, Rainbow and I went into the gym to watch karate. Rainbow was getting tired and when that happens she is not stable on her feet and tends to fall. As she was walking down the hall, she fell on the hard  linolium floor, apparently HEAD FIRST. Immediately, a golf ball sized lump appears on her forehead and she is screaming and crying. I laid Sunshine in the floor and sat on the floor with her to rock her and comfort her. The bruise is huge and I’m sure she had a headache. Finally karate was over, I drove home and started getting ready for bed. Coach came home to help with the older ones. After everyone was asleep, I had to drink a couple of beers to calm down. I am not ever doing that again — taking two classes separated by an hour — by myself.

Then, last night, Drama Girl ran into the wall as she was walking to put her dishes up from dinner. I don’t know how this happened. As a result, her nose exploded with blood. Nice.  Four kids hurt in two days. I’m on a roll.


OB Appt

March 17, 2010

I had an appointment with the doctor yesterday. I go every 2 weeks now, normally the same — weight (gaining too much), blood pressure (always fine), measuring (always measuring big), baby’s heart beat (130 ish). Until the final sentence in our conversation

“Do you want to start non-stress tests?”.

I said, “nah, I’m good.” 

She looked at me kind of funny so I said, “What does that face mean?”

She said, “You’re 33 weeks soon.”

“Yeah, so…?”

She said, “We usually need 4 weeks of baseline measurements before we deliver. You should start NST’s this week.”

4 WEEKS !!!!  Crap, I don’t think I’ll be delivering the baby in 4 weeks. But, there it is. The possiblity that we could have another little one in 4 weeks. I’m thinking more like 6 weeks. My husband was just getting over me telling him that it was no longer 7 weeks but 6 weeks (he doesn’t keep track). The timing all depends upon my strength, my ability to endure the stress of believing that my baby has died or is just about ready to die every single day, my mental state and of course, the results of the NST’s.

As a result, I felt ultra-vigilent all day yesterday and today. Baby is moving too much. Doesn’t that sound insane but I truely believe that Norah was is distress and moving way too much the last couple of days and I didn’t realize it because I didn’t know a baby could move too much. I’m paranoid, seriously, I’m looking forward to my NST on Friday. I need reassurance that baby is not in distress, that it is just me in distress.



February 15, 2010

So, recently in the news, I’m sure you have seen that an assistant professor entered a faculty meeting and killed 3 of her colleagues. This happened in northern Alabama, approximately 3 hours from me. I just can’t help wondering what kind of life this woman had that allowed her to get so wrapped up in the tenure process. Yes, it is stressful. But, after I submitted my tenure package, I don’t even think about it. I can’t imagine what went through her mind to think that killing other people was the solution to her problem. Life is so short to be caught up on whether you are granted tenure or not. I wonder if she equated it with not getting picked for a team on the school playground. Yes, it sucks when it appears as though people do not want you but violence is never the key. She stopped the lives of 3 people and crushed their families because she did not get what she wanted. That is soooo wrong on many levels. Another instance of how life changes not based on the decisions that you make but based on the actions of others or things you can not control.  I can not relate to her actions or intentions. It just does not make sense.


I am in introvert.

January 25, 2010

One of my colleagues told me the other day that she is leaving and going to a different university. She said she is going to be closer to her family and because her husband wants to go. I’m really bummed. I put as much energy as I put into any friendship into the one I have with her. Granted, sometimes that is not a lot but I did make an effort and enjoy her company. After she told me, I cried on my drive home. For some reason, I think that is an overreaction. Yes, I am pregnant but I’m not sure why her departure is hitting me so hard. We work together on a couple of projects and I see her almost everyday. She is female with a young son, and understands the daily stresses that a female in academia with a young family has–what I have to deal with everyday. Not many people understand that and to have someone in the department was awesome. Now she is leaving. I’ll see her at conferences and maybe in the field if we ever get funding.

Now the point of all this is that it has led me to think of friendships. I know in academia people shuffle in and shuffle out. It is a revolving door. However, since I have been here, no one has left in my department. I like it that way. I like that it stays the same when my lift outside of work is always shifting. Work is a constant. Now, that is shifting. It leads me to the conclusion that if you make friends, you are bound to get hurt. Should one have friends then? Or should one not and be reclusive?  I admit that I am an introvert. I don’t have that many friends because I don’t make time to cultivate the friendships. I have some acquaintances. My best friend is from college and she is 800 miles away. We talk on the phone every other day. But I don’t have a go-to friend where I am. I seem to be functioning somewhat properly. So, why even make friends if they are going to leave?  Or alternatively, should I be more flexible and make more acquaintances but not get attached to them. Some people understand that friends come and friends go. Another friend will replace the one that they lost. But, I don’t feel like that. I feel like I’ve lost something special.

Friends, are they worth it?