Me, on the far right, squeezing in some fun while at Queen's University (circa 1989)
Both of my kids put a lot of pressure on themselves to do well at school. They inherently got their smarts from their father with a little coaching in self-determination from me.
My advice to them was to always focus on doing well at school. The irony is that I was not the best student.
The comments on my report cards regularly read, "Janet needs to talk less in class" or "Janet needs to try harder".
I would agree with all of that - I could have tried harder and been less chatty. Instead my mind was on weekend plans, talking on the phone for hours, and planning my outfits for the next day.
Things worked out for me in the end. I went to university and eventually built a career. Despite all of the partying and slacking-off, I stressed at school - just not too much.
My daughter and I were recently catching-up over the phone. She's in her third year of undergrad at university and has a big load this term. She's majoring in Biology while also employed as a TA.
While she ran through how her day went, she mentioned that she has a lot coming up that she's anxious about like exams and assignments over the next few weeks.
She also said that there was a party that she'd really like to go to, but didn't think she'd have time. I could tell that this was upsetting her.
I wasn't the kid who debated whether there was time for a party or not. I just went.
But much like my husband used to be, my daughter is a bit of a workaholic. I cautioned her about the downside of only putting work first and setting this up for your way of life.
I said, "go to the party and you'll figure out how to get your work done later. You need to blow off some steam." I wasn't sure if she would go.
There's a lot to be said about making time for fun, especially when things are stressful. Going out to dinner, the gym, to a movie or skipping out to a party. The time around other people, a change of scenery and laughing at something/anything can make us feel really good.
To maintain a healthy mind, you need to do things other than work.
And coming from this midlife mama, "you're only young once and have a lifetime of work ahead of you", so use your time wisely.
It turns out that she went to the party and still got her work done. This mom was very happy to hear it.
November 29, 2019