Life as an AdjunctPreneur ® teaching online can be incredibly rewarding and produce a reliable, steady income. As with any career, juggling parenting and work/life balance while employed as a full time adjunct professor can be difficult. You must learn how to manage your workload around responsibilities as a parent. As we appear to be "stay at home" moms and dads, it isn't always easy to explain that we still have to work to do our jobs, even if it's in the kitchen with the toddler playing in the pantry.
So you’re thinking about teaching online or adding to your course load to become an AdjunctPreneur ® and teach as an adjunct full time online. You make it happen while applying to a lot of job leads and perhaps you have begun adding more schools or courses. If so, great! Before you know it, your course loads are piling up so fast; you spend most of your energy getting organized to be efficient and effective to provide quality instruction.
One hiccup though: you have kids and now you must learn how to manage the workload around your responsibilities as a parent. This is a great problem to have! And if you’re a single parent or have a spouse who is working long hours as well, this can be a real challenge especially on summer break when the kids are out of school. Because we “appear” to be stay-at-home parents or unemployed to people who do not understand the nature of our work, sometimes it is hard to get loved ones to help occupy our children while we are working from home. There is always daycare and nannies if you can afford it.
I recall very vividly that time when my son was in elementary school right around the time I had became an AdjunctPreneur ®. I was working full time as an online course mentor and teaching multiple online courses. My plate was full. So I hired a housekeeper to keep the house cleaned but now I had to manage quality time with my child. Like most kids, he wanted mom’s undivided attention and because he was the only child, he wanted even more! Often he would be upset when I couldn’t play video games with him or out enjoying summer or winter days in the yard. I tried to do as much as I could but sometimes the workload would not allow for too much time away from the computer.
The goal was always to grade Monday-Thursday with hopes of no grading on the weekends to make up the quality time I lost with my son during the week. I prioritized our time together over dinner, homework and a weekly movie night. Everything had to be planned and scheduled. Sure he moaned about me always working and even resented my computer at times, but he was also made to understand that mom’s workload was also responsible for the Disney trips each year, the cool toys and video games and other spoils he desired for doing chores and keeping up his grades. I am not suggesting that you bribe your kids into being okay with your work schedule, but they do have to understand that it does become a trade off for the pleasures and comfort they tend to expect. I was lucky that his dad, my mom and my significant other was there to help me with my son while I worked sometimes.
Also, I found afterschool activities for him to attend and summer day camp so that he could have the daily field trips which made me not feel so bad about my work schedule ruining his fun for the summer. It’s really no different than those who work outside of the home, but because our workload can easily extend into the evening hours, we don’t get the benefit of being off at 5pm to have the rest of the evening to enjoy with our families.
It is not easy being a parent and AdjunctPreneur ® but just as you must prioritize and organize your workload, you have to do the same with the time you need to spend with your kids so that they understand that they are an important factor in your life. Like everything we do as AdjunctPreneur ®, it’s all a balancing act.
I would love to hear your comments on how you juggle work life and family life, and how you explain to your kids that you are still working - even from the kitchen!
Author: Eboni Mathis, Doctoral Candidate, M.A, M.S.A, LLPC
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