I have now been the wife of a grad school student for 6.5 months. The first few weeks were a breeze. Loren came home at a decent hour (often before I did) and he didn't have an overwhelming amount of work to complete in the evenings. We would spend a good amount of time over dinner just talking and goofing off. Then the end of the first semester rudely interrupted and homework became more involved and time-consuming. And it's only gotten busier.
So now Friday nights and Saturday mornings are my favorite because that's when I get him all to myself. Over these past few months, I've caught on to some key principles that make life a little more pleasant:
Be Understanding: It's not all about me. When Loren comes home from school, we spend some quality time together over dinner, but shortly after, he hits the books (or rather the computer and iPad) pretty much until we go to bed. But he's not ignoring me. He just has deadlines to meet. As much as I want him to focus all his attention on me all evening after a long day at work, I even more want him to make good grades and get the education we are paying for. Someday he won't be this busy, right?
If there is something I think is really important for Loren to do (like take out the trash), I have to remember that this priority (to me) is probably not at the top of his list at the moment. I try to ask him about little tasks like this before he settles in with his homework.
Be Encouraging: Not being in school myself, I forget how easy it is to get overwhelmed by all that school entails. But positive encouragement is powerful and can make tough days a little better. I love leaving notes in Loren's lunch bag. When he gets home, I often ask him to tell me about one new thing he learned that day (life or school). When he practices a speech or shows me a project or paper, I try to focus all my attention on him and give positive feedback. Coffee and little treats don't hurt, either. I want him to know that I'm his biggest fan!
Be Organized: I like to keep our apartment organized and clutter free. Mostly for my own slightly OCD sanity's sake, but also to create a stress-free study environment. Lunch prep also falls under this category. It took me a while to catch on, but I finally realized that if I get our lunches prepared the night before, all I have to do in the morning is throw it all in the lunch bags! No more madly rushing around the kitchen way too early in the morning. Now I just calmly rush around.
Keeping the end goal—Loren earning his grad degree—in mind makes everything worth it. I wouldn't trade this chapter of life for anything!
Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings. Some of you have asked what I do in the evenings while he does homework. I just sit next to him and gaze at him hoping he will forget he's in grad school. Just kidding. Or am I? More on that another day!