How to leave for study when your constant companion has no attention span?

That title is a question. Because, all of a sudden, it’s hit me that:

  1. Erik works full time and has precious little vacation time. And has a brutal commute which means that he can’t take on Zora duty before and after day care.
  2. Zora works full time, too, at being a little kid, and that means she needs a full time assistant. (Usually, that’s me.)
  3. Our parents are all young and hale and hearty and un-retired, so none of this sending the kids to grandma for two weeks business.
  4.  If I go on study leave, Zora has to come along or we have to hire pretty much a nanny.
  5. Zora is not so conducive to attending conferences as she used to be.
  6. Zora is not so conducive to letting me read for long chunks of time.
  7. And, therefore, my study leave is about to look very different for the next few years.

So, what do I do? I’m thinking, at very least, I’m probably in a place now where a good chunk of my study leave time each year will have to be of the reading week variety. But that begs the question: how much reading do I have to get done each day? Because, I am telling you, Zora is not one of those kids who sits nicely at her toddler tea table and draws while Mommy cruises through a few volumes of Barth.  Is two hours of intense study during a nap enough? I’m  not sure we can afford to hire the extra two weeks of childcare for study leave (in addition to the youth trip type things where we have to do that, that could be 4 or 5 weeks a year). Could a take-along-nanny be counted as study expense? Maybe I can find a little room somewhere, or rent a cabin and lock me and Zora in there with books for a week. Maybe she’s just going to have to suck it up and come along on a conference and learn to preach. Could I team up with a consortium of minister moms to create a childcare co-op in a cabin (everyone gets to read for 2 hours and then goes back to kid central)?

Any brilliant ideas?

7 Responses to “How to leave for study when your constant companion has no attention span?”

  1. Mary Beth Says:

    Good flippin’ question is all I have to stay. This is one of the major reasons I went ahead and just took a full Family Leave. One option you might consider is getting help from a college student.

    When the tornado destroyed the local college campus last year, a lot of my mom friends took in students who essentially traded room and board for babysitting. And it’s worked out really well. And these relationships continued even after the dorms were ready for the students to move back in.

    Just a thought. And kudos to you for making the mommy/preacher thing work. I know, I KNOW, how hard that is.

  2. Meika Says:

    I take it that this is an unpaid leave and you can’t just use your normal childcare arrangements or something? Because as a full-time parent, I know full well getting anything done with a two-year-old around (much less anything requiring focus!)? Ha. HA HA HA. Impossible. Good luck figuring something out.

  3. Erica Says:

    Here’s the issue with our regular childcare: It’s Monday’s with my Mom, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at a sitter, Thursdays with me while I work (and let me tell you, THAT is one h@ll of a day, although one I wouldn’t trade!), and Friday with me on my day off.

    The problem is that each of the days where there is day care I am also “needed” in ways that Erik can’t patch in…he has this long commute…so I have to be the one who drops off and picks up from daycare, and then there would be a time lag between that and when Erik gets home.

    I think it’s surmountable, if we patch together some volunteers for picking her up, etc. But the thought of organizing it just makes me tired. We’ll see how it goes for the youth group trip in June when we have the same issues.

  4. Jim Says:

    Erica, as I mentioned this morning, I would certainly be glad to do what I can to help. Dropoff / pickup with your regular sitter is a no-brainer; if there’s some added time (i.e., Eric leaves at 6:30 but sitter isn’t available until 8:00) that’s not a big issue, either. Of course, we’d want to work out something ahead of time so that Zora & I could get to know each other a bit so I wouldn’t just appear out of the blue as a big scary guy taking her in my car. A day trip to the zoo, DuPage Children’s Museum, or other fun places would be do-able, too, though it might be a good idea if I had some female assistance to tend to certain necessary needs. (Not so much that I’d be uncomfortable, but for Zora’s comfort, and unfortunately just a good practice to follow these days.)

    I would certainly hope that we could round up some volunteers within our church family to pitch in, as well. I know we certainly had no problem finding help when our own kids were that age.

  5. ms rev or not Says:

    if travel expenses can count as legitimate study expenses, surely so can childcare, too? right? a necessary expense?

    i hear you on the getting a headache just thinking about organizing, though.

  6. Kirstin Says:

    Coordinate your study leaves with MY study leaves (aka school holidays) and ship her off to Washington! Okay, I know that’s not practical either . . . unless there was a conference near here you were going to attend.

  7. Kirstin Says:

    Or I could try to ship myself there . . . Can you tell that I’m desperate for auntie time? ;)