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Sunday, July 17, 2005



After about four years of social alienation, I found a group of smart, literate, well-traveled girlfriends here in Tundratown. While my friends are mostly stay-at-home transplants who are married to professors (because despite their own qualifications and degrees, finding a job in Tundratown would not likely even pay for childcare), I am the professor and the mommy (and I'm 37 weeks pregnant). So despite the friendships, I still feel very alone at times. And don't get me started on how this dearth of role models impacts the process of obtaining some sort of resonable maternity leave from teaching duties.


I found that I adjusted well to staying at home during my maternity leave, and I got back into the swing of things quickly when I returned to the office. The part that I find weird, the biggest adjustment, is the second shift: the idea that I come home from work and immediately start my other job of taking care of the baby. My subconscious, apparently, very much believes that it should be one or the other.


It's hard. But it's worth it.

Emma Jane

Tundragirl, you so hit the nail on the head! My colleague's wives are wonderful, tough, professional women... many of whom are not employed, let alone employed in the fields they trained in, because Granolaton is in the middle of nowhere.

I suspect that the gap is going to grow larger as the children get older: e.g., we have a large contingent of homeschoolers in this general category. Who are, I'm sure, doing what they believe is best for them and their children. But it's enough people now that it's hurting the local public schools. Potentially a very, very, very bad feedback loop there.

Rivka, I try to imagine the texture of daily life six months from now -- and I can't. I just can't. Interrupted sleep? And a full teaching schedule? Will the department secretary guard my door adequately while I'm pumping? Will Beaker really do the morning dropoffs? (Heck -- which room will be the nursery, and will anyone be sleepng in it?) My brain stops.

Academic Coach

The happy chortles in the background are what you would be wise think about right now.... You've waited for this and much of it is going to be wonderful beyond your wildest dreams. Mommyprof's right: the hard is worth it.


Well, I wonder whether there are two other ways to frame what you heard: academic/nonacademic and tenure/nontenure. Because your friend wasn't functioning as Mommy on Sunday afternoon, she was functioning as parent-not-working; and her spouse has no tenure, which I hope by all that's holy means he's working harder than someone with tenure.

Or, okay, someone who's had tenure for a few years, since it's obvious from my personal experience (i.e., as the spouse of the person with tenure) that all those promises about tenure being a more relaxed state are total CRAP and should not, under any circumstances, be believed.

But the point is, yes, you'll be the academic and the mommy, and the willingess of academic daddies not to challenge certain professional expectations should and probably will drive you (and me) wild, but on Sunday afternoons, when you have to go to the library or the lab or the office, Beaker will be the Daddy. He'll have to be.

And I have seen it in action enough to know that it can work, albeit with a certain amount of yelling, intense negotiation, and stress.

Have you ever read _Love, Honor, & Negotiate_? Very thought-provoking, if highly incendiary for those of us who took the at-home-Mommy route. I recommend it.

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