I've been a bit lost on the blogging front since graduation, since there hasn't been a whole lot to say about my half-dead professional life. No wacky stories about taking Charlie to the potty while conferencing with my committee, no frustrating data/programming anecdotes, no juggling, no anything interesting or unusual at all, except maybe the bandaid thing.
Since graduation and the subsequent first week of stay at home mom bliss I have come to the realization, in a more mature and less reactionary way than you have seen here (swearing over crunching through Cheerios on the floor? That's old news), that I really enjoyed working and I would like to do it again. And also, that I really enjoy my boys and I would like to see them for more than an hour a day during the week if possible. Reconciling those two things has been/is difficult, and I feel like I should talk about it a little bit here because I am sure many of you are experiencing the same dilema.
So. Here's the breakdown. Charlie hit his delayed terrible twos and Wesley started crawling and slowed down his nursing dramatically like a week after I became a full time stay-at-homer. So, imagine being thrown directly into parenting hell at exactly the same moment your hormones start turning you into a total psycho and then take away three days a week of childcare and an outside identity and nearly all human interaction.
And then the rejection letters started coming in. So MANY rejection letters. And given the conditions of my current job, the magical world of full-time motherhood, it felt like the last lifeboat was leaving and they hit me on the head with an oar on the way out.
And then I started feeling like Margie on Big Love, who let her naked children scream from the Pack and Play while she sat on the couch eating cereal out of the box and watching workout vidoes.
Now, I know that happiness and contentment should not be situational. I get it. I chided myself daily that I needed to suck it up and find a way to be happy because I really do have it good. We have enough money, we're healthy, Ryan loves his job--his SECURE job, I live in a safe neighborhood where we can play outside, we have great friends, etc. I read about the Proverbs 31 Woman. I thought about her constantly, selfless, smart, hard working, thrifty, clever, and did I mention selfless and hard working?
So, through an embarassing amount of effort and some other improvements (Charlie is acting like a human being again, we put up a baby gate to confine Wesley to the living room so I'm not spending half my life picking him off the stairs/getting him out of the dog food) I have been feeling alright about not working. When I am on top of things, it really makes the family run smoother and everyone is more relaxed-- including me, I remember feeling extremely stressed out on my work days when I knew there was laundry that needed to be done and dirty dishes everywhere and no food in the house.
However! I am still looking for a job. And I have started asking department chairs at colleges in the area if they would allow me to teach for free, so that I can gain some teaching experience (I also briefly considered changing careers--high school teaching, nursing, midwifery, barista--but that can wait until I truly do need something to do, like when the boys are in school and I suddenly find myself with seven hours a day of free time).
And it seemed that it just wasn't meant to be. So I focused on being a little more professional in my home life--grocery shopping, cooking more, staying ahead of the laundry, taking the kids to do fun things. And I started to enjoy more days than not. And I also started trying to get some exercise and watch less TV. Both of those things made me feel lots calmer too.
Then Sunday night on a whim I emailed one last department chair and a wonderful university close by. He responded within hours. There were no positions open, he said regretfully, but my background and experience made me a very good fit for their department (they do! I had to pinch myself while reading their course offerings). He's going to keep my CV and information until the spring when they are making decisions about the fall instructors. And would I mind giving a talk to the students about my research? This fall?
I'd say I am not going to get my hopes up, but they already are. I couldn't stop myself from driving to the campus yesterday. It's beautiful. Maybe one day there will be something there for me. In the mean time I am enjoying my boys and looking into how to start publishing my dissertation work, in my free time.