Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Feeling calmer

The last two posts have been short and picture laden and you know why? Because I am trying to start up a paper based on my dissertation work. Yes, my old friend work-guilt is back and better than ever. This morning I wrote the entire introduction in my wide ruled composition book with the sounds of Curious George in the background.

I momentarily stopped to consider whether the male professor who once told me that "he gets it" when it comes to writing a dissertation and gestating, birthing, and raising two children had ever had to sneak work in during one kid's nap while the other one watched TV. At the risk of sounding whiney and unoriginal, my guess would be that no, he hasn't, because his wife probably shoos his children to another room to play quietly before offering to bring him a sandwich and a cup of coffee.

Dammit where is Ryan with my coffee?


(but he did just bring me a brownie and some milk)

So the last few nights I have not been blogging, I have staring at my blank notebook trying to figure out how in the world I was going to condense everything neatly into a paper. And then I would get distracted by something like the bottle of Robitussin and my extremely cozy bed and the book I'm reading that just started getting exciting. And then after I said good night to Ryan, who was sitting at the kitchen table working away because he enjoys it, I felt guilty.

And I don't even know why because it's all me now. There is no advisor to disappoint, no deadlines to miss, no extra semester of tuition to pay. Dr. Advisor recommends I try to publish something soon and attend the next conference (which is in Europe, so not likely), but he has offered very little other guidance. I am in charge now. If I want to be an academic, then I need to find a way to keep moving forward even with no job prospects. That is just how it is.

So not making any progress the last few nights was frustrating and wanting to go to bed at a reasonable time such that I was still within the bounds of what caffeine can make up for made me feel guilty.

(Frustration? Guilt? Sounds like grad school to me!)

But then last night after more false starts on my paper I got an encouraging email from one of the people I've contacted about teaching jobs. It was not a job offer, just an encouraging email. Enough to give me simultaneous hope for a job sometime in the future and also a nausea-inducing feeling of inadequacy (and also some regret about missing future preshus moments with my baybees but after today's festival of whining and throwing things I'm ready to send at least one of them to a Swiss boarding school).

I have begun to enjoy this quiet time at home with my little men. Most of the time they are cute, funny, and cooperative. Our mornings are lazy and relaxed and we can do whatever we want (except go outside after about nine. this weather is ridiculous and makes me angry). We spend a lot of time at the library and the coffee shop (wait that sounds like grad school too). It was stressful, but not a big hassle, when Wesley, then Charlie came down with the Virus of Doom and that experience really made me question whether I should work (since Wes likely picked up the VOD during his three-day stay at daycare while I was out of town) since missing ten days of work for sick kids is generally not possible (and they weren't "daycare sick," the perpetual runny nose they all have. They were both completely miserable).

I'm not sure how to end this except to say that I think I can now be content with whatever is in store for me. I have about a million different Plan Bs that can be enacted once they are both in school and I could get excited about any of them, if I need to.

I can still make their friends refer to me as Dr. Academomia.


Nicky said...

Hi, found your blog through ... whatever random comments and such link blogs. You're a woman! With a PhD! In a sciencey field! With kids! I'm in the ABD portion of my PhD, with one kiddo, and I'm pleased to meet you. And glad that I'm not the only one with a fair amount of academic career angst on top of the normal mommy guilt.

Kyla said...

Yeah, I worry about a lot of those same things, like when I'm in medical school or residency and KayTar has an episode or is hospitalized or whatever, what the heck am I going to do? Ack. So then, I just forget I ever thought about it and let Future Kyla figure it out. LOL.

Sarah said...

I so hear you.

I know I am in the humanities, and you are a scientist, but I would be happy to read stuff you're working on-- maybe we could do an exchange? it is really hard to write anything these days for me, too. especially w/o a deadline or an advisor.We could be a teeny little support group (support dyad?)