Dr. Mom, My Adventures as a Mommy-Scientist

Discussion of my journey from grad school to postdoc to tenure with two kids, a husband, (and a bit of breast cancer) in tow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Work is sometimes the best part of my day

So, have you ever had one of those days when you are so grateful to be at work because it is actually less work than being at home?

I guess you could say I am going through a rough patch right now. My DH finished his MBA in June and got not one, but three jobs, one full time and two part time. In addition, he is still trying to finish his master's in field of interest. All this means that just when I thought he would be more available to help with things (having finished the MBA and all), he is less so. It's really tough because this is also the most challenging part of my career. I am beginning my third year as an assistant professor. My lab is just starting to produce papers and really good data, but we are also about to run out of money. I am teaching a full course load for the first time this year, including two classes I haven't taught before. And to top it off, my full-time nanny turned in her resignation a week ago. I just wanted to cry that day. I think I have convinced her to work part time for us and have moved my son into full-day preschool (daughter is in 1st grade so no problem there). This places extra schlepping duty on someone as the "afterschool" time is when most of the kids activities take place. Yes the nanny can bring to some things, but really a parent needs to be there for violin or piano lessons as a parent is the one that will practice with the kids later. And of course given that my DH is working like a crazy person, that someone is me. Oh, and I am also the one with the "flexible" schedule so I get to be the one who stays home when someone is sick, or as is the case tomorrow, when there is an unexpected emergency and the nanny can't come.

I find myself getting very stressed out at home and I am kind of snapping at everyone. In contrast, coming to work is a relaxing joy in comparison (except for grant proposal rejection days, those are never good). Well, I am hoping I can ride out this storm a little longer and that DH can get some focus on his commitments so he can get in her and help me a little!


At 11:33 AM , Blogger marias23 said...

Hi PhD Mom! I'm so glad to find a blog written by a female academic scientist! I'm still a grad student myself and it provides some (cold) comfort to live vicariously through you what is still a potential career path for me.

I understand what you mean about how sometimes, work is a relief of sorts. Quite ironic and unexpected realization, considering the frutration that comes (way too) regularly in our line of work. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

At 1:07 AM , Blogger ScientistMother said...

You just described my life, except yours has more children and is more stressful as you're responsible for a lab not setting up a degree.

At 5:11 PM , Blogger Candid Engineer said...

Quite the shituation. Sorry to hear you're so tied up with everything. It must be so rough to have your husband away all of the time. I hope that things improve, or at the very least, that you continue to enjoy your time at work.

At 2:36 PM , Blogger Dr. MCR said...

Wow- you said it! With the end of summer programs, 2 kids at home with nothing to do, a grant deadline merging with "working at home" while sitting 4 kids (my own plus 2), and a out-of-town spouse, I'm ready for a vacation. Oh wait, I can't take one because classes have started! The office is a welcome respite. Thanks for another great post.

At 10:52 PM , Blogger SciMom said...

Hi PhD Mom. I've been away for awhile but am back blogging. I'm catching up and read this blog with a "yeah, I know what you mean". When I held my academic position, I used to call work "Me Time"! My husband never really understood that.

I now work full time from home for a biotech company and despite my full time status, just because I'm "home", I'm the one who gets the sick child calls, the doctor's visits, the food, etc. etc. Sometimes, ya just have to yell "foul"!


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