I realize my blog entry is late this week, but that's partly because I usually write my blog entry on Sundays, and we were without power for a good bit of yesterday, for no discernible reason. It was the second time this week we'd been without power--the first during a gale that blew in Tuesday (?) night. Then the power blinked again last night, just long enough to wake me up so I couldn't go back to sleep.
By the way, Daylight Savings Time is a joke.
In any case, I was already sick and grumpy this morning when I left the house, and then I was late to work because of an accident that occurred likely because of the rain (we're getting some 3" through tonight), and then a fog with 1/4 mile visibility. I was not the only one late to work, though--I got here seconds before my department chair did. Everyone was late today.
Then I got a load of this week's to-do list, and all I want to do is curl up and go back to bed--not just because of the lack of sleep last night, but because I have so much to do. (Naturally, instead, I'm writing up a blog post.)
On the agenda this week:
Finish grading summary and response essays
Regrade some of the food narrative essaysWrite a draft of my section of the department program reviewComplete my faculty self-evaluation formOrder my books for summer and fallGrade food problem essaysGrade revised reviews
Give and grade a Brit Lit midterm exam
There is one other benefit to going straight back to work--I don't lose a semester towards tenure. After this year, I have three years before I go up for tenure, but if I take leave for a semester, that time extends, because I haven't taught or done any college service during that time. This phenomenon is part of the reason that women with children lag behind every other group in academia. For example, this article from The Atlantic explains: "In academia, for example, married women have a 12 percent lower probability of obtaining a tenure-track position that married men and a 22 percent lower probability than childless women." The myth that The Atlantic debunks is that married women with children don't work as hard as others. This article from The Chronicle of Higher Education describes some of what I'm in for.
Grade assorted homework this week
That's all that's come up so far. Naturally, things will get added to this list as the week goes on. In the meantime, in spite of the meds the doc gave me, morning sickness returned with a vengeance this morning before I even got downstairs.
I think it's pretty much decided that I'm going to go back to work about a month after Baby comes along. I had a discussion with my assistant chair this morning, and it's not too much of an effort to get me a substitute for while I'm gone. It will let us keep most of my income through the fall--which we'll need with a new addition. I'll just put together all of my lesson plans in advance and hand them over to the adjunct to teach while I'm out.
My MIL has graciously offered to come and stay with us to help take care of Baby during those first few months, and I'm very grateful. It means we don't have to put a newborn in daycare, and it helps alleviate another concern of mine as well. When you've got a mental illness already, the possibility of post-partum depression looms very, very large over you. Going back to work sooner rather than later might help keep me from that, and I feel like having my MIL around is an extra layer of security.
Not that I'm still not conflicted by this. I'd love to be able to stay home with Baby all semester, but I just don't see it being possible--we haven't built our savings back up after having bought the car (which, frankly, with Baby coming along, was a very wise investment, especially as I don't want to put a baby in my tiny little Saturn or DH's Focus). I find it incredibly batty that we are the richest country in the world, yet the United States is one of only three--count them, three--countries that don't offer paid maternity leave. It's unconscionable. And what's interesting is that I read an article last week about the company Vodafone, who is now voluntarily offering paid maternity leave to its employees, and says that they'll actually save money doing it, because it means they don't have to spend money on recruiting and training workers to replace those who leave their jobs after having a baby.
Fortunately, unlike the author of that article, I have a very supportive spouse and plenty of family to help. That doesn't mean it's going to be any easier. At this moment, I think I'm the only female faculty member here who will have a child this young. And while the college allows up to 24 weeks of maternity leave--twice that required by federal law--it's still unpaid.
There's so much that I'm confused about right now, and I know that this isn't anything that any other woman hasn't ever had to face before, and it is helpful to know that I'm not alone. And in anticipation of possibly having to go back to work sooner rather than later, I did manage to make my schedule next semester be either mornings only or afternoons only, so I'll be home as much as possible. Still, I feel like I'm going to be a bad mom for going back to work this early--and yes, I know that is societal expectation talking--either you're a bad mom for going back to work, or you're a horrible drain on society if you stay home. (Screw patriarchy.) Doesn't mean I don't still feel bad.
In any case, it's time for me to get back to work in the here and now. Only this week stands between me and spring break, and with any luck, my next blog entry will be written in Kentucky.