(Leon being a little koala bear before I left for a site visit in Lower Manhattan. It can be really hard to leave this guy.)
These past couple weeks have been extra busy, as I’ve had papers, exams, and now more papers to grade, on top of site visits. I teach an internship class and as a requirement of the class, the instructor needs to visit the student at the worksite once in the middle of the semester. I am deeply grateful to have this assignment, as I mostly work on the class (an online one) when Leon is asleep. But now I find all my days really full, and with a deadline looming, life feels so hectic.
But it’s not all work and no play. E-Jo visited and it was very fun to meet up in real life. Of course, Leon was a huge fan. He loves smart ladies in glasses, and he especially enjoys chestal arenas. Another Canadian friend, who is now based out of Manchester, is also visiting this week, so we’ll be hanging out at least twice this week. (Once for teaching purposes. It’s a “field trip” with his undergraduate students).
I’ve been doing the working mom thing (albeit, privileged flexible schedule working mom with incredibly supportive and progressive feminist spouse) for just 2 over two months now and man, it is hard. But I also realize that not working is also hard. Leon is sleeping right now and I have a 164 page document on “social condition” (a Canadian jurisprudence concept- see a theme?) and it’s very exciting to read. But I have to keep one ear open in case King Leon wakes and demands milk. It’s a privilege to be able to do research and have a career, and a privilege to have Leon, and as difficult as it is to balance, I can’t imagine my life without either. That said, finding ways to care for an infant in this country has been really hard. We can’t afford full time center based care, we live far from family, and our little guy is very attached- he won’t take bottles, needs some help taking naps, and is really flexible as long as a parent is near by. So what do seems to work, given our shared needs. My husband could do the “cool dad” thing, but I think that’s bad for his career (no money for his retirement, hard to re-enter the workforce after long periods of unemployment). But anyway, the point of this long rant is that going through this mom/work/life balance thing makes me appreciate a much fuller range of choices than I have in the past. I realize now that all the choices that moms make, working outside the home or not, are hard choices. We’ll all doing the best we can, swimming in a sea of unideal circumstances.
That said, when I have the free moment to set away from it all and reflect, I know that we’ve got it pretty damn good.