October 22, 2013

Work // Life

I've settled into the semester and although I am spent, things are mostly good. I am so proud to share that Chris has submitted his dissertation draft! In all likelihood, we will have both finished our doctoral degrees before Emilia turns 1. I almost can't believe it! I realize we should have done so before her birth but we didn't (and there's nothing we can do about that now). I try not to beat myself or Chris up about it. And frankly, it's amazing that becoming parents didn't derail us irreparably. If anything, having a baby forced us to become better time managers and lit a fire under us to take care of business. So, thank you Emilia!

Speaking of, Emilia is having a blast with "Aunt Katie" on my teaching days. I am so grateful that my sister comes to my home to be with her when I can't be. Baby girl lights up as soon as she sees Katie's face and although there are days when I wish I didn't have to go, I never leave with worries or fears about her care.

My teaching days are l.o.n.g. It's hard on everyone for me to be away for 12 plus hours (on some days when I have meetings for example). But it's necessary and it's not every day. Chris is forging his way with bedtime routines. He got a raise this week. He's working on a publication for submission. He's teaching a class in the spring and will likely take some research trips abroad. I'm working on my book proposal and a few small grants. I try to finish my course preparation and grading on campus but that isn't always possible. I have my big three year review this December (delayed by one year due to maternity leave stopping my tenure clock) so I am gearing up for that. Things are busy!

Emilia and I are still happily breastfeeding and on my working days I almost always manage to out-produce the volume of milk she consumes. I've found that (depending on how my schedule shakes out), it is easier to pump either right before I leave or right when I get to work, and then always as soon as I get home. I was pumping in between classes and before I left campus but that made for really harried afternoons and later arrivals home which seemed silly. I'm no longer anxiously squeezing in pumping sessions during short breaks between back to back classes so I can focus on course prep or grading during that time instead. I do run the risk of engorgement with my current pumping schedule and break things up more on the occasional 12 hour day. But so far it has been manageable.

I will say that I am tired. Maybe that is to be expected? Emilia's teething, separation anxiety, and night waking are hard on my sleep. I just bring her into bed when she wakes up rather than attempt the more frustrating process of staying up until she's back down so that I can put her back into her crib. Bringing her into bed and going back to sleep myself (as much as I can while nursing) makes everything a bit easier, albeit crowded. Truth be told, I long for the wake-ups after the on-campus workdays when we're apart. And I'm sure there will be a time once she's older that I'll long for all of it; the harried days of working and pumping, scooping my teary and bleary-eyed baby up from her crib, and bringing her into bed with me. Her first (almost) 11 months have flown by. It's difficult to fathom.

When I'm having a rough day or week, I remind myself how fortunate we all are for our health, our extended families, our jobs, and our circumstances. Life is a perpetual balancing act at the moment so maintaining our senses of gratitude is really important. Chris and I still haven't properly gone out for our anniversary (the "10 years coupled" mark that we hit in August or the "3 years married" mark that we hit just a few weeks ago) for example. But we're finding our way. We're figuring out how to be productive, how to continue forging our careers, how to be some version of our pre-parent selves, and most of all I suppose, how to be a family.

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