So I'm back at work for the semester.
It's my first day back at Macalester College in St Paul where I feel like I've won the lottery with my career. I kept tenure at the Midwestern Public University where I now teach only in the fall semesters, and that leaves the spring semesters open to pursuing other adventures. This past semester was my first one back at my 'real' job and the one thing that I walked away with was the knowledge at how simply satisfied I was there and how much I generally enjoy the students there as well as my colleagues, even after my experience with this elite college and its incredibly smart and motivated students. Maybe it is just the ability to have both that is so amazing.
So this semester I am teaching one course, an applied statistics course that is cross-listed with Math and is more fun than hard for both me and the students. It is my first time teaching it, so a new prep but still.
In addition, I'm auditing a course on behavioral economics with an eye to teach it in the future and working on three separate lines of research.
So here I am, the time between classes, getting started on some of this work and another adjunct gal walked into our shared office and we spent some time catching up. She is a former Manhattan investment-banker type whose entrepreneur husband made it big so they decided to move back to the land of reasonable real estate and nice people to procreate. Two kids later (one now 3 and one now 1) and she's interested in balancing life a bit more by adjuncting at her alma mater.
We quickly deposed each other about our schedules, where our kids are, what kinds of preschools we're considering, etc. and here's what I walked away with:
She has care (either a nanny or preschool) for her kids 8 hours/day, 5 days/week and she is teaching one class with zero research requirements.
This will be, nearly literally, the fifth semester that I have juggled our now three year old (he goes to Mother-of-Four's two days per week this semester) as well as the demands of a sometimes full, but always heavy, load of teaching, research and service.
What is my problem? Or are her priorities off?
It gets back to my obsessive pre-grieving. I view this time with Big -- this January until next September as, really, the last time in his life and mine where his time is still, really all mine. And I don't want to miss a thing.
Obviously, even at the expense of my own sanity.
What are all of your thoughts on the work life balance in conjunction with both maintaining sanity and in being present as fully as possible in our children's childhoods?