Hi professor mamas - is it okay if I jump in and ask you a question? I'm not a professor yet; I'm finishing my PhD now. Please let me know if I need to move this, but I figured this was the best place to get advice from moms who know what it's like to be professors.
Well, I'm sure you've heard this before, but...can you tell me, honestly, what it's like being t/t with small children? I definitely know that it can be done, balancing the professorate with family and children, so what I'm asking is, what is it actually like for you?
For background, I work in a relatively obscure field of the humanities. I think I can reasonably assume that if I pursued it, I could find something in academia. I did not get into this career because I love to teach. I don't, and I'm not talented at it (although I value teaching and education greatly). What I do enjoy and am good at is research and writing.
I always assumed I'd be on the t/t, job market allowing. Now, however, here with the end of my degree in sight, I'm not sure it's right for me or for my family. For one thing, I'm just not as passionate and driven about my work as I used to be before I had DS. I still enjoy it greatly and believe in its importance, but the burning curiosity is gone. I'm not sure I have the energy to devote every scrap of time when I'm not parenting to my work, as I did when DS was born and I was preparing for comps and I would happily read and take elaborate notes on 2 hours of sleep while he napped. Writing a diss., I make my own hours and am primarily responsible to myself, and I've gotten very used to that. I feel like my life has a balance to it that I used to dream of when the academic calendar determined everything for me. I'm half-heartedly thinking of looking for a postdoc locally while DH keeps his job, which he loves. (Pays peanuts but we can live from it.) It doesn't make sense to me to drag my family to wherever the jobs are when I want to be home and DH wants to work at this time.
I'm terrified when I think of not pursuing t/t. There are some projects (mostly writing or new-media related) that I can see myself getting involved in, but there is no clear path outside of academia. I might get these jobs, I might not. I can always teach, yes, but my specialty is not useful in that regard and as I said I don't like teaching. I'm afraid of squandering my knowledge, of having to do unfulfilling or boring work, I'm afraid of being disappointed in myself later. If I walk away, getting back is impossible, isn't it? Any advice? Wisdom? I would really appreciate it - thank you.