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post #321 of 409
nak but i had to say....

Congratulations to Wendy & CJ for funded proposals!!!!! Wooohooo!
post #322 of 409
dulce-

I would resubmit. If you have papers coming out, then seeing that they are in review or (better yet) in press or accepted pending blah blah... that might not be an issue this time. plus every panel is different - they may not even bring this up. if you feel you can respond to the other major criticisms, go for it. your program director might also be able to give you some helpful feedback on how to 'read' the reviews.
post #323 of 409
Hello Fellow mama-demes!


Just a brief check in.

I am on my way to not only being a prof mama...but a single prof mama at that. H and I are separated now, have been for a month and will be for at least a year. Then we decide whether to divorce or try again.

So days have been crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaazzzzzy. Absolutely no childcare after 6pm on weekdays and I have no family out here.

I want to give a huge congrats to all the grant recipients and the grant seekers!!! Grant seeking is the name of the game, irrespective of funding outcome. Just stay grant active and keep trying/revising. Try to think of it a game, and not to take the rejections personally or to see them as final/deterministic. Often what it takes is a second or third submission in which you address all of the reviwer's issues.

I'm waiting to hear back from an NIMH R 03 and am submitting an NSF for January.

Guess what! I was looking through my records the other day and discovered that due to a clerical error I did not get the recommended raise in salary last year. I was ticked at first, but then I saw my dept. rally around me and work real hard to fix it quick. I think part of the glass cieling is women, like me, don't assert or campaign as hard as men when it comes to salaries/raises and the like.

Also, because the first five years of my position are paid through a grant, for THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW, my univeristy failed to pay me on time (I'm on a nine month salary).

Bad timing especially since now I'm doing all of htis now w/o my H's income or help.

All else is great. Diego is healthy, happy and enjoying learning his letters. He is 22 months old, only has an average size vocabulary, if not below average, but for some odd reason loves learning letters, mostly thanks to, of all things, a DVD ("Meet the Letters" by Preschool Prep). I totally recommend it. I know that a toddler need not know letter names, but it saves my sanity b/c watching him be able to identify all the letters and say them suggests he does not have a full blown speech delay and he's likely to catch up.

So here I am with a 22 month old who won't say "airplane" no matter how much his mom sing-songs it and repeats it, but can distinguish between lowercase "n" and "m". Odd.
post #324 of 409
Thank you all for advice about applying for an NSF piece of pie. Sorry I forgot to congratulate the winners, hope one day I will join the circle

Ana_Isabel - I am so sorry to hear about the break-up ... Somehow it does not matter how high up we are on the career ladder, the relationships are still so important to us, women. I am amazed how after an argument with my DH I am so agitated, can't do a thing and he starts working : When I ask him how he can do it, he replies that this helps him take his mind off our problems. Maybe I am just made differently, but that does not work for me!
About your toddler son - absolutely do not worry! My son said very few words before he was 2, I was thinking that he will start speaking when he is 5, but a couple of weeks after his 2nd bday he started coming home with more nouns, verbs, then prepositions etc. In a couple of months he was speaking in phrases, using very intricate words! One thing that I think helped him was that he attends a wonderful Montessori school, they work a lot with the children, and they did not think that he had a problem, although I was getting worried about it. I also know of a child who spoke only few words before he was 3, now he talks just fine!

I wols stay on MDC all night long, but I need to get back to work :
post #325 of 409
Ana Isabel

DS (b 11/21/05) says: bye bye, ma, ba (=ball/balloon), book, doo (=door/shoes), hot and dirt.

That's it.

I'm not worried. I have the luxury of already having worried about this for one child. The Geofizz family just doesn't get started very quickly. I also don't worry because DS understands everything. If we start talking about groceries that we need, he gets a shopping bag and puts on his shoes.
post #326 of 409
Can someone please tell me this career is possible with a special needs child? I'm not entirely sure that it is, and I know few enough academic moms as it is--none of them with the slightest idea what it takes to have an autistic kid or one with chronic medical issues. Anyone here?

I am so anxious and wiped out all of the time. My situation now is so much better than last year (except financially) but my son is just a massive handful and takes more patience than humanly possible. I've got stuff piled up to do, grade, prepare, publish and I spend 4-5 hours everyday getting him to wear clothes, eat, and sleep. I come home and the 20 month old barnacles herself to me and won't let go. DH and I have not had an actual conversation in weeks. I don't know what to do.
post #327 of 409
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepymama View Post
Can someone please tell me this career is possible with a special needs child? I'm not entirely sure that it is, and I know few enough academic moms as it is--none of them with the slightest idea what it takes to have an autistic kid or one with chronic medical issues. Anyone here?

I am so anxious and wiped out all of the time. My situation now is so much better than last year (except financially) but my son is just a massive handful and takes more patience than humanly possible. I've got stuff piled up to do, grade, prepare, publish and I spend 4-5 hours everyday getting him to wear clothes, eat, and sleep. I come home and the 20 month old barnacles herself to me and won't let go. DH and I have not had an actual conversation in weeks. I don't know what to do.
Hang in there! I hope that someone with actual directly relevant experience can help you. In the meantime, I hope this is close enough to at least give you a little bit of encouragement.

There is a Professor at one of the engineering departments at top tier research institution in the Big Ten. I first met him as a graduate student when he had first started out on the tenure track 17 years ago. I don't know his situation well, because he wasn't my thesis advisor, but one of his graduate students mentioned that one of his two very young children had autism. I don't know where on the spectrum he was/is in, I don't know whether his wife worked outside of the home or not (I suspect she did), and I realize that challenges of dealing with a child with autism probably fall much more on the mother than on a father. However, he got tenure on schedule. I saw him at a conference last year and he told me that this son was in the process of applying for colleges. When I talked to him this past fall, I was surprised that he was so sad about the publish/get funded or perish environment, but only because he is so obviously successful at it, not because of the challenges of raising a child with autism.

Not enough information or even close enough an example to yours to be helpful for you, but maybe enough encouragement until one does come along.
post #328 of 409
Thanks for all of the advice on grants. I'll be back to discuss some of it but it has been a really busy week. My retention package was due and I put a lot of time into it. We have to do a "tenure" package every year.

Sleepymama - i don't have any experience with raising a high needs child and being in academia. I hope someone can offer up some advice. hang in there
post #329 of 409
For those of you who are professor mamas and took a semester off after the birth of your child....

How did that work? Did you negotiate with your department head? Did you get paid while you took that sememster off?

US Law only guarantees 6 weeks off although you can take more with the FMLA and not get paid.
Did you negotiate with your deparment head in order to get paid or were you able to take a pay cut?

My department head is not family friendly and sent me the standard line of only getting 6 weeks off. Well, I am having my little one around Thanksgiving. I still have to finish up my classes for the semester (approx. 3-4 weeks once all the grading is done). Then we are on Christmas break which is two more weeks, and I know he is going to say that I used up my 6 weeks and that I will have to teach a class. What kind of response can I use to reason with this guy? I didn't take anytime off after I had my last child and it really shows up in my research record. I would really like for someone in my administration to recognize that I'm having children at the same time as trying to meet all of my tenure requirements. Thanks for your input.
post #330 of 409
Quote:
Originally Posted by namaste_mom View Post
For those of you who are professor mamas and took a semester off after the birth of your child....

How did that work? Did you negotiate with your department head? Did you get paid while you took that sememster off?

US Law only guarantees 6 weeks off although you can take more with the FMLA and not get paid.
Did you negotiate with your deparment head in order to get paid or were you able to take a pay cut?

My department head is not family friendly and sent me the standard line of only getting 6 weeks off. Well, I am having my little one around Thanksgiving. I still have to finish up my classes for the semester (approx. 3-4 weeks once all the grading is done). Then we are on Christmas break which is two more weeks, and I know he is going to say that I used up my 6 weeks and that I will have to teach a class. What kind of response can I use to reason with this guy? I didn't take anytime off after I had my last child and it really shows up in my research record. I would really like for someone in my administration to recognize that I'm having children at the same time as trying to meet all of my tenure requirements. Thanks for your input.
I am the chair of my department and I'm also the first person in the entire history of my department to have had a baby. (All of the people in my Physics Dept are males, with one exception and she only has cats.) In fact, the last time anyone in my college (Science and Engineering, so mostly males) had a baby was at least twenty years before mine. I had no idea about how medical leave works, let alone how time off for baby works, so I just want to tell you that the Department Head may not have any idea what he is talking about.

In my institution, the person who has the power over this kind of stuff is the Dean so he was the one I had to negotiate with. So when I got pregnant, I went to my Dean. He was brand new to our university, so he told me that he would find out from Human Resources what the procedure is and get back to me. Somewhere in the Human Resources Department, there is an administrator who does all of the FMLA paperwork, and that's the person he went to talk with.

If you are not getting satisfaction with your Department Head, I would suggest that you talk to both your Dean and the FMLA person in the Human Resources Department. It would be much better if you go into the meeting with your Dean with a plan that is acceptable to both you and your Department Head, but that may not be possible.

For someone like you, who is due in Thanksgiving, the teaching/salary part is doable. My Dean would have proposed something like this for you: Have the baby, take the six weeks off by FMLA, take the Jan-April semester off but get paid on regular salary, then teach in the summer for free (for us, teaching in the summer is extra income above our regular 9 month salary). My baby, however, was born in the exact middle of the Jan-April semester, so I had six weeks off by FMLA, then the Dean told me to take the two remaining weeks in the semester as unpaid leave because my Dean did not want to stick me in a classroom with students who had never seen me for the previous 12 weeks. I took the summer off (unpaid), because I elected not to teach in the summer, and resumed in September when my baby was 6 months old. If I had wanted, I could have taught in the summer for additional income, but I spent the entire summer trying to get my baby to learn how to latch on because she didn't know how to breastfeed.

Oh, the reason that the FMLA person in the HR department is useful is because she told me that although FMLA is usually unpaid at most employers, I did not go unpaid during the 6 weeks of post partum. My memory is really fuzzy, and your institution probably has a different policy, but you should check with HR because it is always very complicated. If I had any sick time remaining from pregancy then I would be paid using sick leave during the 6 week post partum period at 100% my salary. (I used up all of my sick leave during pregnancy due to physician's bedrest orders, so I didn't.) Since I had no more sick time left, then my 6 weeks of post partum (actually it was 8 weeks pp until I got the doctor's clear to go back to work because of C-section) would be paid by short-term disability insurance at 67% of regular salary.

As far how to get your administration to recognize that you're having children at the same time as trying to meet all of your tenure requirements, I am not knowlegeable to offer advice for two reasons. 1. I am in an institution with probably much less emphasis on research than yours. 2. I already had tenure when I became pregnant. Perhaps someone else has some insight on this aspect of your problem.

In any case, try your Department Head a little bit longer, then go to your Dean and HR person. I don't think you want to delay, however. I think most universities are spending this month hashing out the staffing for Jan-April semester and, if possible, you want to get this worked out before the staffing is finalized so that the Head doesn't have to go back and redo everything.
post #331 of 409
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post
I'm not worried. I have the luxury of already having worried about this for one child. The Geofizz family just doesn't get started very quickly. I also don't worry because DS understands everything. If we start talking about groceries that we need, he gets a shopping bag and puts on his shoes.


My own Leah exploded in her vocabulary in the last week. Going from basically saying nothing to saying full sentences and correct use of the pronoun I. I'm thrilled she's talking so much because language development is fun, but not so thrilled because, well, being woken up by Leah tugging on my arm saying, "get up mama, eat breakfast" is just a drag.


Sleepymama: What is your daycare situation? Your mileage may vary, but maybe it would make sense to hire someone to come to your home -- and that way could get your kidlet dressed for you? Does ds go to daycare? Can you send him in pajamas? When my kids were in daycare (they are mostly home iwth dh now) I would just send them in PJs rather than fight them to get dressed. Different issue because neither is autistic but....
post #332 of 409
Quote:
Originally Posted by namaste_mom View Post
For those of you who are professor mamas and took a semester off after the birth of your child....

How did that work? Did you negotiate with your department head? Did you get paid while you took that sememster off?

US Law only guarantees 6 weeks off although you can take more with the FMLA and not get paid.
Did you negotiate with your deparment head in order to get paid or were you able to take a pay cut?

My department head is not family friendly and sent me the standard line of only getting 6 weeks off. Well, I am having my little one around Thanksgiving. I still have to finish up my classes for the semester (approx. 3-4 weeks once all the grading is done). Then we are on Christmas break which is two more weeks, and I know he is going to say that I used up my 6 weeks and that I will have to teach a class. What kind of response can I use to reason with this guy? I didn't take anytime off after I had my last child and it really shows up in my research record. I would really like for someone in my administration to recognize that I'm having children at the same time as trying to meet all of my tenure requirements. Thanks for your input.
I've been reading here for awhile, but I haven't posted yet. Namaste mom, I think you are the one who told me about this group, so thanks!

Is there no parental leave policy at your university? Eek. We get a semester off at pay or partial pay and one semester off the tenure clock. And we are starting to think about advocating for improvements to this policy.

I would also recommend talking to the dean. I have a friend who was able to negotiate something reasonable from her dean even in the absence of a standard policy. Here are other strategies you might try:

Find some allies - senior women with and without children may have an opinion on this question. Other faculty parents as well, even the untenured. You can't be the first person going through this at your school. If they've ever coughed up some leave for someone else, you could argue that they ought to do the same for you.

Check out what is standard at your peer institutions. Many universities are offering something and the leave policies on offer are getting better. Can you argue this as a recruitment and retention issue? That might be more for getting a policy in place than getting a solution for your situation.

You might also think about other allies in your department to take on that family unfriendly department head. Good luck!

Sarah
post #333 of 409
Quote:
Originally Posted by Girlprof View Post
Find some allies - senior women with and without children may have an opinion on this question. Other faculty parents as well, even the untenured. You can't be the first person going through this at your school. If they've ever coughed up some leave for someone else, you could argue that they ought to do the same for you.

Check out what is standard at your peer institutions. Many universities are offering something and the leave policies on offer are getting better. Can you argue this as a recruitment and retention issue? That might be more for getting a policy in place than getting a solution for your situation.

You might also think about other allies in your department to take on that family unfriendly department head. Good luck!
Sarah
:

D. yikes, no parental leave policy?! although I guess I shouldn't be surprised, we just formalized ours last year. but ita with sarah - you need advocates and mentors to step in, you shouldn't need to fight this battle alone. is there any sort of women's resource center at the uni?

also, I can't believe you have to do a whole tenure portfolio every year! all my reviews, including the Big One, are based on my cv, copies of papers, and if I want, a personal statement. no giant folders to put together.

so in other news, I just got back from my fieldwork that I was hemming and hawing about. It was tough, but I'm glad I did it.

ETA: Ana_Isabel - I am sorry about your H. sounds like diego is doing fine though.
post #334 of 409
namaste-mom:

I also talked with my dean. due to when the babe was coming 6 weeks off would of been very awkward. The other option formalized here is the semester off at 2/3rds pay - which didn't work for me because we are a single income household. So I was able to negotiate with my dean something that worked well for me, and I must say worked well for the school/department too. (I got a course release which meant I taught one course - which met once a week - straight through when I had my baby and they didn't need to find a replacement for 6 weeks or even the semester) But all that to say, I second (or is a third or fourth now) the idea that the dean might be the person you should be speaking with, even just to get the lay of the land, what others have done before, etc.
post #335 of 409
Hey mamas. Gotta ask you some questions too. I'm not in the same position as namaste_mom, but I agree that there must be something else you can work out. 6 weeks is ridiculous.

As for me, I'd love if you mamas who've "made it" and gotten a faculty position could give me your take, particularly those in the sciences. I'd like to have baby #2 about a year after I start my postdoc. My DD was super intense and I didn't recover well wrt my brain functioning again (took nearly 9 mths to get to maybe 75% capacity again ). Anyway, there are some other issues too that make me really want to not work full time for the first 6 mths of baby #2's life if I can help it.

If you had a postdoc who had a baby, would you consider letting them take a pay cut and go part time (maybe 30 hrs a week, enough for benefits but not much more) for 6mths? What is the biggest issue here, the money or the time working? AKA, if you aren't paying for the postdoc to work full time, then would you care for any other reason that they weren't working full time?

I can't find much in the way of precedent for this one so I thought I'd ask. Thanks mamas!!!
post #336 of 409
Amy: a part time arrangement would be ok with me. The main thing I worry about is finding the right match between research project and person. If there's a bright, responsible, and motivated person out there, the time wouldn't be a huge issue. Especially because there's such a big variation in terms of academic efficiency - some people can get things done in half the time as others (and moms tend to be very efficient, in my experience). I would have a discussion about the expectations of the position, and not micromanage your time. So no, I wouldn't have a problem with it...

but if I wasn't a female scientist, in academics, with a baby, I might have a hard time believing it was possible to do all this! you'll have to gauge whether your potential advisor 'gets it' or is at least reasonable and willing to talk.

btw - one year into a postdoc, it's very likely you'd be interviewing for jobs, no?
post #337 of 409
Amy, I think things like that need to be worked out on a case by case basis with a clear agreement between you and who ever it is you're working with on percentage pay, your efforts, etc. Also, keep in mind that in response to some abuses that were happening of postdocs in the sciences about a decade ago, many universities have restrictions against having postdocs at less than 100% appointments. Previously, PIs would split one postdoc position between two people and expect 150% work.

Anyone have experience applying for jobs halfway through the pretenure years? There is a job that opened up that I WANT. I love the university and I love the location. I have some weirdness about it, though, and I think that I won't be able to ask two of my letter writers to write letters. (One is vacating the position that opened, the other is likely on the hiring committee for the position). One of the things I've given up in combining academia with parenting is that I've avoided a lot of research collaborations that would require significant travel. It's worked well for me, but it leaves me without a broad base from which to draw letters for something like this. I know steps 1, 2, and 3 are to call my current set of letter writers. Besides that, any suggestions?

In other news, I gave a talk at a Big Shot Lab yesterday. It went very well, and it turned out to be an interview. Who knows?
post #338 of 409
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post
In other news, I gave a talk at a Big Shot Lab yesterday. It went very well, and it turned out to be an interview. Who knows?





Bamboo...in answer to your questioning about baby #2 -- I think Kaybee might be a good person to check in with -- she had baby #2 during a post doc.
post #339 of 409
Quote:
Originally Posted by rock_dr View Post
Especially because there's such a big variation in terms of academic efficiency - some people can get things done in half the time as others (and moms tend to be very efficient, in my experience).
Yeah. I'm debating whether to mention (when the time is right of course), that I managed to both publish and finish my PhD while working 20 hours a week... If they are happy with what I've done up to that point (which I'd assume they would be if they decided to hire me), then it'd be a bonus knowing that I what I can do at basically 50% time what others can do at 100% time or more. (I know no grad student who doesn't have kids who only works 40 hr weeks, more like 60 hrs).

I was also hoping that since I won't get preggo before 1 year into it I'll have some precedent set in their lab. I was hoping that I'd do a year of lab work/data collection, have the baby, then spend most of my non-face time writing everything up.... and yeah, I guess looking for jobs. I was contemplating taking a year off between my postdoc and whatever I end up doing afterwards (be it faculty position or otherwise). So I could set up a job a year in advance (some departments in my field are hiring 3 years out at this point).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post
Also, keep in mind that in response to some abuses that were happening of postdocs in the sciences about a decade ago, many universities have restrictions against having postdocs at less than 100% appointments. Previously, PIs would split one postdoc position between two people and expect 150% work.
ah HA! So I've been reading up on this and actually it depends on my funding source whether the institution would even be allowed to cut my appointment (designated by the funding agency I believe, in addition to any institution based requirements). I always wondered why. Wow. That sucks both for those poor postdocs who had to deal with that and now for all of us who would like to go part time for kiddo reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kerc View Post
Bamboo...in answer to your questioning about baby #2 -- I think Kaybee might be a good person to check in with -- she had baby #2 during a post doc.
Sweet, thanks!

Thanks for your input mamas! I just sent an email to someone I'd REALLY like to work for and I like what she does AND she had kids during her career. Always a plus. I feel bad, but I'm actually avoiding another option partially b/c I'm not as excited about the work, but also b/c she's a single, childless woman.... Weird to be sort of discriminating against her, but I don't think that the mindset would be close enough between us, and if I get preggo, who knows how she'll react!!!
post #340 of 409
Thanks so much for all of your responses. I'm so beating around the bush approaching my department head again. The finance lady told me that as soon as he found out the formal policy was only 6 weeks off, he said "oh well, then she won't have to take next semester off" I'm just avoiding the conversation. I don't think I can over his head as far as going to the Dean, he is so touchy about that...if he recommends that i go to the dean then it would be his idea and it would be OK with him. Maybe I can try to implant the idea into his brain. With tenure coming up next year, I don't need him to hate me.

Emilysmama: Thanks for the ideas; my department head had the finance lady contact HR and HR said "6 weeks". I'm actually afraid to go to the Dean without the support of my deparment head (see paragraph above). Because we are a one income family, any reduction in salary, even in the summer (I teach one sememster in the summer) would be detrimental. Sick time, you have sick leave? I didn't know academic people had sick leave. Maybe I need to talk to HR myself.

Sarah - i know I'm not the first person but I sure feel isolated in my department. There are many young guys with wives who are having kids but of course, although they are supportive, they don't leak out of every orifice for 6 weeks after the baby is born; and they are not attached to the baby for 1+ years (I mean physically, I usually feel like for the first year, because I ebf that we, the baby and I, are still one). I just don't think I'm up to tackling this issue at my university right now. I know it would be best if I did but....I'm tired. Good ideas...I can probably argue that it is a retention issue....

CJ - Yeah, there is no formal policy. sucks. i dont' really have mentors here. I feel quite isolated. I hate having to put that portfolio together every year, it is so depressing to me. I'm glad you were able to pull of the field trip. I think it will pay off for you in the end. My colleague, AW just popped in and I was whinning to her about everything.


flydale - we are single income too, so I can't take 12 weeks unpaid or whatever FMLA offers. I would like to know what others have done before me but I'm afraid of going over my department head's head...I don't know how to find out what has been done in other departments as there is no precident in my department

Amy - I would only care that they get work done somehow so that they are publishing. The amount of time that an individual spends on getting that work done varies like other people said. I think you will just have to talk to your supervisor and see if they are happy with what you have done.

Alright -- I need to get back to writing...CBL

D.
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