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Hello everyone,<br><br>
I have been lurking here for a few weeks and I finally have a few minutes (and courage) to post.<br><br>
I am a molecular biologist and I just finished my Ph.D. last August. My DH and I moved from Syracuse, NY to OH (we are both originally from Alabama). I got a post-doc position at Cincinnati Children's hospital and I am currently doing vision research there. My DD is 2 years old and she is a puddin. I am more of a mainstream parent with AP leanings, or maybe an AP parent with mainstream tendancies, but from what I've read on this board it seems like I might fit in here, even if I am not as crunchy as some.<br><br>
Recently I have been wrestling with making the decision whether to go part time or stay full time. I was considering just quitting because I feel kind of out of control right now. My commute is at least 1 hour each way (and that's if traffic is "perfect". It's often more like 3 hours total commute time). Some days I barely get to see DD and I am so exhausted that I can't do much but sit and watch her. DH's job is very hectic right now and I am getting mixed signals from him about how he feels about me working. On the one hand he complains that he doesn't have enough time and insinuates that I am expecting too much of him to pick up DD from daycare, drop her off etc (we alternate eary and late days so I can avoid rush hour traffic 3 days a week). On the other hand, when I told him I wanted to go part time he tried to line up interviews for me for FT jobs at his company- even though they are not really relevant to my experience, interest, and education. Also- he makes comments about how nice if would be if we both made really good salaries. Needless to say our relationship is showing some strain and I am confused and... well, I'll just say confused.<br><br>
So anyway- I talked to my boss about the possibility of doing a part time post-doc and she was very understanding and helpful. She just told me today that she checked it out and it is possible. I still have mixed feelings about it and I'm hoping that it doesn't turn out to be one of those situations where the only thing part time about the job is the pay. I want to stay in science, but I don't have the time right now to throw myself into it the way a post-doc is "supposed" to.<br><br>
I guess I'm wondering if anyone else has been in a similar situation and if anyone has any recommendations or words of wisdom for me?<br><br>
Also, on a different subject- I was wondering if anyone else has read the book <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Mother Nature</span> by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy? I'm reading it (slowly) right now and it is so good. It kind of gives a non-romanticized version of motherhood (prehistoric-->modern) and how "maternal instincts" have evolved and what that term even means. There are many references to actual scientific studies. It kind of makes a nice contrast to the idealized version of motherhood presented in books like <span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Continuum Concept</span>, etc... and there are even a few chapters devoted to Bowlby and the Attachment Theory. I highly recommend it, although if you are not into evolution (read- don't believe in it) you will probably not like it very much. Oh here's a link to it at amazon if you'd like to read more about it.<br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fexec%2Fobidos%2Ftg%2Fdetail%2F-%2F0679442650%2F104-0354243-6941536%3Fv%3Dglance" target="_blank">Mother Nature</a><br><br>
Well- this was longer than I intended and if you made it all the way through thanks for reading!<br><br>
Leigh
 

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Hi Leigh -<br><br>
I am mostly a lurker too but I resonated with a lot of what you said in your post, and so thought I would just let you know you are not alone.<br><br>
When you have the option to work PT, FT or SAH, it is natural to be second-guessing whether you are making the right choice. I think most people do the same; whichever you have chosen, you can't help looking over the fence to check the color of the grass!<br><br>
I also have a long commute (approx 60 minutes each way). It really is a drag.<br><br>
It does feel out of control some days, getting home with barely enough time to bf, bond, bathe and do bedtime with ds - then eat, run around getting everything ready for the next morning - and start all over! So when something goes wrong with work or the commute or ds gets sick, I just fall apart totally and start bawling and carrying on and threatening to quit...<br><br>
Everyone is under pressure in a dual-career situation, but I sometimes think women handle the multi-tasking demands better than men! It may be that your DH is as confused as you are about what he really wants or thinks would be best, and that is why you get mixed signals.<br><br>
On working part-time - I say give it a try. Sounds like the full-time thing is stressful for you. If you can arrange a PT position that seems reasonable, there is no downside to trying it. If it doesn't work, you still have the other options available: either move to SAH or (if you want to) pursue a career change that at least gives you better pay for your FT work. It is great that your boss was supportive of the idea and willing to make something work for you.<br><br>
I actually went back after maternity leave at PT and am very glad I did that. I was NOT willing to work the hours I did before ds... but wasn't ready yet to give up the financial security and totally SAH. I still consider the SAH option, and may eventually do it, but for now I'm giving this a try. A couple things that helped: I was explicit about my expectations: 60% of my previous hours, minimal to no travel, and flexibility to work at home when I could. I have to choose my assignments carefully, and say "no" firmly whenever I get asked to take on extra stuff. I also lowered my standards a little, because I can't always do whatever it takes to get the job done perfectly, and I have to just accept that!<br><br>
Good luck whatever you decide -<br><br>
Megan<br>
Owen 11/11/04
 

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Hi Leigh-<br>
Welcome! Sounds like you have tough situation. I would give PT a try and see if that eases your stress any. I went back PT after my maternity leave. I was supposed to work 30 hours a week and no night meetings, but because of the demand of that job it was really like working half time. I found it was a lot easier to work fewer full days than a full schedule of partial days. I ended up being a lot more efficient and it was a bit easier to stick to my 30 hours.<br><br>
As far as your commute- is there any chance you could put your DC in childcare closer to your work? I know time in the car isn't exactly quality time, but just being near your child might help reduce your stress and DC gets to hear your voice if you talk or sing in the car. You might even be able to see DC during the middle of the day.<br><br>
I am always interested in reading books about motherhood. I will check out Mother Nature. One of my favorite books on the subject is Our Babies, Our Selves- which is a cross-cultural look at the evolution of parenting. I am also reading a book that I am enjoying called Mother Nurture- it gives a lot of practical advice to stressed out moms who are being emotionally and physically depleted. I am finding it really helpful.
 
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