The jig is (almost) up.

July 15, 2011

Well, it’s not so much that the jig is up, but that the leave, as in, family leave, is almost over.  The burning question on my mind is how the hell does anyone get tenured with a baby?  My ambitions to polish off that book manuscript before the arrival of my pup, let’s call him Scrappy Doo, were, well, just that… ambitions. Post-December, when I was through with the semester, I got to the point of the pregnancy where my body was just too damn distracting to get any work done.  Too pregnant to sit down for very long or to stand up for very long.  This put a serious cramp in my writing time and my reading time, so I found that I could really only do little snippets of editing, or quick reading.  And once Scrappy arrived, well… we are only now emerging from the sleep-deprivation induced haze of those early months.  And it’s all relative since now we are in the “I am constantly tired and can just about manage” stupor.  I’ve become rather adept at typing with one hand, editing in five minute chunks, emailing using the voice recognition feature of my phone (caved and got a smartphone— still waiting for someone to develop an “Earn Tenure” app).

Scrappy Doo is now passing from newbornitude into proper baby-ness, and I am about a month away from having to be back in the classroom.  The search for childcare has begun in hopes of buying me some work time and Mr. Rottweiler some dissertation time come the Fall.  I have mixed feelings about going back to work full-time (let’s be honest, even at my most pregnant and then, post-partum sleep deprived, I never truly stopped working, at least a little here and there).  First, I wish I had stopped, full on.  I am all too aware that Scrappy Doo is an ephemeral and ever-changing creature who ought to be enjoyed while the getting is good.  Second, part of me thinks that I would really love to stay home and off the tenure track for a whole year.  The other part is very excited to get back to fighting form, and get the tenure ball rolling again… it’s seriously stalled for all the best reasons.  Will I love going back to work?  Won’t I?  One thing that’s for sure, some of the silliness at Midwestern U., the administrative battles, the pettiness, the self-aggrandizing puffery, all seems to be a lot less important now that there is a puppy in the Rottweiler brood.  Here’s hoping that Scrappy Doo keeps us grounded as I face the dreaded *Third Year Review* while Mr. Rottweiler tries to finish off his dissertation and enter the job market (hello, two body problem), and that we can do all of this while nurturing Scrappy Doo so that he can grow up to be a a normal not-too-nerdy kid– or at the very least, not a sociopath.

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