Living Like Nothing Has Changed

We have been following “the schedule” for about three weeks now, and truth be told, it has not been easy. That said, life is starting to take on a certain flow. Until, of course, that flow gets disrupted by the inevitable variety of life and adjustments in Peter’s sleep schedule. Last week, for instance, a last minute change in a dental appointment altered the flow of the day. No worries, I’m learning to be flexible, but it was not that easy to adjust. Why has it not been easy, juggling work and taking care of our little one? For both of us, it seems to stem from trying to do everything that we used to, but with the added challenge of a two month-old. For me, it is the generic pressure of needing to be productive as an academic, as well as the more short-term pressure of prepping a new course for Maymester. For Becca, it is the pressure that comes from working in a lab setting, with others depending on you. Both of us have been trying to have our cake and eat it too, and that just does not work. I end up just being bad at all of it. But that also does not alleviate the pressure. So what do I do? I have to remind myself that this is a special time that I get with my firstborn. True, I am now on a tenure clock, but that is a blessing, not a curse. And my career is not totally in my hands, so it is ok to chill.

The lesson I have been learning is how to put my career in its proper place. As something that is important, but not the most important thing. I have always believed that, but it is more difficult when I actually have to live it. I am not convinced that for either sex it is possible to “have it all.” There are always trade-offs. Yes, men face fewer systemic disadvantages, but I still have to make trade-offs to be a good Dad. So that is what the last few weeks of following our work/baby care schedule have been teaching me. Balancing work and home requires some short-term sacrifices. I cannot live like I am trying to have it all right now. So, we pull back and adjust; learning to be flexible.

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