Friday, September 23, 2016

parent fails

The moment you realize that your child's insane behavior over the past day or so is completely explained by a physical ailment that you could have solved for them if you had been observant enough to realize the problem when the walk-in clinic was actually open.

Then of course this keeps your kid from sleeping, on a night when you are already exhausted from the last few nights when the toddler didn't sleep plus the basic weary Friday night blahs; the week was long and way too busy and the tired goes beyond the physical now.  So you are not as empathetic as you should be, or as patient, or as gentle.

And this is why I find myself, at least on this particular week, failing at parenthood.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

reflecting on stress

Hello, internet!

I basically fail at blogging these days, but I'm ok with that, because I find that having a job and a 2-year-old at the same time is a feat all alone, and I've been learning not to expect too much more of myself.

There was a summer.  It was productive in "learning instrumentation" ways but not in "writing articles" ways, and that second way is pretty important right about now.  I've been reflecting on the gap in my CV that has been staring me in the face for the past few years, and is even more noticeable now; I have a middle-authorship thing coming, lots of conference abstracts, an encyclopedia article.  Nothing all that useful.  And while I initially was like, yes, I have this baby, so too bad to my publication record, I have been thinking more recently that baby alone does not explain it (at least not for more than about 1.5 years).  I think having the kid when I was coming up for tenure was a fabulous plan that worked out great for my career stability, but the flip side is having a baby right when the megaload of service responsibilities hits you post-tenure.

Perhaps I have been thinking about this because in any given week I spend approximately 5-6 hours in meetings and then do prep work for meetings and then sign paperwork for students and organize shit for other people, all of which takes additional hours; I might estimate my admin load at 10 hours minimum, and more at some times of the year.  And to be honest, these are all activities that, individually, I do not hate.  The committees I am on and/or chair are useful, in my opinion, and I love the students, and I am type-A enough to enjoy organizing and being in charge of shit.   But then it all adds up and it's too much, because I also have to prep lecture and teach and spend time with my kid and eat food and sometimes use the bathroom.

So, I blame the combo of tenure and baby for the recent publication gap.  I have hope of clawing my way out of it, but of course as the term moves forward my chances seem to get slimmer and slimmer.

This term I had made myself some resolutions, primarily along the lines of eating better and finding time for exercise (both in need as direct repercussions of above-mentioned stress, which eats my workout time and leads me to psychological crutches).  I was doing ok for a little bit, but I think it's going to take some serious will power to make it happen from here on out.  I am not giving up quite yet, but we shall see.

Also, perhaps, I will stop neglecting the blog.  Again, who knows.  Stay tuned?

Friday, June 3, 2016


"I should get some kids so I can avoid doing service work!"  Ha ha, tenured white guy, Ha. Ha. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

spring sprung


April was crazy, with zero time to reflect.  The past week has been a little better, at least.  I've been teaching an immersion term, which has been a time killer.  This week grandma is visiting, which has been a nice shift and helpful in many ways (not least in the presence of her expert flower-arranging eye for belated pot-filling).  Kiddo is loving the extra attention, both from immersion term students and grandma.  I think next week when she is deprived of both (our time in residence is over for the immersion program) she will probably be cranky.

Kiddo is entering an annoying stage, in which a nap pushes bedtime to almost 11 and no nap leads to cranky afternoons and about 7:30 as bedtime.  Daycare won't keep her awake, so we can't just drop the nap entirely, and in any case she usually needs to nap the day after an early bedtime due to the earlier wake-up.  I'm sure this is a common thing at this age, but I am not a fan.  It's a pain that we can't plan activities since we don't know when she'll be sleeping, and I often want to go to sleep before she does on the later nights.

Kiddo also does not sleep through the night yet (parents, that is a YET, right, like...she will...right?  Some day?).  So.  There is that to contend with.

As the academic year winds down I think we are really hitting the "Partner has been a student for three years and we have a toddler in daycare" financial burn in a way that we did not before; I'm not sure why, maybe because daycare was part time prior to last summer and it got harder after that?  Maybe because a lot of things have come up recently that I would have liked to do (a friend's wedding abroad, going far away for Xmas to see my family, an extra conference panel) and I'm sad to have to keep passing.  Maybe because Partner is finishing up and looking at grad school.

I am glad he is doing stuff he loves, just like I got to do.  I don't want him to not do that.  I just wish I didn't let our inability to do things and pay for things get under my skin and make me feel so unqualified to adult. 

Friday, March 11, 2016


Break, it is upon us!  We have a giant list of things we have been neglecting, but they are mostly small, so I hope to have several days of down time.  I've already exercised two days in a row, and we haven't even started yet.

Last year this was our period of most intense baby illness, with a cold followed by UTI followed by intense antibiotic-related yeast and diarrhea.  It was the beginning of the end for cloth diapers, since the yeast took months to defeat and the kiddo's poor bum was so raw we went to cloth-unfriendly ointments to keep things manageable.  Kiddo was home from daycare for weeks last year, including the break, so we didn't get much down time at all and thank the gods that grandma visited early in the month.

This year it looks like we might actually be relatively healthy (all of us!) as we head into the break, and while I don't want to count too many chickens at this point, perhaps I will get to speak to my husband for more than 5 minutes when we are not also entertaining a toddler.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


We finally reached the part of winter where illness takes over (this seems to last through at least mid-March).  Kiddo has been home all week with fever and coughing, and we are all so stir-crazy that she has now watched every available episode of Daniel Tiger and is calling out for him in her sleep (no joke).  We are also now resorting to hiring some of my students to babysit so that I can keep teaching class and perhaps we don't all go insane.  Too bad I have a field trip this Saturday (poor Partner.  pray for him).  Also paying twice for child care is lame.

I'm hoping that by this weekend she will be able to go outside to play in what should be warm-enough weather.  And perhaps we will get to the store for the first time in two weeks and restock on perishable foods.  Luckily sick toddlers don't actually want to eat, and we also ended up with this week as our test week for Hello Fresh (veggie boxes, not vegan enough for us and maybe we already know too much about cooking to really appreciate the service, but I am not complaining about having food delivered to our door the one time).

Two weeks to break.  It's starting to feel like we are dragging ourselves to that peak with our fingernails.  

Friday, January 29, 2016


2016!  I resolved to get active again.  I started using the standing desk prototype Partner built for me back in 2013, which never made it to the design stage but works fine.  I stand a lot of the day and it is nice.  I went back to the gym for the first time since I was very pregnant and I went swimming.  I stashed all the relevant things in my gym locker for regular use, I made sure I had space in my schedule a few days a week, and I decided I was going to start the process of returning to the self who used to go crazy when she missed too many workouts.

Cue: toddler illness, spreading to family illness, becoming bronchitis and sinus infections.  Which can be fought with antibiotics in everyone but me because thrush (I am not going there again, thank you, I will just be sick for longer).  Cue: puking toddler, stomach flu that I am now waiting to experience.  Cue: issues with family transportation that require more carpooling and less schedule flexibility.  Cue: cold-as-hell weather.  Cue: lots of extra meetings that weren't on my schedule three weeks ago.

Cue: "fuck it" attitude and consumption of popcorn.

2016, don't be a jerk.  Please.

Monday, January 11, 2016


My friends, I am terrible these days.  Too much committee work, too little sleep, grant writing.  Kiddo just turned 2, and with it some enforced changes in bedtime that give me some extra working hours prior to midnight, and I hope that will help.  Sleep is slowly, slowly getting better, though it does doom us to sleeping in different beds (me with kiddo, dad on his own). 

To 2016, and more sleep.