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    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

Mothering at Mid-Career: A Much-Needed Break
October 13, 2008 - 11:29pm

This fall has been busy. I'm pretty sure I say that every year, but with three full classes, several important committees, and some significant deadlines looming, this one feels particularly so. And I came back to work this fall a little out of shape for teaching; after a quiet sabbatical, I found myself literally losing my voice mid-way through my second class every day for the first several weeks.

I seem to have recovered my vocal capabilities, and I'm reasonably on top of my grading, but I'm still almost ridiculously grateful this month's two-day "study break." Monday morning I actually got up with my son and made his lunch before he got on the bus -- it's the first time I've had the time to make a lunch this school year. I had a leisurely breakfast with my husband, then sat at my sunny dining room table to grade a batch of response papers. My daughter made home-made bean burgers for lunch and we sat together at the table and ate them before I went back to my grading. In the evening I met two close friends for dinner and a much-delayed bottle of wine -- we've been talking about getting together since August, and this was the first evening we were all free at the same time.

I realize what a privileged life I lead. It's days like today that make "civilians" think that college professors don't really work. They don't see the Sunday afternoon I spent grading, the Saturday morning spent making sure the links in my online syllabus work so my students can get started on their research. Maybe even if they did, they'd know I lead a good life, a privileged life. Today, on my second day of break, I have to admit they're right. I'll be well-rested when classes start again on Wednesday.


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